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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Top 10 Comedians Face Off in the SFCC-37 Semi-Finals

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM


A riveting two preliminary weeks has concluded and the top 10 comedians of SFCC 37 are set to kick off the semi-finals tonight in Redwood City. Chicago's Tony Baker dominated Week two, ranking first overall, followed by Kortney Shane Williams, Mike Merryfield, Dom Pare, and Tanyalee Davis.

S.F.'s own Justin Lucas is also in the running, the only local still competing for laughs/cash. 

The round came with a few technical bumps, false hope given a few times when scores were announced incorrectly and the top five places had to be revised. But the acts were fantastic both weeks, proving this to be one of the toughest line-ups in recent SFCC history.

Though 22 comics have been sent home, the experience has been valuable for everyone involved, even if it was at times exhausting or stressful. With such strong competitors, a good set could be just as nerve-wracking as a bad one, because it offers a glimmer of hope -- just enough to add weight to the disappointment if they didn't move on.

Though at times surprising, the ranking overall was fair, a quality not always seen in competitions. The only aspect worth questioning is the "encore point" -- an additional point that comics could nab if the audience liked them so much that they applauded for at least ten seconds after the set. The bonus seemed largely dependent on the actions of the host, rock and roll comedian Huck Flyn, who had the power to prompt the audience to continue their applause or not. Of course, the scale wouldn't likely be tipped by this measly point, and the gesture to involve the audience in "judging" was a nice way to thank them for enduring the two-and-a-half-hour show each night.

Even those comedians who have already gone home will surely take away positive memories from the preliminary weeks. The support and bonding among talented comedians at all levels of their careers was invaluable. The opportunity to be among like-minded people all working toward the same goal was reassuring. The chance to exchange contacts and referrals may even prove more lucrative than the grand prize.

The odds are better now for anyone moving on to the semi-finals. Where they were competing for five of 16 spots in the first found, they now have a 50-50 chance of continuing into the finals. Might that reduce some of the stress this week?

Probably not.

This Week's Shows

Justin Lucas is the only remaining representative of San Francisco. He'll face off in the semi-finals this week with:

  • Photo courtesy of San Francisco Comedy Competition
  • SFCC Semi-finalists

"Part of the idea of having our annual competition emanating from San Francisco [is] to use it to help establish new comedy beachheads in remote areas," states a message from competition organizers on its Facebook page. The comics hit the road this week, trekking as far as Medford, Oregon, to perform for new crowds.

Join them if you're in the area!

Wednesday, September 26 at 8:30 p.m.
Angelica's Bell Theatre, Redwood City, CA

Thursday, September 27 at 7 p.m.
Chit Chat Cafe, Pacifica, CA

Friday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Craterian Theatre, Medford, OR

Saturday, September 29 at 8 p.m.
Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, CA

Full schedule and ticket information are available 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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Dana Sitar


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