Some of the sixteen comics of Preliminary Week One of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition were dreading Night Three. Not because of the venue–the lovely Auburn Ave Theater is blessed with excellent sightlines, perfect sound and enthusiastic audiences. No, some of our comics were worried because shows at the Auburn Ave Theater have to be “TV Clean.”
Fifteen of our comics needn’t have worried–as they all not only managed to abide by the TV Clean restrictions, but some of them surprised themselves by shining brightly on this night. (Perhaps no one was more surprised than Kristine Levine–who endangered her own “Unbookables”-cred by earning her best score of the week, so far, on TV Clean Night. The Auburn audience loved her–and many in the room gave her a standing ovation for her set. It was enough to get her a 6th place finish for the night–just shy of a podium finish.)
Also having good sets but just missing the Top 5 for the night: Patrick Keane, Jono Zalay and David Tveite.
Only one comic broke the TV Clean restrictions–and BOY, did he EVER! John Beuhler becomes the first person ever to be dinged with the “Blatant Disregard of TV Clean Restrictions” penalty–which took 2 whole points off his nightly score. The judges would have had him in first place for the night, but the penalty knocked him down to 10th place.
Top place, instead, went to Portland’s Don Frost–who occasionally toed at the TV Clean line but never stepped over it. This is Don’s first Top 5 finish…and the applause for his nightly win was almost as loud from his fellow comedians backstage as it was from the audience–a sure sign of respect from his peers as well as appreciation from the good folks of Auburn.
Familiar faces filled up the rest of the Top Five, with Houston’s Sam Demaris returning to the Top 5 in 2nd place tonight, Mark Normand making his third straight Top 5 with a third place finish, Manny Martin and Rodney Sherwood represented Seattle comedy well with 4th and 5th place finishes, respectively.
Here is the Top 5, then:
- Don Frost (Portland)
- Sam Demaris (Houston)
- Mark Normand (New York)
- Manny Martin (Seattle)
- Rodney Sherwood (Seattle)
With their TV Clean night out of the way, Preliminary Week One is at the half-way point…and while some have had consistent success, there is still plenty of room for a comic to claim one of the five spots to move into the semi-finals.
Next up, Preliminary Week One-Night Four takes place at the Comedy Underground in Tacoma–located in the lower level of the Big Whiskey Saloon. This is the first time that the competition has come to the Tacoma Comedy Underground that I can remember (and I remember back to at least 2005) and it should be interesting to see the comics adjust to the small stage/low-ceiling club environment of that venerable establishment. That’s coming up tonight, Saturday November 5th!