SICC-32: New Faces and Familiar Places on Semi-Finals Night Two

Night Two of the Semi-Finals Week of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition brought us to the beautiful Edmonds Center for the Arts in Edmonds–a venue which has been an excellent host for the competition for years now.  The crowds just seem to get better and better here and the staff is ALWAYS most gracious and accommodating–they really make certain that their audience gets the best possible show from everyone involved.

And “everyone involved” on this night included two people who began the day with no idea that they’d be called upon to re-enter this year’s competition.  As both John Beuhler (Vancouver) and Mark Normand (New York) were unable to continue with this year’s competition due to previously unforeseen circumstances, Seattle’s David Tveite and Pismo Beach’s Mrs Hughes were invited to take their place in the Semi-Finals.  They do so knowing that because they did not perform on Night One of the Semi-Finals, they will not have the luxury of a “drop score” (as performers who perform on all six nights of the Semi-Finals drop their lowest nightly score, as we compare the sum total of their five best nightly scores…David Tveite and Mrs Hughes will have to take all five of their actual performances to make up their weekly total.)

They were each excellent performers in their Preliminary Week and we are all proud to welcome them back into the competition and in the Semi-Finals.

They were also welcomed by the crowd at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, which responded to most of tonight’s comedians with a “wall of sound” (as Rodney Sherwood described it.)  Sam Demaris said that both the stage and the audience were definitely “hot.”

At the intermission, I overheard one audience member say that the comedian who performed just before the break “was great” and his friend responded with “They’re all great!”

We think so, too…but we do ask judges to give us their opinions with specific numbers…and, in doing so, someone very familiar with success in this year’s competition took top honors:  Mike Baldwin adds another Nightly Win to his already impressive performance in this year’s event–he’d won three nights in his Preliminary Week and two nights, now, in the Semi-Finals–that’s 5 wins in 8 shows!

Rick Kunkler would have taken second place tonight, had he not received a penalty for going over his time.  Rick came precariously close to being disqualified for going significantly over his time–one more second and his entire score for the night would have been wiped out.  As it was, and with the time penalty, he took third.

So, into second place for this night–and someone who truly connected with both judges and audience members alike on this night–was Mrs Hughes.  From out of the competition to a podium finish in a few hours–what a rollercoaster ride for her!

Here’s a look at the Top 5 finish for Semi-Finals Week-Night Two from the Edmonds Center for the Arts:

  1. Mike Baldwin (Kansas City)
  2. Mrs Hughes (Pismo Beach)
  3. Rick Kunkler (Seattle/Los Angeles)
  4. Patrick Keane (Los Angeles)
  5. Sam Demaris (Houston)

In sixth place, and heartbreakingly close to making tonight’s Top 5, was Seattle’s Xung Lam…while fellow Seattle comics Rodney Sherwood and David Tveite were right there 7th and 8th places, respectively.

The competition continues with a show at the gorgeous Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia tonight, Thursday November 17th, for a 7:30pm show.  This is a massive 976 seat venue (split on FOUR levels!)–and I understand tickets for this wonderful show are still available.  If you’re in the area, I would definitely recommend coming out tonight to see this show–top to bottom, one of the best comedy shows this competition has ever presented.

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