Seattle International Stand-Up Comedy Competition

The Seattle International Comedy Competition (read: L.A. to Canada) crowns a winner tonight. The month of high-pressure funny began with two groups of 15 comics given five minutes each to impress judges at venues from Hoquiam to Bellingham. Ten made the semis, then five the finals (subsequent rounds permit longer routines). The goal, apart from the $5,000 top prize, is exposure to national comedy scouts (reps from NBC and CBS are among the judges). In other words: The Big Break. Past winners include the late Mitch Hedberg (1997); past competitors include Patton Oswalt and Aisha Tyler. I caught a first-round show at Intiman, where you could feel the pressure in the air—these guys want it. The five-minute format was just enough to sample each competitor’s comedic taste. And with 14 others on the bill, more time would’ve been overkill. There were some obvious frontrunners, like Canada’s Seth Perry and Idaho’s Todd Johnson, but I was sad to see that my favorite comic of the night, Rylee Newton, didn’t make it to the semis. In fact, there isn’t a single woman in the semis, which is disappointing. On the brighter side, this year’s competition features some very funny—and, I might add, very HOT—locals, including my Fall Arts Guide comedy instructor, Justin Rupple, and Drew Barth, who could win the whole damn thing based on his looks alone. Comedy Underground, 109 S. Washington St., 628-0303. $20 (21 and over). 8 p.m. See for complete schedule of dates, times, and venues. SUZIE RUGH

Nov. 5-30, 2008

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