It took ten shows over two weeks, but we are through the preliminary round of the Philly's Phunniest Contest at the Helium Comedy Club. Somewhere around 150 comedians took the stage, ranging from folks trying stand-up for the first time to seasoned veterans. We'd be lying if we said that every comic was funny- some got more groans than laughs, or nothing at all- but a lot of local talent has been displayed in the contest so far.
Tonight was a good example of that talent with a lineup packed of good comics that could've gone deep into the competition, But alas, with four cancellations, only two would be going on to the next round.
Chip Chantry started the show off with a bang with a finely tuned set that kept the crowd going. But is it enough for him to move on? The audience is the decider as they have been for all the shows, and it has been difficult for early performers to move on.
A few comics later, Derek Gaines put together an electrifying set that had the crowd going throughout. That's going to be hard to beat.
Doogie Horner followed and kept the crowd on its toes with off-kilter subjects that like lost keys, pigs, soul singers, optimists and other things. If you told you any more, we'd be giving away the jokes.
The crowd really liked Chris Schotterer as he talked about living with his German immigrant father into his 20s, Sam's Club, and Ikea. Another solid set, this night is really tough.
Steve Obadashian is pianist that performs a few nights a week at the piano bar Cascamorto. After a quick keyboard setup, he became the first performer in the contest to do songs.
John Kensil closed it all out with rapid-fire jokes that the crowd loved. Man, only two comics will move on from this night?
After the dust cleared and all of the audience's votes were in, Chip Chantry and Derek Gaines will be advancing on to the next round.
The competition only gets fiercer now over the two semi-finals shows tonight. Below are the lineups (NOTE: this is not the correct order):
Check back tomorrow as we'll have results from the semi-finals shows.