Emerging comic Dusty Cagle is doing his level best to live out the Eric Clapton lyric “it’s in the way that you use it.”

Cagle, 28, lives in Denton in Davidson County but can be found more nights than not on McGee Street in Greensboro heading to the Idiot Box Comedy Club that sits across Elm Street from Natty Greene’s. Cagle took a stand up class at the club a little more than a year ago and credits that learning experience with helping him pursue his comedy dream.

Cagle is one of five comics left in the Ultimate Comic Challenge finals to be held at 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 at the Carolina Theatre in Downtown Greensboro. It’s the second time for Cagle in the UCC, but last year he didn’t make it past the first round. This year he will be competing against Zo Myers, Melissa Douty, Jay Stadler and Troy Dougie for the $1,000 prize.

Being a comic is “something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little boy,” Cagle said, but it wasn’t until he found himself single again about two years ago that he decided to pursue the idea. After scouring the web he decided to take the stage at an open mic night at the Idiot Box.

“Considering I had nothing to go off of, I thought it went pretty well,” Cagle said of that first night, but he quickly learned how steep the learning curve would be. He began a daily writing habit and would spend hours at home practicing bits. His first steps of progress were acknowledged when a fellow comic complimented him after a bit one night at the club.

“It made me feel like I was on the right track,” Cagle said. “There’s no better compliment than for it to come from someone who does it for themselves. It took a while to get there.”

He credits the stand up class with helping him mature. All those open mic nights didn’t hurt, either.

Cagle said he’s been pleasantly surprised with his advancement to the UCC finals this year.

“I have more of my persona down pat,” he said. “I feel more myself onstage than I did last year.” !