SICC-32: Bringing It On Home for the Final Night of Finals

It is an odd feeling to get to the last night of an event like this.  On one hand, everybody’s tired and everybody’s looking forward to not having the stress that this competition puts on you.  (And, on a personal note, I fell off a chair while counting scores at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts show in Olympia during the Semi-Finals–so, this competition has LITERALLY been a pain in the ass for me.)

On the other hand–this competition allows us all to see excellent comedians every night…and we get to hang out with really great people as we have adventures all over Western Washington.  And that’s awesome!  Why would anyone want that to end?

…and, when you consider that some of us have been racing at full speed on making certain this event was as good as it could be since before June of this year…there’s that sense of “well, now what?”

Well, now…we get to celebrate one more time the excellent performers in this year’s competition…as our five finalists gathered one more time in the friendly confines of the home club of the Seattle International Comedy Competition for Finals Week-Night Five of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition to perform in front of a sold out club crowd to determine who would be this year’s champion.

Now, if you’ve been following along with the competition with these nightly updates, I think you had a pretty good idea who that champion was going to be…and you wouldn’t have been wrong…but, to their credit, all five performers gave it everything they had on this final night (and, as ever, Rodney Sherwood gave even more than that) to make certain that they showed everyone exactly why they’d earned their way into the finals of this highly competitive competition year to begin with…

And the results from the judges scores for this night’s performances, the Fifth and Final night of the Finals Week of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition, from the Comedy Underground, Seattle are as follows:

  1. Mike Baldwin (Kansas City)
  2. Mrs Hughes (Pismo Beach)
  3. Rick Kunkler (Seattle/Los Angeles)
  4. Rodney Sherwood (Seattle)
  5. Patrick Keane (Los Angeles)

…and those results had some interesting implications for the final standings for the week (and the entire competition.)

Did Mrs Hughes, with an excellent performance in a club setting–something that she’d admitted she had some concerns about, as she feels she does much better in a theater setting (and proved that she does very well in theaters in the Semi-Finals and Finals weeks)–do enough to pull her past the very consistent Patrick Keane or the mercurial Rick Kunkler?

Could Rick’s “everything including the kitchen sink (and improv fake-out and ventriloquist bit and guitar stuff)” approach allow him to climb one more spot to push Rodney Sherwood’s totally energetic presentation of local references and knowing meta-comedy out of 2nd place?

In a word?  No.  Nope.  The Weekly Standings didn’t change due to this show.

Here then are the Official Final Results from the Finals of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition:

