Eight finalists have made it to tonight to compete for nice prize money and who knows what other rewards at the inaugural Great American Comedy Festival. And they are…

Erin Jackson, Shane Mauss, Deacon Gray, Marianne Sierk, Chris Coccia, Drake Witham, Jim McDonald and Chuck Bartell. Really a cross-section of America, come to think of it. How about that. They’ll tell jokes again tonight in Norfolk, Neb., at the 1,234-seat Johnny Carson Theater, although this time, their judges will be Robert Klein, Dick Cavett and Wende Curtis (owner of Comedy Works in Denver).

Some other info, courtesy of Mr. Eddie Brill, coordinator of the fest:

The winner gets $5,000, but second and third place aren’t exactly shabby, taking home $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. Also, Brill notes: "The Saturday night gala will be hosted by Robert Klein. Also
performing that night is Nick Griffin, Jeff Caldwell, myself, The Brave New
Workshop, and the three top money winners from the comedy finals. Jeff Caldwell is hosting the preliminaries. I am hosting the finals
of the comedy competition. Nick Griffin will be closing the competition shows
while the judges votes are tabulated." Cavett, who will receive a Legend Award, will take Qs & give As. Other events include a weeklong comedy camp for kids, workshops and a Christian comedy show.

Related: Did you know Dick Cavett blogs for the New York Times?