The ninth annual Boston Comedy Festival starts next month, and, as in past years, the centerpiece of the weeklong fest is its stand-up comedy contest. Having served as a judge for part of this contest in 2005 and 2006, and having witnessed other parts of it, I’m still struck by how random it can be. The competition’s structure dictates this, as you have one chance in your prelim to finish in the top two of 11 or 12 that night and move on to the semifinal, then again, one chance to move on to the finals. Makes your initial placement that much more vital, as well as knowing who your judges are. Are they old? Are they industry? Are they local? This year, the odds are a little better, as apparently four comics will advance from each prelim to the semis.

This year’s prelims (posted after the jump!) includes more than a fair share of Boston-area comedians, but also plenty of folks from around the country with TV credits and experience headlining clubs.

To whom do you give the early edge?

Preliminary #1

Sunday Sept. 14, 7 pm

Patrick
Bulger (Berkeley, Calif.), Mike Burton (Conn.), J.L. Cauvin (Bronx,
NY), David Foster (New York), David Grabiner (Cambridge), Dale Jones
(Ill.), David Kaye (Pittsburgh), Matt Malley (Calif.), Kevin McCaffrey (Astoria, NY), Danielle Stewart (Calif.), Sean Sullivan (Brockton), Byron Bowers (Los Angeles). Hosted by Dave Rattigan. Special appearance by Robbie Printz.

 

Preliminary #2

Sunday Sept. 14, 9 pm

Tim Babb (Los Angeles), Geoff Brousseau (Wash.), Selena Coppock (New York),
Eryn Cyr (Rhode Island), Sue Fracker (Saugus), Ben Hague (Rhode
Island), Dan Hirshon (Ashland), Cash Levy (Calif.), EJ Murphy (Astoria,
NY), Jessica Baade (Swampscott), Victor Varnado (Brooklyn, NY), Mike Whitman (Milton).

 

Preliminary #3

Monday, Sept. 15, 7 pm

 

Shaun
Bedgood (Quincy), Rob Brackenridge (Calif.), Dustin Chafin (Long Island
City, NY), Kendra Cunningham (Milton, Mass./Brooklyn, NY), Alvin David,
Tom Dustin (Everett), Duane Goad (Wash.), J. Scott Homan (Louisville,
KY), Eric Hunter (Calif.), Lisa Ingber (Minneapolis), Rob O’Reilly
(Cambridge), Andrew Norelli (Calif.). Hosted by Rick Jenkins. Special
appearance by Paul D’Angelo.

 

Preliminary #4

Monday, Sept. 15, 9 pm

Nicole Chiles (Ga.), Taylor Connelly (Boston), Dan Crohn (Somerville), John Curtin (Bridgewater), Troy Davis (Indianapolis), Mike Drucker
(Astoria, NY) Tom Foss (Penn.), Harrison Greenbaum (New York), Paul
Hooper (NC), Joe List (Astoria, NY), Jim Tews (Cleveland). Hosted by
Tim McIntire. Special appearance by Frank Santorelli

 

Preliminary #5

Tuesday, Sept. 16, 7 pm

Shawn
Donovan (Peabody), Will Hardesty (Louisville, KY), Tyler Hawkins
(Canada), Myq Kaplan (Boston), Key Lewis (Seattle), Jon Lincoln
(Millbury), Dave McDonough (Braintree),Liz Miele (New York), Ms. Pat
(Indiana), Ira Proctor (Cambridge), Maggie MacDonald (Boston), Joe
Vespaziani (Wash.). Hosted by Chris Oake. Special appearance by Tony V.

 

Preliminary #6

Tuesday, Sept. 16, 9 pm

Orlando
Baxter (Worcester), Jane Condon (Conn.), Mario Digiorgio (Austin),
Felicia Gillespie (Minneapolis), Artie Januario (Billerica), Nate
Johnson (Wakefield), Dax Jordan (Ore.), Jared Logan (Mich.), David Powell (Cambridge), Alicia Love (Whitman), Mark Scalia (Salem), Andy Peters (Seattle). Hosted by Brad Mastrangelo. Special appearance by Jessica Casciano

 

Preliminary #7

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 7 pm

Shawn
Banks (Fla.), Jay Black (Conn.), Jessi Campbell (NC), Jerry Costello
(Fla.), LA Hardy (Fla.), Jarrod Harris (Ga.), Andrea Henry (Norton),
Ben Konstantin (Mich.), Mark Serritella (Los Angeles), Drew Thomas
(Ga.), Dave Waite (Ky.). Hosted by Bobby Seibel. Special appearance by Jack Kerny

 

Preliminary #8

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 9 pm

Sarah
Blodgett (Chestnut Hill), Tony Boswell (SC), Douglas Chagnon
(Dorchester), John Garrison (Dorchester), Bob Gautreau (Wakefield),
Rich Gustus (Needham),Graig Murphy (Weymouth), Dwight Slade (Calif.),
Mike Stanley (Chicago), Joe Wong (Arlington), Marc Yaffe (Calif.),
Jimmy Gunn (Calif.). Hosted by Carolyn Plummer. Special appearance by Shane Mauss.

 

Semi-finals

 

Four comics from each preliminary advance to a semi-final round, and each semi-final has a special guest.

 

Thursday, Sept. 18, 7 pmspecial appearance by Esther Ku

Thursday, Sept. 18, 9 pmspecial appearance by Tony V.

Friday, Sept. 19, 7 pmspecial appearance by Steve Sweeney

Friday, Sept. 19, 9 pmspecial appearance by Shane Mauss

 

Boston Comedy Contest Finals (plus Lifetime Achievement Awards Presentation)

Saturday Sept. 20, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $45 – $65 available at http://www.maj.org or (617) 824-8000