From the finals last night of the inaugural Great American Comedy Festival contest…

Deacon Gray from Denver (and originally Oklahoma City) wins $5,000!
Second place to Erin Jackson from D.C., and $3,000.
Third-place prize of $2,000 split between Drake Witham (Seattle) and Jim McDonald (Los Angeles).

The local paper in Norfolk, Neb., picks up the story here. Congrats to all. Of course, there’s always part of me (and part of every comedian) that gives a skewed eye toward all comedy contests, whether it’s because of the rules, or because of the judges, or something else entirely that makes you not feel good about comedy contests. Unless you win it. Then everything’s hunky-dunky! And with that, I must point out…

One of the three judges was Wende Curtis, who owns/runs Comedy Works in Denver. Deacon Gray’s own participant listing on the festival site reads: "Deacon Gray is the New Talent Coordinator and a house comedian at Comedy Works in Denver, Colorado. During the week he oversees the development of new and amateur comedians, and opens for the nation’s top acts on the weekends. He’s very honored to be selected to perform in Norfolk, and is looking forward to good comedy and cherry cobbler." I don’t know Curtis or Gray personally. But I feel like it’s one of those things that should be pointed out. Because it’s just, well, weird to have Curtis judging Gray when prize money is up for grabs. Maybe I’m just being silly since I wasn’t there. But, still. Maybe I should just eat some cherry cobbler myself and shut up.