Matt Crowley/The AS Review
The funniest and wittiest stage acts that Western Washington University has to offer will be on display for the third annual Last Comic Standing, an opportunity for local comedians to not only strut their stuff, but compete for a chance to open for New York City’s own Upright Citizens Brigade.
The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30 in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room. Tickets are $2 for Western students with I.D. and $3 without.
ASP Special Events Coordinator Maddy Vonhoff said the decision to bring the competition back was an easy one, considering the success of the last two editions. Last year’s competition drew close to 300 people, and should have no problem filling the MPR this year.
“I do think there’s an audience for it,” said Vonhoff, who is hoping to get close to 12 comedians to compete this year, close to the number of those who have participated in years past.
Contestants will be judged by a three-person panel, as well as a “fourth judge,” being the audience. The “last comic standing” will then be awarded the chance to open for Upright Citizens Brigade only two days later, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 in the MPR. The famous sketch and improvisational comedy group is renowned for its wealth of talent, as many of its members go on to work for shows like Saturday Night Live.
Last year’s winner, senior James McGrath, sees the event as valuable for comedians on campus.
“We don’t have a huge comedy scene here,” he said. “It is growing, and I think Western really wants comedy, but we don’t really know that we want it because it hasn’t been here.”
McGrath, as well as fellow comedian and Last Comic Standing competitor Travis Nelson, hopes events like this will help the further the development of the scene in Bellingham.
“The more people that go to this, it will show that we want more stand-up comedy,” said McGrath.
Nelson, who competed last year, said it’s a good opportunity for rookie comedians to earn their stripes.
“It was a little nerve-wracking [competing last year],” he said. “But it was cool because the crowd was really pumped up and excited.”
Nelson, along with a handful of other local comedians, started the Vikings of Comedy club this fall to give comics a place to not only develop their own craft, but help with the jokes and routines of other comedians.
“We help each other out,” he said. “It’s a really good atmosphere to try out jokes.”
The group meets every Monday at 5 p.m. in Fraser 3, and is open to all students.
Besides the Upfront Theatre, located on Bay Street in downtown Bellingham, there aren’t too many places for comedians like McGrath and Nelson to practice and hone their craft. Events like “Last Comic Standing” aren’t only great opportunities to get your name out, but a chance to at least get experience in front of a large crowd.
The event is rare for students as well, who don’t get to see live comedy very often. Although Western has a strong comedic background (Western’s Dead Parrot Society was recently chosen as one of the top college improv comedy troupes in the nation.) the scene isn’t exactly out in the open for everyone to experience.
“We’re just trying to get more shows going in Bellingham,” said Nelson. “We’re going to have a great show this year. That’s what it’s all about in the end, putting on a good show.”
The Upright Citizens Brigade will be on campus at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 in the VU MPR. Tickets for that show are $5 for Western students with ID and $7 without.