Thursday night was Julia Hladkowicz’s birthday. It would be nice for the host and MC for the third night of Preliminary Week One of the 34th Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition to mention that–but the rules state that everyone has to get the same introduction, to keep things fair for the competition.
So, our MC for the evening, Lars Callieou, decided to bring EVERYONE up on stage for Night Three of Preliminary Week Two of this year’s competition by telling the audience that it was their birthday. All sixteen comics who were performing on the show–their birthday.
It was a fun night.
For the second year in a row, we were welcomed into the home of Unexpected Productions, the Market Theater in Post Alley just off of the world famous Pike Place Market (and, more precisely, right behind the infamous “gum wall”), to bring some stand-up to a house built on improv theater. Jay Hitt and his staff couldn’t have been more helpful and a good sized crowd was definitely up for enjoying the show–and everyone on this night earned the “tremendously obvious encore point” that is decided by the audience. (Which was nice, you know, since it was each of their birthdays…right?)
The actual birthday girl had a bit of a tough draw when it came to the random performance orders determined for the week. This would be the second straight night she’d be going up second out of sixteen–and while there’s nothing stopping anyone from doing well from any position they could go up (and this has been proven over the years), she had it in her head that only people that were going up later in the show were doing well.
So, certainly, it would be too serendipitous for belief if she would find herself taking top honors for the night from the dreaded second spot on her birthday, wouldn’t it? And yet…that’s exactly what happened. Top scores from our judges–by a significant margin, surprising on such a solid top-to-bottom-show that the margin was large but not surprising who received those top honors–went to Julia Hladkowicz.
Both Lonnie Bruhn and Michael Davis have shrugged off an unexpectedly low score on the first night of the competition to get better scores each night–and both made the Nightly Top 5 again on this night. Anthony Robinson, Mo Alexander and Jake Head would make their FIRST appearance in a top five (with Mo and Jake ending up tied for the 5th place spot.)
Let’s go ahead and make that official here:
SICC-34: Preliminary Week Two-Night Three Top 5 (or six, really…)
- Julia Hladkowicz (Toronto, ON)
- Lonnie Bruhn (Portland, OR)
- Michael Davis (San Francisco, CA)
- Anthony Robinson (Seattle, WA)
- TIE–Mo Alexander (Memphis, TN)
TIE–Jake Head (Atlanta, GA)
Just missing out on the Top 5 on this night were both Graham Kay and Bri Pruett, who tied for 7th place.
This is an extremely competitive week. 12 of the 16 performers in this week who have found themselves on the podium for at least one night this week (and the four who haven’t have all been delivering solid, podium-worthy sets each night and could find themselves making an end-of-the-night photo before this week is over, certainly.)
Preliminary Week Two is now three shows in–half over, with half yet to come. The competition now returns to the Auburn Ave Theater where this week’s performers will be challenged to deliver the funny on a Friday night show while abiding by “TV Clean” rules. I’d say that this would have the potential to shake things up–but every night has managed to shake things up, somehow.
The only thing that was certain was that on Thursday night, Julia Hladkowicz just gave herself the best birthday present ever.