And if you want to know the story…
I think Steve Hofstetter knew. I think he knew when the Nightly Top 5 was announced, that even though he had earned himself a 5th place spot for the night, that he might be in danger of not moving on to the Finals. He’d gone into the night in 4th place but the comics who were nipping at his heels had all scored better than he did–placing 3rd, 2nd and 1st. Perhaps not all three of them would end up scoring ahead of him for the week–but if two of them did, he’d be on the outside looking in.
For Kortney Shane Williams, he couldn’t possibly know. He’d done all he could–he’d earned a nightly win on the last night of the week. He’d pocketed the biggest score he could on “Go Big or Go Home” night. But he had a lot of catching up to do…and there in the nightly top 5 were four of the people ahead of him in the weekly standings. How big did he go and could it possibly be enough for him to sneak to the top 5 for the week?
Rodger Lizoala felt he’d done it. He knew he needed to hit two home runs in the last two shows and with a second place finish on this night, he thought that he’d managed to do just that. He’d gone into the night tied with Trenton for 5th place, just behind Steve and Zoltan…and there he was in 2nd place for the night, ahead of Trenton, Zoltan and Steve.
Zoltan Kaszas was third for the week going in and placed 4th on the night, ahead of Steve–who he was just ahead of in the weekly standings–but behind Trenton and Rodger. And Trenton was right there with a third place finish for the night, behind Rodger–who he was tied for fifth for the week with going into this show–but ahead of Zoltan and Steve.
It would come down to some complicated math and some minuscule fractions.
One thing that was known was that two Canadians were making it to the finals. Both Dave Merheje and Graham Kay knew going into this night that the odds were ever in their favor. Despite neither of them making the Top 5 for Night Five, both of them did indeed make the Top 5 for the Week…finishing one and two and advancing to the Finals.
Third place would go to Zoltan Kaszas who was simply very consistent this week…consistently good. He joins Dave and Graham in moving on to the finals.
That left two spots for three strong competitors…and the difference in the scores between them is almost laughably small. How fortunes can be determined by such small differences is part of the inherent drama of sports…and, evidently, comedy competitions.
Finishing only seven hundredths of a point behind Zoltan and taking 4th place for the week was Rodger Lizaola. Behind him and claiming the 5th and final spot to advance to the Finals Week was Trenton Davis, only .35 points behind Rodger.
And, despite being in 4th place for the week going into the last show of the week and making the podium on that last show, Steve Hofstetter found that in this game of musical chairs, there would be no chair left for him…as he finished behind Trenton by only .23.
The winner of the fifth show of the Semi-Finals Week, Kortney Shane Williams was just .17 behind Steve in 7th place. That means that it was less than a single point separating 3rd from 7th.
This was an incredibly competitive week. And a week filled with excellent performers, all of whom deserve their props and respect. It could easily have been a strong finals group with Steve Hofstetter, Kortney Shane Williams, Sam Demaris, Lonnie Bruhn and Mo Alexander. THAT group includes strong veteran comics, previous semi-finalists in earlier years of this competition and/or the San Francisco Comedy Competition AND it would have included the top weekly finishers from BOTH of this year’s Preliminary Weeks!!!
That’s how strong this semi-finals group was…and it’s been a pleasure to watch them perform night after night.
…but now, we’re down to our five finalists… One of these performers will become the new Seattle International Comedy Competition champion:
Trenton Davis (Chicago, IL)
Zoltan Kaszas (San Marcos, CA)
Graham Kay (Toronto, ON)
Rodger Lizaola (Seattle, WA)
Dave Merheje (Toronto, ON)
They will perform 15-20 minute sets on five shows over the upcoming week, starting on November 26th with a private show for the Washington Athletic Club members. The night before Thanksgiving, we bring the shows across the water to perform at the Vashon Theater on Vashon. The night after Thanksgiving, the Kirkland Performance Center hosts the third night of Finals. The next night takes us to the Admiral Theater in Bremerton…and the whole thing winds up with a return to the home club of this competition, the legendary Comedy Underground in Seattle, on Sunday December 1st.