It opened with a differently-abled World of Warcraft avatar and ended with fat-kid pedophilia, and there was an impressive amount of homeless people in between. Needless to say, then, the Funny Final Four at Comedy Works downtown got off to an excellent start last night. And if nothing else, this first show of the bracketed competition, which pits four teams of local amateur talent against each other over six weeks (each one puts on a show over the next three Wednesdays, and then the two audience favorites face off -- winning team gets, you guessed it, a show at Comedy Works), is going to give the other three teams a tough act to follow.
Team Champion, last night's featured team, elected to set their show up as simply a series of five-minute sets; all thirteen acts got the same shot at the glory. Which not only makes for a wide variety of comedic styles, but but also means it never goes on too long if it's flopping. Really, there's nothing negative about this set-up. I can't think of a single better way to see a large sampler of local talent and get back to the car before the meter expires.
And while some comics last night fared better than others -- the droll, smart one-liners of Roger Norquist were a major stand-out -- everyone had at least one good joke in them. In order of appearance and by comic, here are their best:
Jodee Champion (host): "Yes, my last name is really Champion; it's not a stage name. It is ironic and cruel. I fail at everything. Even my World of Warcraft avatar has a gimp."
Talon Saucerman: "I like drinking because you get to learn stuff. Like just the other night I learned that pissing off an overpass does not lower your blood-alcohol level. The officer also suggested I exit the car next time."
Charles C. Pang: "I like that show Gangland on the History Channel. You guys ever seen that show? I caught this episode the other day about the Asian Boys. I was like, what is this, a tutoring company?"
Rick Desimone: "Look, I'm not a douchebag, but I do douchebaggy stuff. Like I named my pecs. This one's metaphor and this one's simile, because this one is a man-boob, whereas this one is only like a man-boob. It doesn't lactate like the other one."
Heather Snow: "I think if you're swimming with a killer whale and you get killed, that shouldn't be called a freak accident. A freak accident is like when you're taking a shower and you get hit by a train."
Dan Orley: "So I was doing a show down in Pueblo, and I decided to stop by their dirt-pit where they keep the shoeless Mexican kids -- down there, they call it the drive-in movie theater. Seriously, though, the last time I saw that many kids playing in the dirt while their parents sat in the car and got high, it was the Manson Family Ranch."
Roger Norquist: "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a homeless man? I don't know, but I saw a homeless lady on the LightRail today trying to find out."
D. Kelley: "You guys might not guess from my sculpted physique, but I have a hard time getting laid. I had this one woman tell me, 'I can't have sex because I just like you too much.' I was like, man, I better get a refund."
Chris Charpentier: "Do you guys find it annoying when people give themselves their own nicknames? What about when they refer to themselves in the third person. Well daddy does both."
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Elliot Woosley: "I got stoned and went grocery shopping -- it took me six hours. I was in the store for an hour and a half before I realized I was in Hobby Lobby. I did find some shit to make a pipe, though, so it wasn't a total waste of time."
Ben Roy: "You want to know who's going to survive the apocalypse? Homeless people -- the cockroaches of humanity. The guy who's pushing ninety pounds of shit around in a shopping cart on a 90-degree day on 140-degree pavement wearing a coat, eating a half-can of rancid cat food. You guys, I get gassy at Applebee's. I'm not going to last five days eating out of a dumpster."
Nora Lynch: "I've been diagnosed manic depressive, and they've put me on a lot of stuff for it. First they treated it with lithium, but it had so many side-effects -- I started losing hair, I gained weight. I went to my doctor and I said, you know, I'm not a psychiatrist, but I'm guessing if I'm fat and bald, I'm not going to be too fucking happy about it."
Funny Final Four continues next week Wednesday, February 8, at 8 p.m., and the competition continues into March. Tickets are $12. As for Team Champion's chances of taking this thing all the way, Champion said after the show, "I think everybody won tonight. And by everybody, I mean me."