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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week Two of the S.F. Comedy Competition

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Tanyalee Davis
  • Tanyalee Davis

As we enter Preliminary Week 2 of the 37th annual San Francisco Comedy Competition, the field has been narrowed. Producers officially announced yesterday the five comics from Week 1 who will be going on to the semi-finals that begin September 26.

See also: Comedians Face Off in Month-Long Competition to Become the Next Robin Williams

San Francisco's own Justin Lucas made the cut, along with Mo Alexander of Memphis, The Greg Wilson of Dallas, Dave Williamson of Miami, and L.A.'s Prashanth Venkataramanujam ("Venkat"), who was promoted from sixth place when Kellye Howard announced she'd been signed for a T.V. show that begins shooting next week. Competing for one of the remaining five spots in the semi-finals will be a new crop of 16 comics, including two more San Franciscans, Mike Drucker and DJ Real, along with:
Tanyalee Davis
  • Tanyalee Davis

Tony Baker
Mike Baldwin
Cameron Buchholtz
John Conroy
Stefan Davis
Tanyalee Davis
Laura Hayden
Paul Hooper
Mike Merryfield
Dom Pare
Tommy Savitt
Andrew Sleighter
Kortney Shane Williams
Jono Zalay

This week is heavy with past champs, pegged by their competitors as the ones to watch. Brooklyn's Tommy Savitt has won competitions in Boston and Seattle and was a finalist in SFCC 29. Kansas City native Mike Baldwin is fresh off a victory at last year's Seattle Comedy Competition, and he's taken the crown twice in his hometown, among others around the country.

Baldwin acknowledges, however, that this history doesn't necessarily give him or anyone else an edge. "Everybody's good!" he explains, "It's just a matter of who the judges happen to like on any particular night."

Stefan Davis, of Madison, Wisconsin, adds that the competition is unique in its fairness. "It's one of the only competitions without a submission fee," he points out, "and you are not required to bring your friends and family out in order to win."

Tommy Savitt shares a message for the ladies.

Las Vegas comic Tanyalee Davis notes one discrepancy seen across the industry, "There aren't many females in this competition. I want to be the first [sic] woman to win this whole competition."

In 36 years, a woman has taken first only once, Marsha Warfield in 1979, and only a select few have made the finals. With the remaining roster, Tanyalee Davis faces only one other female opponent, Laura Hayden of Hermosa Beach. Hayden, though, is most excited to hang with other comics. "[They] are a blast, never a dull moment."

SFCC virgin Cameron Buchholtz is eager for his first visit to the city. "I've always heard how cool a town S.F. is and how great a comedy scene is there."

Los Angelino Andrew Sleighter, on the other hand, is keeping his eye on the ball. "I'd say the most exciting part of the competition are the fabulous cash prizes." Stefan Davis, with more altruistic ambitions, adds, "I could use the $5,000 to build a church in my hometown and have a little left over to donate to the Mitt Romney campaign."

In the end, though, only one comic gets to take home that fabulous cash prize. If they play it right, everyone can go home with sweet, sweet memories of comedy in the Bay Area.

Be part of the memories at this week's shows:

Thursday, September 20 at 8 p.m.
Black Oak Casino, Tuolomne, CA

Friday, September 21 at 8 p.m.
Washington Inn, Oakland

Saturday, September 22 at 8 p.m.
Jewish Community Center, San Francisco

Sunday, September 23 at 9 p.m.
Crow's Nest, Santa Cruz

See the full schedule and ticket information at

Awkward Silence is a weekly column covering local stand-up comedy in San Francisco.

Follow Dana Sitar on Twitter at @danasitarSF Weekly's Exhibitionist blog at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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