Good Lord. It's happening again. Comedy Central's Stand-Up Showdown began accepting votes online and via text messages (and now, with Facebook Connect!) for your favorite comedians who also happen to have Comedy Central specials. That's catch Number One.
Catch Number Two: The final rankings, to be revealed at the end of January, will be determined by whichever comedians care enough — and bug you enough — to get you to vote as many times as possible for him or her. If you don't see Zach Galifianakis or Louis CK at the top of the charts, it's because they've got better things to do than send you daily emails, Facebook messages and Twitter posts to vote for their very old specials to air one more time on Comedy Central.
Catch Number Three: Some comedians believe these rankings matter and list them as credits. Why? Because in a sick and twisted way, ranking high in this fan vote popularity contest tells Comedy Central that the comedian has a fan base worth catering to, pandering to, and then broadcasting to. Which means you really do win when you win this contest. Jeff Dunham and Kyle Cease the past two year's "winners." See the top 20 from Comedy Central's Stand-Up Showdown 2009, and 2008's Stand-Up Showdown results.
Who will win in January 2010? That's up to you to decide. And that's the rub.
To recap: Three catches, one rub, thousands of electronic messages from comedians asking you to vote for them. Tis the season!