From the finals last night of the inaugural Great American Comedy Festival contest...
Deacon Gray from Denver (and originally Oklahoma City) wins $5,000!
Second place to Erin Jackson from D.C., and $3,000.
Third-place prize of $2,000 split between Drake Witham (Seattle) and Jim McDonald (Los Angeles).
The local paper in Norfolk, Neb., picks up the story here. Congrats to all. Of course, there's always part of me (and part of every comedian) that gives a skewed eye toward all comedy contests, whether it's because of the rules, or because of the judges, or something else entirely that makes you not feel good about comedy contests. Unless you win it. Then everything's hunky-dunky! And with that, I must point out...
Eight finalists have made it to tonight to compete for nice prize money and who knows what other rewards at the inaugural Great American Comedy Festival. And they are...
Erin Jackson, Shane Mauss, Deacon Gray, Marianne Sierk, Chris Coccia, Drake Witham, Jim McDonald and Chuck Bartell. Really a cross-section of America, come to think of it. How about that. They'll tell jokes again tonight in Norfolk, Neb., at the 1,234-seat Johnny Carson Theater, although this time, their judges will be Robert Klein, Dick Cavett and Wende Curtis (owner of Comedy Works in Denver).
Some other info, courtesy of Mr. Eddie Brill, coordinator of the fest:
The winner gets $5,000, but second and third place aren't exactly shabby, taking home $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. Also, Brill notes: "The Saturday night gala will be hosted by Robert Klein. Also performing that night is Nick Griffin, Jeff Caldwell, myself, The Brave New Workshop, and the three top money winners from the comedy finals. Jeff Caldwell is hosting the preliminaries. I am hosting the finals of the comedy competition. Nick Griffin will be closing the competition shows while the judges votes are tabulated." Cavett, who will receive a Legend Award, will take Qs & give As. Other events include a weeklong comedy camp for kids, workshops and a Christian comedy show.
Related: Did you know Dick Cavett blogs for the New York Times?