  • 5)  Mrs Hughes (Pismo Beach)  An extraordinary result for a performer who wouldn’t have moved on from her Preliminary Week (despite having done very well in that week) if not for a performer dropping out of the Semi-Finals.  She made her way through the Semi-Finals without a drop score and charmed audiences throughout Western Washington!  Excellent work Mrs Hughes!
  • 4)  Patrick Keane (Los Angeles)  The quiet confidence shown by Patrick earned so much respect and so many new fans throughout this competition.  For a performer of his obvious talent and skill, he was invited to participate in this competition surprisingly late in the process–and I was happily surprised, myself, that he was still available to come join us.  His fearlessness in performing his style every night, regardless of the circumstances, will not soon be forgotten.
  • 3)  Rick Kunkler (Seattle/Los Angeles)  I’ve known Rick for many years and I’ve known that he’s a personality that fills any room he’s in.  He entered this competition with a concern that he wouldn’t live up to the standard he set the last time he’d competed in this event–when he placed 2nd.  When he realized that no matter what happened this year, no one could ever take that away from him…he was able to become the strong, confident and fearless performer that he truly is…and to see Rick Kunkler at his best was a special treat for all of us who had the chance to see him over the past few weeks.  Rarely does a comedian show off SO MANY SKILLS in the course of short set like we give our performers, but Rick displayed his mastery of everything that makes a comedian truly an entertainer.  (I half expected him to end his final night of finals set with a Gene Kelly-esque tap dance…and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him nail it perfectly if he had.)
  • 2)  Rodney Sherwood (Seattle)  One night in August, I saw that Rodney Sherwood was available for Facebook Chat and I sent him the following message:   You know what would make your comedy comeback complete? Competing in the Seattle International Comedy Competition.  I didn’t really think that Rodney would actually say “yes” to my invitation–after all, what else did Rodney have to prove?  He’d made the finals of this event in 1990!  He’s one of my local comedy inspirations!  But, he DID say “yes”–as part of his comeback from having retired from comedy for five years…and he did it the way he’s done everything–by giving EVERYTHING HE HAD and NOT EXPECTING ANYTHING TO BE HANDED TO HIM.  This is a man, after all, who could have sat back and waited to be given back his local headliner status–but he came back WORKING…he came back to do open mics, he came back to feature on Tribbleruns…and he signed on to try his hand in the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition.  And all he did was inspire a whole new group of comedians…  All he did was entertain audiences every night he performed.  All he did was earn his way through the Preliminary Week, hold on through the highly competitive Semi-Finals and made a charge towards the top placements in the Finals Week.  He hasn’t lost a step…and he’s gained new respect.  Are you serious?  COME ON!
  • 1)  Mike Baldwin (Kansas City)  Two years ago, Mike Baldwin competed in the 30th Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition–the year after he’d made the Finals in the San Francisco Comedy Competition–and Mike didn’t make it out of his preliminary week.  He’d been counting on at least making the Semi-Finals that year, and he didn’t have enough money to drive back to Kansas City–he had to scramble to get enough paid gigs to earn his way back home.  It wouldn’t have surprised me if Mike had never wanted to come back to the Pacific Northwest, but Mike stayed in touch with me…always asking about the competition and letting me know that he was looking forward to when he was eligible to give it another shot.  He got his shot this year…and he made the most of it.  In what was an extremely competitive field, Mike Baldwin simply went out night after night and delivered top notch comedy.  His style is instantly likable, entirely personal and it highlights his attention to detail.  His material is crisp and perfectly efficient and he supplements that material with subtle but perfect facial expressions and vocal inflections.  His dominance in this competition is best expressed this way:  He won three of the six nights of his preliminary week.  He won five of the six nights of the Semi-Finals (and barely missed winning that sixth Semi-Final show, too.)  He won four of the five nights of the Finals (and the one night that the judges didn’t have him winning, the audience booed the decision and chanted his name.)  And, despite his dominance, the other competitors this year couldn’t even be mad at him…not only because Mike is simply really nice but also because Mike is simply really funny. 

Mike Baldwin earned himself a check for $5000 cash.  He’ll be offered a $1000 advance towards a recording contract with Uproar Entertainment.  He’ll come back to the Comedy Underground in Seattle to headline the weekend of December 9th through the 11th.

And he’ll always be known as the Champion of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition.

It’s been an amazing year…and obviously, thanks are due to Executive Producer Jonathan Fox, without whom there would not be a Seattle International Comedy Competition.  Thanks too go to Webmaster Wally Glenn and Judge Coordinator Lizzy Pilcher.  Thanks to our production assistants:  Danny Felts, Renee Perrault, Brittney Leonard, Jake Fox, Maria Heinegg, Barbara Holm, David Tveite, Douglas Gale, CJ Alexander,  Ken Arnold and Jen Seaman.  Thanks also to Larry Carson, without whose computer help we wouldn’t have been able to print scores from the Skagit Valley Casino show on…

Thanks to all of our comedian competitors this year:  Seth Lazear, Adam Cozens, Jay Washington, Rhiannon Archer, Carlos Valencia, Rylee Newton, Adam Pateman, Shanti Charan, Douglas Gale, Mike Cummings, Emmett Montgomery, Kristine Levine, Heather Thomson, Blake Wexler, Scott Moran, Manny Martin, Don Frost, Brett Hamil, Jono Zalay, Ian Karmel, Mark Normand, John Beuhler, David Tveite, Will Weldon, Eric Krug, Xung Lam, Sam Demaris, Mrs Hughes, Patrick Keane, Rick Kunkler, Rodney Sherwood and…certainly not least, this year’s champion of the 32nd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition…Mike Baldwin.

Thanks to our hosts, this year:  Billy Wayne Davis, Ralph Porter, Jim Short, Don Frost and Duane Goad.  Thanks to our special guest performers:  Greg Wingo, Reese Waters, Darrin Rose, Mike Drucker, Billy Wayne Davis and David Crowe.

Thanks to the dozens of judges, the helpful staffers at all of the venues we visited this year, thanks to Emmett Montgomery for helping to find lodging for many of our participants this year, thanks to everyone who retweeted and Google Plus +1′d and liked updates on Facebook and commented on Flickr.  Thanks to you for following along here on the website!

Deep breath.

And now, the hard work towards the 33rd Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition begins.  :)

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Greyy–Director of Talent (etc. etc. etc.)

PS–One more time, give it up for our new champion:  MIKE BALDWIN!!!

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