Via my friends at Shecky magazine comes word that many of the old-timey (and by old-timey, I mean older than me) Seattle comedians got together for a good ol' barbecue picnic, and Alysia Wood filed a report on the matter with her own reflections on how these comics helped her find her way in stand-up. As someone who saw Wood make her initial appearances at the Comedy Underground, it's doubly nostalgic for me to read her thoughts on such Seattle stalwarts of stand-up as Peggy Platt, Cathy Sorbo, Brad Upton, Rod Long, Cliff Barnes, Kermet Apio and Undergrounders Ron Reid and Carl Warmenhoven. Her description of the back of the Underground and everyone hanging and talking smack and joking really brings me back. Ah, memories.
Related: The Comedy Underground, temporarily booted from its current confines in Pioneer Square, begins a summer weekend series in West Seattle on July 11-12. But where do we go for the open mics?! Argh.
Local 20-year-old Dan Boulger — let me repeat that — 20-year-old Dan Boulger took home the top prize and an estimated $7,000 as winner of the 2006 Boston Comedy Festival stand-up comedy contest! Boulger told me afterward that the only gig he has lined up so far is a date in October in Portland, Maine, at the Comedy Connection there opening for Jimmy Dunn. That should change. As an even more surreal moment, last night, Jimmy Dunn was standing outside Remington’s on the sidewalk with Tony V. I told Dunn that he’d be working with Boulger soon. Dunn didn’t even know. Yes, my friends. The Boston comedy scene got a little bit of a healthy shake-up. Methinks this will be a good thing.
The final order of finish in last night’s finale:
1) Dan Boulger
2) Darryl Lenox
3) Ryan Hamilton
4) Brad Upton
5) Stewart Huff
6) Floyd J. Phillips
7) Shane Mauss
8) Russell Bell
I have no major complaints or quibbles with the judges’ cumulative scorecard here. I had it between Boulger and Lenox, and in my cynical heart of hearts, didn’t think the judges would side with the kid over the comedy vet, but impressed that they did. Hamilton could’ve had a shot, too, but going up first is a hard sell.
If you thought prelim 5 of the contest proved tough to judge, what to make of prelim 6, which had comics all over the map from good to bad to ugly? Well, let’s attempt a recap!
Prelim 6 (in order of appearance)
1) Dana Eagle: The old I may look prim and proper but I’m crazy trick. Perceptive self-reflective opening line: “Number One is good at the end of the night!” Showed her panties for laughs. It worked. Talked about the phenomenon of tattooing one’s backside. On hers it’d say: “Road blocked — go around!”
2) Rich Aronovitch: Horshack’s kid is pretty funny. But. As he even remarked, “I open with porn, I close with porn. I do Holocaust jokes in the middle.”
3) David Reinitz: He opens by telling people not to read the paper, so he’s automatically not funny in my book. Not funny! Closes by reading the side effects of ads for Zocor, Viagra. But he does accurately point out that having Southwest Airlines as the festival’s official airline sponsor is ridiculous, since Southwest doesn’t even fly to Boston.
4) DT Owens: Church and bible jokes, from a guy from Birmingham, Ala. Who knew?
5) Dale Jones: Ernest Goes to Jim Carrey Camp.
6) Shane Mauss: Is there an applause break curse? Shaner gets one on his first joke! (Kelly Mac got an applause break the night before, to no avail) I will also note that before he went up, he whispered in my ear: “So far, I’m winning.” After his very funny set, he’s right. But there still is half a show to go.
7) Chicken Towel: I didn’t catch his name when he went onstage, so Chicken Towel it is, since that was his first of SEVERAL long routines. Actually, maybe his name should be Cirque du Silly. Actually, maybe I should look up his name. Michael Rayner. And he’s turning out to be actually quite entertaining. But he went on and on and on so long, he couldn’t possibly win. Did he care? I didn’t get a chance to ask him. Someone suggested that perhaps, he just wanted the stage time to impress the real judges in the room and get some gigs.
8) Dwayne Gill: He’s a cop. Anything I say can and will be used against me in a court of law and public opinion.
9) Brad Upton: I remember him from Seattle. And frightening enough, he remembers me. But why is he here? He’s a headliner. Does he need some new road gigs, too? I had a theory about white guys in suits (they don’t do well in contests, but black guys in suits do). But that’s just silly. And Upton is funny. On immigration and aliens stealing “our” jobs: he recently hired a 20-year-old foreign girl to do a job his wife wouldn’t want to do! The crowd loves him. Good for him.
10) Joey Carroll: He’s been in Iraq. So this should be smooth sailing. Until he tells a joke about Anna Nicole Smith’s son, who just died. Earlier, though, he had a winning bit about Halloween, including the one time he dressed up as the Grim Reaper and kicked in his grandma’s door. “C’mon! Let’s go!”
11) Frank Santorelli: Another longtime headliner in this contest. What gives? “Listen, I don’t need to be here tonight. I was on Star Search. I shook Ed McMahon’s hand on television. What did you do tonight?” He rips on host Jim Lauletta: “A very funny man…offstage.” Tells the crowd he is 48, but feels young by shaving his pubic hair. Ah, youth.
12) Dan Sally: Opens with all new material! Suri Cruise pictures! His newlywed wife is preggers! As they used to say on TV: “For originality, a perfect score of 30!” Closes with his tried-and-true engagement story. Good stuff.
And the results are…another three-person advancement!
Brad Upton, Shane Mauss and Frank Santorelli move on to the semis! If only they had room for four, Mr. Sally. If only they had room for four…