SICC-32: The Mike Baldwin Express Rolls Through Kelso. ALL ABOARD!

Night Five of the Semi-Finals of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition brought our intrepid comedians to Kelso, Washington and the lovely Kelso Theater Pub.  I understand that the competition used to make the Kelso Theater Pub a regular stop–before we moved over to the (admittedly also lovely) Columbia Theater in nearby Longview until a couple of years ago, when the Columbia Theater was not available to the competition due to remodeling.  We haven’t been back to the area since the 2009 competition–and it was obvious that we were missed.

Mike and the staff at the Kelso Theater Pub made us feel most welcome in a very interesting venue–it is a movie theater with tables…set up for pizza, beer and good times.  The audience was a little further away than most comedy shows–and the single spotlight shining from the projection room gave a dizzying perspective for the comedian on stage…but the crowd was appreciative and happy to have some laughs on a Saturday night.

This was a very important night for these ten comedians–as this was the second to last night of the Semi-Finals…the last chance to set yourself up for a run at the Weekly Top 5 and entry into the Finals (which begin next Tuesday.)  After tonight, because of the way the scores are tabulated in this competition, there would only be so much ground that any comedian could gain on those who might be ahead of them.

Not that anyone is capable of catching Kansas City’s Mike Baldwin–as all he’s been, so far this Semi-Finals Week, has been perfect.  Going into tonight, he’d taken first place on all four shows of this week…and tonight, he even turned an interaction with a drunk guy yelling incoherently at him into solid laughs that increased his likability on stage.

You didn’t need any “Coming Attractions” previews to guess that Mike Baldwin ONCE AGAIN took first place on this night (it’s kind of given away in the title of this post)–excellent work, Mike!

He wasn’t the only one who truly scored big with the audience and the five judges on this night–as Sam Demaris, who went up last on a long show–always a dangerous spot in the line-up–delivered a top to bottom solid performance that earned him his best placement and scores for the week.  He’s very much in contention to move on to the finals, if he can deliver a similar performance and earn similar scores on Sunday’s last night of the Semi-Finals.

Also having a well-received set was Seattle’s Xung Lam–who many in the audience told me after the show was their favorite of the night.  Heartbreakingly, Xung did not make tonight’s Top 5–narrowly missing it with a strong 6th Place showing.

Let’s take a look at the Top 5 from Semi-Finals Week-Night Five of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition, held at the Kelso Theater Pub.

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

Sunday night is the last night of the Semi-Finals.  The Top 5 for the Week will be announced at the end of that show, and it will be announced who the five Finalists will be.  It should be an exciting night with many good comics–some of whom, sadly, we will have to say “goodbye” to…as only half of them will move on to the Finals.

The Sunday night show takes place at Theatre on the Square in Tacoma.  Showtime is 7:30pm.

Will the Mike Baldwin Express keep rolling?  Will Rick Kunkler maintain his fingerless gloved hold on a place in the Finals?  Can Mrs Hughes, working without the safety net of a drop score, continue her excellent run in the Semi-Finals?  Is Patrick Keane going to be just as consistent as he has been all week?  How about Rodney Sherwood?  Will Sam Demaris be able to push his way into the finals or will he come up just short?  Can Eric Krug make a miracle happen and stay one more week in the Pacific Northwest?  Is Xung Lam destined for nothing but heartbreak?  What about Will Weldon or David Tveite?

We’ll know after tonight–but, can I just say right here and right now that this has been an excellent group of comedians, doing excellent work…and, when you add in the marvelous host, Jim Short, this is a show that you’ll regret not having seen if you’ve missed it this week.

It’s all up to Tacoma, now.

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