Well, well, well.
As we headed into night 5 of 6, things began to get a bit ticklish for many of the comics. The comics in the middle of the pack, score-wise, are feeling the pressure, knowing that they still have a chance to make the top five overall and qualify for the semifinals. But they probably feel less pressure than the folks already at the top, who know that two bad nights now can end their chances for the contest.
Joe Vespaziani, still the current leader in our week, confides in me that he’s a bundle of nerves. He says he has not done well in Bellingham in years past. His spirits lighten a little when Scott Meyer emerges onstage tonight in disguise as El Destructo, a Mexican wrestler. With mask, cape, a "wife-beater" shirt and shorts, Meyer/El Destructo puts on a performance that has all of the comics — and much of the audience — in hysterics. Halfway through the set, he pulls out an effigy of Vespaziani and proceeds to beat the literal stuffing out of it. Despite that, Meyer earns a very low score tonight.
And the comics who do well are those who don’t let the pressure get to them.
Kevin Foxx and Damonde Tschritter, the two British Columbians in the bunch, strike a chord with the Bellingham crowd. Dean Evans performs a carefree loosey-goosey set. And Mike Capp — Mr. Bell and Horn to you — finds yuks out of a couple with now seemingly obvious marital problems. After much tinkering, I finally figured out what it takes to do well in this competition. It helped that I was the last comic on stage. Finally I had a chance to go up later in the show and give the crowd what they wanted. Two of the three judges (one of whom is described as a Republican Catholic conservative) rank me among the top five comics tonight. Several women introduced themselves to me afterward and said they loved my set.
And all I did was have a woman take off my pants and perform a lap dance for a guy in the audience. Now that’s comedy.
Your unofficial top five tonight:
1. Bengt Washburn
2. Dean Evans
3. Kevin Foxx
4. Damonde Tschritter
5. Mike Capp
Heading into Monday night’s final night of round one, the leaders are:
1. Bengt Washburn
2. Joe Vespaziani
3. James Heneghen
4. Kevin Foxx
5. Andy Andrist
But I’ll have you know, I beat Andy tonight. I have begun making my climb out of the cellars of mediocrity. I can smell the middle of the pack now. And it smells good.
Next stop: The end of the road at the Muckleshoot Casino near Auburn. Showtime 8:30 p.m. It’s better than free. The casino is giving people gambling money to come to the show. I’ll see you there.