SICC-32: Going Underground In Bellingham Creates a Jam On the Leader Board

Bellingham, Washington is located about 90 minutes north of Seattle…almost all the way to the Canadian border.  It is a college town.  It is a comedy town.  It is a town that the Seattle International Comedy Competition has consistently presented shows at…with results that often through things into chaos.

Bellingham has already lived up to its reputation, as the results from Preliminary Week One’s Night Five have delightfully complicated everything and it will definitely make the final night of the week more dramatic.

With the closure of our traditional Bellingham venue (The Fairhaven Martini Pub), we found ourselves in a brand new environement–the Underground Nightclub (no relation to the Comedy Undergrounds in Seattle and Tacoma…and in the former spot of the Nightlight).  It is a beautiful venue with lots of different areas to wander around…and a beautiful and deep stage backed with dramatic stone work (eliciting comments from the comics during the night that they felt like they were performing in a castle…or, perhaps, a dungeon.)

The only sad thing was a less than optimal turnout–but, those who did come got to see one hell of a show…as many of the comics seemed looser and willing to push themselves further to try to boost the energy level of this room–and it worked!  The crowd, though at times a little talky, was definitely into the show and they definitely loved the comics they liked.

Feeling especially comfortable on this night, and earning their best scores and placements of the week, were Toronto’s Rhiannon Archer (who placed 8th), Seattle’s Douglas Gale (who placed 6th, just missing out on a Top 5 finish by half a point on one of the four judge’s scoresheets) and, most notably, Portland’s Kristine Levine, who score that one-half-point more than Douglas Gale to take 5th place on the night.

Kristine’s brave and ballsy performance (and she definitely made it clear that she no longer cared that this was a competition show, she was just going to do “whatever” and let that be whatever it would be) sent the crowd into hysterics…earning an encore point that Kristine seemed surprised by…  When the judges rewarded her too, she seemed just as surprised…but she shouldn’t have.  Her take-no-prisoners set definitely made an impact (and it must be bewildering for her to realize that her two best sets in this competition, so far, were tonight’s set, where she was as free and filthy as she wanted to be, and her set in Auburn, on TV Clean night.)

Meanwhile, Rodney Sherwood remains a machine of consistency, and  brought a burst of energy to the night despite going up last on a long show.  Jono Zalay makes his return visit to the Nightly Top 5 with a strong set tonight.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at the Top 5 finishers for Preliminary Week One-Night Five, from The Underground Nightclub in Bellingham

  1. Patrick Keane (Los Angeles)
  2. Rodney Sherwood (Seattle)
  3. Sam Demaris (Houston)
  4. Jono Zalay (Boston)
  5. Kristine Levine (Portland)

Kristine may have been surprised by her own results and in her making her first Nightly Top 5 this week, but competition followers might be more surprised not to see either John Beuhler or Manny Martin in this night’s Nightly Top 5–where they seemed to have been camping out for most of this week.  In fact, neither earned an encore point last night…and that has thrown their expectations for making the Semi-Finals a bit more cloudy than they were before the Bellingham show.

It just means that EVERYBODY has got to “bring it” for the sixth and final show–the show that will determine which five comedians will move on from this week into the Semi-Finals.  That show happens tonight, Monday November 7th at the Comedy Underground, Seattle…showtime is 8pm.  This is your last chance to see this excellent group of sixteen comedians performing together as part of this year’s competition–and I heartily encourage you to come check them out.

We will know who the Top 5 for the Week are at the end of tonight’s show–and those 5 will move on to the Semi-Finals.

Then, tomorrow, we start Preliminary Week Two with sixteen new comedians to see which 5 comics will join them.

(ALSO–we will be bringing Preliminary Week Two back to The Underground Nightclub in Bellingham on Sunday November 13th.  Let’s see if we can pack that room for that show…that venue and the comedians in this competition deserve it!)

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