Author: Sean L. McCarthy

The world is your food court — Night 5

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...

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The night the worm turned — Night 4

This is a good opportunity to explain how life on the road for a stand-up comedian is not always all it’s cracked up to be — if you pardon the cliche. Club Broadway is a big old four-story building in downtown Everett. The venue offers multiple shows every weekend. That’s convenient for folks. But not for entertainers. We were set up on the third floor. While we tried to do our thing, actors were performing a murder-mystery next door. That wasn’t as much of a distraction, however, as the KISS tribute band that played downstairs. The guitars and drums were loud enough at times to drown out the jokes and laughter in our room. Needless to say, it was a bit unnerving to many. There were other problems, too. The stage had a railing that either made the comics look like they were caged animals or like actors on the bridge of the Titanic. The microphone had a shorting problem that muted several punchlines and launched Jan Barrett into a profanity-laced tirade (are there other kinds of tirades) DURING her act. This answers one of last night’s nagging questions. Barrett completed her set, stormed off stage and yelled her way out of the building — causing half of the audience to turn their attention away from the next comic’s act. Any yet Barrett still finished second tonight. Which leads...

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Home is where the joke is — Night 3

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,...

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2Night — Night 2

Let me introduce a couple of my friends. Joe Vespaziani. A man among men. Who else among us in the competition can say they’ve had a bum kidney, endured the pain of a catheter, and then written a hilarious bit about it? Who, I ask you? Who? Joe lives in Lynnwood. But don’t hold that against him. Few people taking the stage today can write a joke as well as Joe can. And so far this week, Joe is enjoying the proverbial fruits of his labor. He has finished in the top two each of the first two nights, including his win on Wednesday. "I’ve never had that happen before," Joe said before tonight’s show. He said he has always worried about what jokes to tell in the competition. And though he has placed in the top five a couple of nights in past years, he hasn’t gotten his due. So this year he decided to throw out his typical set and give audiences what amounts to a greatest-hits package. It also helps, I should note, that he has gotten to follow me onstage both times. Actually, I owe Joe a lot in terms of my own comedic growth. For it was Joe who allowed Dancing Boy to see his day (or night) in the spotlight. At the other end of the competition’s spectrum is Scott Meyer. Meyer —...

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Notes from Underground – Day 1

I’m sick. I’m tired. So officially, I’m sick and tired. I stayed up most of the night Tuesday balancing my day job (yes, some of us comedians — that would be the bad ones — still have one of those), watching election returns and desperately trying to figure out if I have any jokes. And I mean any. Some people laugh at me all the time, it seems. But I don’t tell jokes. Not the kind you tell around the water cooler at work the next morning kind of jokes, or even the ones you tell at the bar or in a comedy club (by far the best place to tell jokes). I’m more of a walking specimen of uninhibited madness, unleashed nightly to shock and amaze unsuspecting audiences. And I’m about to do battle for six straight nights with 17 people who write and tell jokes FOR A LIVING! I’m competing in the annual Seattle International Comedy Competition. Thank goodness for Jesse "The Body" Ventura. That’s Minnesota Governor-elect Ventura to you. His electoral win Tuesday taught me that the key to success in life is having a good nickname. After tonight’s performance, I could use a good nickname — or anything else — right about now. I finished 14th. An optimist would say that makes me funnier than four of the comedians in my group PLUS all of...

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