Last Saturday, Helium's Philly's Phunniest Contest finally came to a close. Over the past two weeks, over 150 comics took the stage with their best material and hopes of making the crowd laugh enough to go on to the next round. With each show the talent was filtered down so when the finalists took the stage on Saturday night, it was an outright killer show.
The finals were judged by a celebrity panel of:
Vinnie Brand, stand-up comedian and owner of the Stress Factory Comedy Club in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Dan Gross, gossip columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.
Steve Morrison, one half of the local morning radio show Preston and Steve on 93.3 WMMR.
Christina Lee, Comedy Central's executive for talent and programming development.
Rich Miller of RCM Entertainment.
Stu Bykofsky,columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News since 1987.
In the end, the 2008 Philly's Phunniest Person is Kent Haines. While Kent was not a favorite to win the competition, his performance in each round stood out with great reactions for the audience each time. And, in our opinion, his semi-finals and finals sets were the best that we've ever seen him.
Besides being a stand-up, you may have seen Kent in the THAT GUY web video series for Sony or at his live talk show at the Shubin Theatre, "Why Am I Not Famous?!?". Through the craziness afterwards, we managed to catch up with Kent to ask him a few questions:
Overall, it was a great two weeks for the Philadelphia stand-up scene and there were many comics that stepped up their game. There's no doubt that Philadelphia is a stronger comedy city for it.
And to all the comics out there: time to start writing new material. Next year's contest is only about 12 months away.