Or so you might think.

Before tonight’s show at the Cloverleaf, several comics come up to me looking for pointers or advice on local places they can use for their jokes. Somehow they got the impression that I know something about comedy. This was the one night when I knew I absolutely, positively could not afford to suck.

The Cloverleaf had a sold-out crowd. And most of these people live, work and shop in the same places I do. One bad joke — or several — and the rest of my days at The Sun would be marked, or should I say, mocked. How could I show my adorable little face again?

But I digress. The audience, seemingly filled with co-workers, friends and even readers (yes, I know what you’re thinking, but some people actually read The Sun), roared its approval as I opened the night’s competition. I thought it went well. But by the time the other 17 comics had done their time and the scores had been tallied, I came up short again.

Your unofficial top five for tonight:
1. Joe Vespaziani
2. Kevin Foxx
3. Andy Andrist (tie)
3. James Heneghen (tie)
5. Bengt Washburn
14. me

A trend has emerged. Three comics have placed high in each of the three nights. All five of tonight’s top finishers are repeats from night No. 1. And I, though a crowd favorite I might be, I took a score less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

Some lingering questions…

Why does everyone keep betting on when Jan Barrett will drop out of the contest? Why in the world is Dave Dennison known as "Chili Dog?" If Mitch Hedberg, last year’s winner, had been in our group this year, would Andy Andrist have to change his act? Will Joe V. keep working his comedy magic on the masses? Tune in tomorrow to see these mysteries unravel and more. Same Bat Time. Same Bat Web Site.

Next stop: Club Broadway, Everett. Showtime 7 p.m.