A Performer’s Greatest Tool- Capacity for Rejection, or, The Seattle International Comedy Competition

I recently returned from testing out early from the Seattle International comedy competition.  Going in, I had a lot of goals about how far I would get and how the shows would go. 

In retrospect, one’s first contest should be treated like a first marathon- you just want to get through without shitting yourself.

One perspective-changing opportunity: The reason I thought I had a shot at semifinals was that I think I’m very funny.  What I failed to take into account is that every other person is very funny also.  I felt very lucky to be in such a group- even the people who never made it into the top five, even the guys who regularly were in the bottom five- they were all funny. 

I had heard horror stories about Seattle contest road gigs, about the hayseeds who voted for comics who mimed sex with barstools and pointed out that different socioeconomic and racial groups might dance and speak differently, throwing you into a lot of sturm and drang about art and expression and hackiness, but I really really liked everyone who I was with, and nary a barstool was molested. 

I met beautiful and hilarious Canadian Claire Brosseau and hung out with my old friends Derek Sheen and Travis , and made lotsa new friends.  I got in the top five twice, (once sharing the stage with Claire, which evidently never happens!) participated in a conspiracy hunt, and ran the light once.

In the end, my friend Auggie Smith won the 31st International Seattle Comedy Contest, making a name for himself as the first individual to win Seattle and SF in the same year.  Billy Wayne Davis came in second, and our very funny friend Dax Jordan took bronze, Eddie Pence was fourth, and I got to spend semifinals week at Harvey’s, performing for people who were eating nachos, so it’s like we all won.

* Claire Brosseau, Toronto (quit)
* Mike Drucker, Seattle (very successful writer)
* ‘Big Irish’ Jay Hollingsworth, Seattle (moved to LA, is very large)
* Virginia Jones, Portland (christ who knows)
* Dax Jordan, Portland (LA denizen, Dynasty Typewriter employee)
* Joe List, New York (doing very well! Apparently had vomit on him when we met at this comp)
* Dave Mcdonough, Boston (quit)
* Sean Ottey, Seattle (quit)
* Eddie Pence, Los Angeles (nerd comedy in LA)
* Toby Roberts, Tacoma (oh god who was that)
* Jake Sharon, Denver (Ran into him at Laughlin a few years ago)
* Derek Sheen, Seattle (just opened for Patton Oswalt in Seattle)
* Brent Smalley, Indianapolis (oh Brent!)
* Auggie Smith, Portland (Moved to LA, continues to rule the road, work on Big Sky festival)
* Travis Vogt, Seattle (he’s there!)
* Kortney Shane Williams, Tampa (doing comedy in Seattle, which I am not!)

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