Comic Odds

Five comedians have made the final round of the Seattle International Comedy Competition. Here's how we're handicapping them.

Dylan Mandlsohn (1:1) A consistent high-scorer in the competition's first two rounds, the tall, gawky, red-haired Torontonian has a crowd- pleasing mix of neurotic-Jew jokes and Jim Carrey–style rubber-faced contortions. Familiar material, but he knows how to sell it. Not mad at anyone, not putting anyone down in his act—and he has the cuddly Howdy Doody thing going for him, too.

Rory Scovel (1:1) The guy only gets more impressive, and he killed with the college-age crowd in Bellingham on Sunday night. From Washington, D.C., he's the rare alt comic with stage charisma that allows him to put over oddball jokes. (Ninjas playing flag football . . . why not?) At this stage in the competition, it's pretty much necessary to tell blow-job jokes, but his aren't obvious blow-job jokes. As a relative comedy newcomer, his stage skills also don't seem workshopped to death. If they ever had to cast The Owen Wilson Story, this could be the guy.

Damonde Tschritter (3:1) The wee Canadian seems to change the order of his long-form jokes almost every night. Entirely conversational in style; does no jumping jacks or stool humping to get easy laughs; has the rare gift of commanding attention merely by talking. This works to his advantage in the finals, when each comic gets a longer 20-minute set, although he hasn't yet crushed with one killer bit. Could he be hiding something in reserve?

Tyler Boeh (5:1) From Portland, Boeh has one pièce de résistance, deploys it strategically, then exits with the biggest laugh. But if he's got the human beatbox/making-funny-noises-in-the-microphone technique down, so did Michael Winslow 20 years ago. Crowds love him, judges less so. Slick, well-groomed professionalism helps him. More time writing new material, instead of rehearsing proven routines, would give him a bigger boost.

Paul Myrehaug 8:1 He looks and behaves like an alt comic, but building a routine on why women go pee together simply cannot be made fresh, even with an added technology twist. He may be the funniest guy in the barroom back in Toronto; onstage, however, he still seems to be occupying the same barstool. And without audacious jokes, you're better off with Boeh's polish.

Brian Miller

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