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.
You've all been waiting for this (sorry about the wait), it's the two final preliminary competitions in the 2008 Boston Comedy Festival contest, so let's get to recapping...
When Bowers took the stage, he joked about being the fourth consecutive black stand-up comic in this round, as well as how Obama is a much better presidential option than the Rev. Al Sharpton. A set routine about his grandmother's fanciful stories managed to take a localized turn into a tale of her stripping at the Boston Tea Party. Another bit, about this summer's salmonella scare, he took as a plot to get rid of Mexicans, and demonstrated it by replacing salmonella with X food to get rid of Y races. Closed with married role-playing and an act-out of the LAPD.
Campbell had "bitten the bullet" by going first, but the Minnesota comic -- who started out a bit too loud -- got some energy in the room with bits about an encounter with a woman in the bathroom that turned steamy, buying a gun and reporting it to the cops during a traffic stop, showering for a ghost, and the dangers in feeding a bear. Unlike many comedians of her size, she never acknowledged or poked fun at her own expense. That probably scored extra points with the judges.
Waite, who attended college in Kentucky, joked about his geography degree makes him a dumb-ass: They already have maps! Cue the many many asides! Shazam! (He never said shazam, but said plenty in between every joke that piled up the style and attitude points) Hasslehoff. Internet porn. Pee-wee football. As he said to the ladies in the audience at one point, "Buckle up, it's creepy time!" He got solid laughs from the audience and comics alike.
Thomas talked about the differences between broke and being "working people broke." His opening premise, about how men and women describe getting married, may have been a little tired. But when he started joking about his money woes, he got some momentum going his way. Closed with a funny but true notion of how critics make Obama seem dangerous. Example: "Did you know he fathered two black children?"
From those who did not advance: Shawn Banks seemed very likable, but the crowd was slow to get on board. Andrea Henry's dry sense of humor suffered with her slot in the lineup. Jay Black had a very solid bit analyzing the importance of America finishing 27th in math, while Bangladesh apparently is tops in that subject.
OK. Moving on...