SICC-34: First place in Auburn and That is Enough!

Lonnie Bruhn on his way to a top finish on Night Four!

Lonnie Bruhn has been a comedic force to be reckoned with out of the Portland area for some time now.  His take-no-prisoners, no cow is sacred, pitbull approach to comedy is legendary.

So, he might not have been people’s first choice as someone who would take the top spot on a “TV Clean” night of the Seattle International Comedy Competition…and yet, there he was being announced as the top scorer on the stage of the Auburn Ave Theater in Auburn for Night Four of Preliminary Week Two of the 34th Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition.

Lonnie’s come into this year’s event with a clear head.  He didn’t let a weak score on the first night of his week throw him off his game–he adjusted and each night since, he’s placed better and earned higher scores from the judges.  He knows what he’s capable of and, perhaps more importantly, he can adapt his game without losing the essence of who he is on stage.  On this night, nobody could touch him–the audience loved him, the judges loved him…and he took the top honors on the night.

Now, it should be said that this was another hot crowd in Auburn–they love the shows that the competition brings to them (and this may be why they were the only venue this year that got to see all 32 competitors in this year’s competition, as they got to host nights of both preliminary rounds this year!)  From Slovenia’s Tin Vodopivec who went up first and got his best score of the competition so far all the way through to the end of host Lars Callieou’s “stall set” while scores were tabulated–they were into this show and the performers on it.

The judges had to find ways to separate our performers on this night and the “TV Clean” restrictions became a factor in tonight’s scores as well–as all of our performers were challenged to perform to the standards expected of them if they’d be appearing on one of the US network television late night programs.  Many performers are used to the complete freedom in language and in physicality that they enjoy in a comedy club–but this night, they had to consider their words and actions more carefully.  Some struggled but most managed to deliver.

…and none more so than Lonnie Bruhn on this night.

Let’s take a look at the top five finishers for the night here:

SICC-34:  Preliminary Week Two-Night Four Top 5

  1. Lonnie Bruhn (Portland, OR)
  2. Zoltan Kaszas (San Marcos, CA)
  3. Mo Alexander (Memphis, TN)
  4. Graham Kay (Toronto, ON) 
  5. Michael Davis (San Francisco, CA)
Both Zoltan Kaszas and Graham Kay make their return appearances in the end-of-the-night photo.  Mo Alexander continues his steady climb up the list while Michael Davis was certainly a crowd-pleaser on this night and continues to score well.

So, with four of six in the books…the big picture, the weekly standings, are still a jumble. We’ve had a different nightly winner each night this week.  12 of the 16 competitors have managed to make a nightly top 5–and the four who haven’t yet are certainly capable of grabbing a spot in one of the nightly top 5′s on the two remaining shows.

The Saturday night show at the Renton Civic Theater in Renton should bring the picture into a bit more focus…but with so many excellent performers in this week, it could be a dogfight all the way to the finish.

(I understand that there are still seats available for this show–as I type this report, this show is going to happen tonight.  Good people of Renton should come out and support the competition’s return to the Renton Civic Theater…and people from the entire Seattle metro area should consider making the drive to see an incredible night of comedy from some of the top stand-up talents from around the world.)

One thing’s for certain…nobody’s going to try to bully Lonnie Bruhn out of competing his hardest for one of the five remaining spots in the Semi-Finals.     

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