Seattle International Comedy Competition features rising stars from U.S.
The 31st Seattle International Comedy Competition gets underway Wednesday at the Vera Project and continues through Nov. 28. The marathon elimination features 23 shows at 19 venues in Seattle and Western Washington. The winner receives $5,000 and a contract with Uproar Records and will be selected Nov. 28 at Seattle's Moore Theatre.
Seattle International Comedy Competition23 shows at 19 venues in Seattle and Western Washington, starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Vera Project, Seattle Center, through Nov. 28; $10-$29 (www.seattlecomedycompetition.com).
If you laughed at that — or even if you didn't — the Seattle International Comedy Competition (SICC) is for you.
SICC starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Vera Project, in Seattle. Hedberg won the contest back in 1997. And the audience had a hand in his victory.
One of the big selling points of this monthlong, 23-show extravaganza, which plays 19 venues in Western Washington this month, is that the audience helps choose the winner. One of the seven categories the judges consider is audience response.
"No matter how good they are," says festival producer Ron Reid, "if they don't knock the audience out, they're at a disadvantage."
Reid, who has been producing the competition 16 of its 31 years, says this rounds' talent is extremely deep.
"For some reason this year we had to turn down great people just to make room for regional talent," says Reid.
The competition is open to comics from all over the country. Three hundred applied. Of the 32 who made the first round, more comedians than ever are already nationally recognized in the industry, he says.
"We have two former winners of the Boston Comedy Festival — Dan Boulger and Dave McDonough," says Reid. "Auggie Smith, from Portland, just won the San Francisco Comedy Competition. Sean Patton (from New Orleans) is one of the hottest up-and-coming comics in the country."
The quality is not surprising. Winning at SICC is a pretty big deal. The first place winner gets $5,000 in cash, a one-year record contract with the prestigious comedy label, Uproar Records, plus a $1,000 advance.
A total of $15,000 in cash prizes is handed out.
It's a cliché, admits Reid, but this is the place to see stars of the future as well as comics on the way up from other cities. Scouts from Sony Entertainment, ABC and DreamWorks agree. They'll be checking out the talent.
SICC is a marathon elimination. Contestants present six, five-minute shows in one of two preliminary weeks. The top five comics from each preliminary play the semifinals, in which they do six more sets, 8-12 minutes long. The top five from the semifinals move to the finals, where they offer 15-20 minutes sets on five more shows. The champion is selected Nov. 28 at the Moore Theatre in Seattle.
Other Seattle venues include the Comedy Underground and the Hard Rock Cafe; outside Seattle, comics are hosted at the Upstage in Port Townsend; the Auburn Avenue Theatre in Auburn; and the Fairhaven Pub and Martin Bar in Bellingham.
Even in the early rounds, the material is strong, says Reid.
"Everyone gives their A-game," he says. "It's all dessert. No salad."
So maybe not so healthy — but focused.
Not blurry, like Bigfoot.
Paul de Barros: 206-464-3247 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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