Congratulations to Auggie Smith, who not only celebrated a birthday over the holidays, but also added the 2010 Seattle comedy competition crown to his 2010 win earlier this year in the larger San Francisco contest.
Seattle's monthlong competition found itself forced to eliminate the first night of its final round last week when an arctic storm blew into the Puget Sound, but managed to get in four nights of stand-up, concluding last night. Smith (pictured at left after his win by Peter Greyy) is the first stand-up to finish with victories in both Seattle and San Francisco in the same year. David Crowe also has crowns in both, winning Seattle in 1995 and San Francisco in 1996.
Smith wins $5,000 and a record contract with Uproar.
The final five from Seattle:
Smith previously had finished runner-up in the SF contest back in 2001, but returned this fall to take home the victory. I first saw Auggie and beheld his manic ranting style way back in 1997, when he finished runner-up to Mitch Hedberg in Seattle's competition. Some say being older makes you wiser. Looks like as Auggie gets older, his anger comes into sharper focus. Or maybe it just fits his persona better, coming from the mouth of a 40-year-old instead of a twenty-something. Perhaps just as Lewis Black got exposed to a wider audience in his middle age, this win in San Francisco will put Auggie Smith front and center in front of more people.
Here are your final standings from this year's San Francisco competition:
1. Auggie Smith, Portland
2. Tony Dijamco, Los Angeles
3. Sammy Obeid, Fremont
4. Kurt Swann, San Diego
5. Solomon Georgio, Seattle
Want to see some recent video featuring Mr. Auggie Smith?
Here he is on the Bob & Tom radio program this summer talking about how he feels about the kids these days (and the parents who are failing them). Roll it.
And here is a bit from the stage this summer, talking about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and President Obama. Roll that, please.
Boston's annual comedy festival competition, much like its comedy scene, is an odd mix of college-aged joketellers, strong writers, aspiring upstarts and wily veterans who for some reason have flown under the national radar. In 2008, Dwight Slade (a teen comedy peer of the late Bill Hicks) entered and won the contest. This year, 30-year-old Marshfield native Dave McDonough took the trophy (is there a trophy? methinks not, but there is $5,000) with a set of dark but strong, clever jokes. His win made many local comedians happy, not just for him, but what it meant for the scene to have one of its own beat out 95 other contestants for the top prize. Which, to me, made this a clear echo of Dan Boulger's victory here in 2006.
In fact, the top three places in this year's Boston Comedy Festival contest went to locals. Kelly MacFarland took home the $2,500 runner-up prize, while Lamont Price finished third, receiving $1,000. Ryan Hamilton led the remaining finalists -- Paul Myrehaug, Danny Bevins, Auggie Smith and Mehran -- who split the remaining prize money.
McDonough told me afterward that he doesn't get onstage as often as he could or should, as the Braintree resident still works as a roofer. When he does perform, he tends to work rooms in the South Shore, and he did win a South Shore comedy contest earlier this year. And I'm told he is related to one of Boston's most wily of stand-up vets in Don Gavin. As for McDonough, if you look for examples of his comedy online, you're not going to find a lot just yet. A YouTube video of his set from the Comedy Studio in Cambridge -- which includes many of the jokes he told in the contest -- dates back two years (that's as old as my most recent stand-up video, and I barely perform anymore). Here's a taste of him. Bear in mind that his delivery and wording of a few of these jokes has gotten stronger since this recording, though he still tends to stare down at the floor (a la Mitch Hedberg):
I was on hand Friday night for the end of the semifinal rounds of the 2009 Boston Comedy Festival stand-up contest. While the early semi seemed to point clearly to who would advance to the finals, some might quibble about who got the lucky finalist slots in the late semi (not that I could weigh in on that, because I was busy enjoying the ribald Roast of Tony V). Anyhow. The results, please?
They beat out Al Ducharme, Dan Crohn, Giulia Rozzi, Tony Boswell, Erin Judge and Daniel St. Germain.
They beat out MC Mr. Napkins, Joe Wong, J-L Cauvin, Tony Baker, Tim Kaelin and Matthew Lumpkin.
Those four above will join the four semifinal winners from Thursday and compete for $10,000 in cash prizes tonight at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston.
Want to know who moved on from Tuesday night's preliminary rounds of the stand-up contest for the 2009 Boston Comedy Festival? Well, here you go (and according to this news, apparently some comedians I know, and some comedians I don't know but know are funny, also did not advance to the semis, not to take anything away from the comedians I know who are funny and did advance! get it? got it? good!):
Derrick comedy has a laugh-out-loud hilarious, dark comedy movie on their hands, and if all things go well, soon enough, there will be a distribution deal for Mystery Team. How do I know this? I managed to get in on one of the intimate free screenings in New York City earlier this week, and talked to four-fifths of the team behind Mystery Team afterward (Dan Eckman, Meggie McFadden, DC Pierson and Dominic Dierkes -- Donald Glover was over in Long Island City being executive story editor on 30 Rock). Roll the clip!
As mentioned in the clip, Mystery Team debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival to mostly positive reviews and buzz. Director/co-writer/editor Eckman said he managed to cut more than six minutes from the version Sundance audiences saw, getting the running time down to a leaner 98 minutes. "Watching it with an audience six times at Sundance really opened the whole thing up," Eckman told me.
If you haven't heard the buzz yet, let me fill you in. Donald Glover, DC Pierson and Dominic Dierkes play three high-schoolers who are still living off of their childhood "fame" as boy detectives who solved neighborhood mysteries a la Encyclopedia Brown. Glover's Jason is as animated as a Looney Tunes character with a propensity for disguises that rely on fake mustaches. Pierson's Duncan has memorized trivial trivia and thinks that makes him a boy genius when it just makes him a nerd. Dierkes' Charlie is a dumb jock without being a jock. They're 17, but still living as if they were 7. "No case too hard, no case too tough," reads the hand-painted sign outside Jason's house. And their mysteries are as tough as figuring out who stuck their fingers in an old lady's pie. Until a girl rings Jason's bell and asks him to solve the murder of her parents. The boys take the case and quickly find themselves in over their heads, literally and figuratively. Will they grow up and/or solve the case? Aubrey Plaza (NBC's Parks & Recreation) plays the other orphaned sister. Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live) shows up every so often as a grocery store cashier who still idolizes the Mystery Team. And there are plenty of other great comedian cameos and supporting roles with an emphasis on the UCB: Tom Shillue, Matt Walsh, Kay Cannon, Neil Casey, Jon Daly, Will Hines, Ellie Kemper, Anthony King, John Lutz, Ben Schwartz, Kevin Brown and Robbie Sublett among them.