DSI Comedy Theater names 'Carolina's Funniest'
A flashing television screen commanded its viewers to “BUY BEER.”
But the audience for the final round of the Carolina’s Funniest Comic competition didn’t need to be drunk to laugh at DSI Comedy Theater on Saturday night.
The competition’s four finalists covered topics from cat anuses to racism. The theater’s patrons roared with laughter at nearly every punch line, even ones that were unintended.
Tom Keller, a DSI performer and winner of last year’s competition, hosted the event.
“This competition is a celebration of everyone’s hard work,” Keller said.
Of his participation in 2010, Keller said that though it was fun, it could also be stressful.
“Art isn’t competitive by nature,” he said. “You want everyone in a show to do well. All of these performers are like a small family.”
Keller opened the show with an anecdote from his college years about a girl who flirted with him by sexualizing his graphing calculator.
The show then launched into acts from its four competing comics.
A comic from Chapel Hill, Schwartz was shy and self-deprecating, but sporadically biting in some of his jokes.
He covered topics such as his Jewish background, his own social awkwardness and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Though quietly charming, Schwartz occasionally surprised the crowd with some darker humor.
“If I ever have a kid, it’s going to be gifted. And by that, I mean I’m going to leave it on someone’s doorstep.”
Raleigh’s Clarke was sassy with a take-no-prisoners attitude, occasionally stopping her routine to flirt with a couple of “gray foxes” in the front row.
Her routine focused on her perceptions of race as a black woman and white people’s perceptions of her name.
Clarke commented on the recent invasion of British and Australian figures in American popular culture, such as Hugh Jackman and Piers Morgan.
“You’re replacing white people with even whiter people.”
Smith, a wiry comedian from Raleigh, charmed the audience member with his shy smile and his half-joking offers to buy them drinks.
During his act, he joked about his marriage, his baldness and his conclusion that Duke students have an inflated sense of self-worth.
In a specific example, he made fun of his right-handed friend’s decision to declare herself “slightly ambidextrous” because she could pour coffee with her left hand.
“I wanna be special. You know, it’s pretty humid outside, but that’s cool, because I’m slightly amphibious.”
Schnurr, from Chapel Hill, took the stage armed with a sharp blazer and soft-spoken confidence.
Though he was slightly older than his three competitors, Schnurr’s age did not hinder his ability to captivate the audience members — they voted him the competition’s winner.
Among many amusingly understated anecdotes, one of his funniest was his explanation of how it took him 13 years to earn an undergraduate degree in theater arts.
He also delighted the crowd with a number of witty quips.
“Do you guys like Animal Planet? Yeah, I don’t really care for it — too much nudity.”
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