SICC-32: Progress Depends on the Strength of Industry on Night Six

After five nights of competition, the sixteen intrepid comedians of Preliminary Week One of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition came to the home club for the competition, the Comedy Underground in Seattle, for the sixth and final night of their week.  They would put their best comedy efforts up for judgment one more time, to find out which five of them would have earned a place in the Semi-Finals…and which eleven of them would be going home with memories (and perhaps a few lessons learned.)

Making tonight even more dramatic, the judges on this sixth and final night of Preliminary Week One would all be from the comedy industry.  Seasoned professionals at evaluating talent, people capable of opening doors to wonderful opportunities…or closing them, people whose job it is to determine the merits of one talented performer compared to other talented performers.

Mathematically, twelve of the sixteen comedians in this week were still in contention for the top five spots for the week–a sign of how close and competitive this week has been.

To be very honest, the night started off a little rough–the audience was a bit tight with their laughter and applause…  A minor wave of panic from the comedians in the back would have been expected, as you don’t want to showcase for the industry in front of a cold audience–you want to blow up a hot room.  On the other hand, what better way to show that you stand-out amongst your equally talented peers than the ability to generate laughs from a room that seemed a bit stingy with them?

Rylee Newton from Seattle had one of the first of the strong sets of the night.  Rylee’s week has been a bit up and down–but here, she put together a set that challenged the audience’s expectations and kept the laughs rolling throughout.

David Tveite from Seattle also had an excellent set.  This young man, perhaps the least experienced of the sixteen comedians in this week, delivered solid work throughout this week and his sarcastic bite was just as strong tonight.

Los Angeles’ Patrick Keane took things to another level with his set–just as he has over the past four shows to make a solid run from the middle of the pack on the earliest shows of this week towards the top of the leader board ever since.

Boston’s Jono Zalay took the ball that Patrick handed him and ran with it–his deliberate pacing and his perfectly timed, often-surreal, always inventive material, Jono’s had an excellent run this week–and he capped it off with a great set.

Mark Normand from New York, a model of solid consistency with his own perfectly and most efficiently worded jokes, came up and showed why he’d made all but one Nightly Top 5s this week.

So did Sam Demaris from Houston, with his excellent story-telling style–showing everyone why, despite having not taken top honors on any night this week, he was in first place for the week going into this show.

Portland’s Kristine Levine, showing no fear of the industry judges, pushed every boundary that most audiences in the Pacific Northwest seem to have, and found that the audience loved her for it.

Another Portland comedian, Ian Karmel, also showed himself very well…though, he did go long enough to earn a minor time penalty–and almost went long enough to be disqualified for the night–which would have been tragic, as he’d definitely entertained the crowd tonight…and all week.

Closing out the show tonight is John Beuhler from Vancouver.  Going into Night Five, John Beuhler was in first place for the week and cruising towards the Semi-Finals.  After Night Five, he found himself in fifth place for the week and teetering on the edge of not moving on.  Tonight, on Night Six, he was going up last…usually a good place on a comedy show, but with fifteen comedians and a host going up before you, it can be a difficult place on THIS show…and John needed to either knock it out of the park, or hope that no one else could make a significant score to dislodge him from the finals.

Well, the Nightly Top Five for Preliminary Week One-Night Six of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition, as determined by comedy industry judges, looked like this:

  1. Sam Demaris (Houston)
  2. Patrick Keane (Los Angeles)
  3. Mark Normand (New York)
  4. Jono Zalay (Boston)
  5. Rylee Newton (Seattle)

(…and Kristine Levine was right there, with another 6th place finish.)

So, the drama built towards finding out how tonight’s scores would mix from the scores from the other five nights of the week.  Everyone gets to drop their lowest nightly score from the six shows–so, who’s best five scores would top the other comedians’ best five scores…THAT would determine the Weekly Top 5…and those comedians would move n to the Semi-Finals.

Here, then, are the Top 5 from Preliminary Week One of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition…and the first five comedians to make this year’s Semi-Finals.

  1. Sam Demaris (Houston)
  2. Patrick Keane (Los Angeles)
  3. Mark Normand (New York)
  4. Rodney Sherwood (Seattle)
  5. John Beuhler (Vancouver)

(Just falling short:  Ian Karmel (Portland) was 6th, only .25 points behind Beuhler;  Jono Zalay was 7th and David Tveite (Seattle) ended the week in 8th place.)

Regardless of the scores, this was an excellent group of very talented comedians who delighted audiences on every show.

Preliminary Week Two begins where Preliminary Week One left off–with a night of comedy at the Comedy Underground in Seattle in front of comedy industry judges.  They are just beginning their six night run to determine which five comedians from their group of sixteen talented comedians will join Sam, Patrick, Mark, Rodney and John.

The first night of Preliminary Week Two begins tonight, Tuesday November 8th, at the Comedy Underground, Seattle.  Showtime is 8pm.

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