A heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out to the final round of the SF Comedy Club Competition last night. As in the World Cup, it is an honor to simply make the Finals. Also like the World Cup, some people will make jokes about your momma. And sometimes you go home in disgrace.
After seeing Mike in the first round, I predicted he would win the contest. He kicked ass, and he's a worthy winner. I hadn't seen Debbie before, but the crowd loved her. One comic pantomined "home run" as she walked off stage, so second place was not at all surprising. Nico Santos is always a treat, and I was happy he did his "uncomfortable ending" joke. Congratulations all.
The Golden Ball went to David Wiswell, probably because they closed the voting halfway through, and the judges didn't see him headbutt Julian Vance. It was hard to tell what motivated David to do that, but lip-readers claim that Julian said something about retarded kids and their backpacks, and David just lost it. Also, I'm pretty sure Julian tweaked David's nipple.
Of the fourth place finishers (AKA losers), Kellen Erskine was again a standout. Many of my friends voted for him, and at least one of my family members thinks he's cute. If you're in the South Bay, you can see Kellen this weekend at the San Jose Improv, and you can make him your MySpace friend anytime. We'll both be performing at Ron's Farmhouse in Mountain View on Friday, July 28th, as well.
Fourteen people advanced to the Finals, out of an original group of 75. This means that, though they don't announce places past third, I did beat at least 61 people in this competition. 62 if you count Nathan Jackson.
The format of the final round could use some tightening, however. Fourteen people is a lot to have in the finals, especially since only 27 advanced to the semi-finals. That's right - over half of the semi-finalists made it to the finals. It seems like there is a weakness in the comedy distillation process at that point. They don't finish the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament and decide, you know what, it's gonna be the Sweet Twenty-Six this year. Billy Packer would shit himself, unless the extra teams were from the Big East and ACC.
Maybe cap the finals at eight, and if there's a tie or a voting irregularity, expand the field to a maximum of ten comics. I realize that this might have kept me out of the finals, but that's a theoretical price I'm willing to hypothetically pay.
That being said, it was a very good crowd, and an exciting event all around. It's the second-largest crowd I've ever played to in SF, after Iron Comic 3, though I think the Dave Attell show in Berkeley was still my largest audience ever. Patrons got to see a lot of excellent comics, and lost an average of six pounds each due to the sweltering conditions indoors.
What we witnessed outside: a bum urinating on the sidewalk; police officers apprehending a guy breaking into parked cars with a crowbar; other cops in an unmarked car surprising a guy trying to break into an ATM. Tenderloin fever - catch it!
How did I do? Technically, I finished in an 11-way tie for fourth. I drew the much-loathed #1 slot in the lineup. To give you an idea of how comics feel about going first, that spot is known as "taking the bullet". My slip of paper even said, "OH SHIT!" underneath the number one. Though I ultimately finished the evening a big loser, I felt good about my performance, getting a lot of crowd reaction while mixing up my usual set list. Even 50 Mason's lovely bartender complimented my set, saying she liked the extra energy I displayed. I got similar comments after Iron Comic - maybe it takes a competition, a time limit, or a drunken, heat-stricken crowd to get me to tell jokes quickly and with authority.
The real lesson is to keep working and writing jokes, and to convince your friends in the audience to strategically down-vote Nico Santos, even if they think he was the funniest. Besides, if I really want to find people drinking heavily in the sweltering heat, I can just go to Pleasant Hill and hang out with my family. Thank you! I'll be here all week! Be sure to tip your waitress and Cementhorizon!