Ultimate Comic Challenge Produces Comic Champion

by Carl Mize

Ultimate Comic Challenge contestants.

TheCarolina Theatre in Downtown Greensboro was the place to be for laughs Saturdaynight as it hosted the Eighth Annual Ultimate Comic Challenge. It was sponsoredby The Idiot Box, a comedy club featuring some of the best up and coming standup comedians working the circuit. The Idiot Box is located at 348 S. Elm Streetin downtown Greensboro.

Saturday’s show was the culmination of several weeks of preliminary competitionsas the original 84 contestants were whittled down to the Top 5 contenders.These Top 5 were then given the opportunity to present a 12-minute set in frontof a panel of judges for the chance at the ultimate prize title and a check for$1000.

Idiot Boxowner, Steve Lesser, opened the show with his own routine concentrating on thefrustrations of trying to achieve that “perfect” gym body when all you reallywant to do is to eat a donut. He then gave some info on the background of thecompetition and introduced the emcee for the evening, Eric Trundy, who won thecompetition a couple of years ago.

Trundy,with his native Boston accent which makes him sound a lot like one of JohnGotti’s henchman, then admonished everyone to turn off their cell phones, lesthe have to get a baseball bat and make it happen. Needless to say, not a singleringtone went off during the entire show.

Now itwas time for the competition. First up was Troy Dougie, 36, from NorthWilkesboro. Troy is a personal trainer and much of his routine centered aroundhow he loves to train his clients to the point of abuse. A large contingent ofhis victims were in attendance and they stood and cheered in agreement, so Iguess it is safe to assume he hasn’t killed anyone yet.

The second performer up was 29-year-old JayStadler. Originally from New York, he has been performing comedy for fouryears. In the “real world” Jay is a foodservice manager and in his routine he commented about the only way that he canmake women happy is by making them something to eat. He also commented on theawkwardness of seeing your boss’ junk exposed in the locker room at the gym andhow uncomfortable it is to attend business meetings with this individual onceyou know what lies underneath.

Right before intermission the audience was treatedto Zo Myers. Zo is a 37-year-old divorced father of three sons who resides inWinston Salem. He works as a LAN analyst for Wells Fargo, so comedy is a stepoutside the corporate world that he is used to. He has been performing for fouryears and until recently was the regular host at The Laughing Gas in WinstonSalem. His routine got women in the crowd excited when he confessed that he hadonce been a stripper, and then there was a collective groan of disappointmentwhen he revealed that he stripped copper wire to resell for money.

Aftereveryone had taken a few minutes to stretch and replenish their supply oflibations the show resumed with the comic styling’s of Jennie Stencil. Jenniewas not a contestant, but is in fact, married to Steve Lesser, owner of theIdiot Box. Jennie lamented on the trials and tribulations of traveling bysubway in New York and the problems that one can encounter. She also bemoanedthe indignities of aging and having kids, saying that since over the last fewyears everything had slipped that she had to be duct taped into her sexy dress.

The nextcontestant was Dusty Cagle, a 28-year-old farmer from the grand metropolis ofDenton. Dusty has been divorced for twoyears and decided at that time to “try something new.” In his set, he ponderedthe logic of a woman telling him that she had very high standards, yet sheconsented to doing the deed on a one person air mattress with — him! He seemedto feel that was very contradictory. He also celebrated the fact that he haddivorced a woman with a multitude of children that did not belong to him. Allin all he seemed quite happy with his decision. I sincerely hope his ex-wifewas not in attendance.

Ultimate Comic Challenge winner Melissa Douty

Next was44-year-old Melissa Douty. She sashayedonstage decked out in a green glittery top and referred to herself as a “GoldenGirl.” She is single, from Salem, Virginiaand has been performing since 2012. Her comedy is observational and covers awide variety of topics, all of which was leaving the audience in stitches.

Now thatthe competition was complete emcee Eric Trundy returned with a few words aboutthe sacrifices that the competitors make to pursue their dream He even toldabout himself taking part in a naked comedy show where you were literally nudein front of your audience. It’s a shame no one had the courage to ask him howmuch he had to say.

One thingthat this reporter noticed in doing pre-show interviews with all of thefinalists is that, more often than not, their interest in comedy sprang from adisappointing life event such as a separation or divorce. That truly givesrelevance to the credo that “Comedy is borne of pain.”

Finally, it was time to reveal the winners—..tiedfor fourth place were Troy Dougie and Zo Myers. Third place was taken by DustyCagle. Runner-up was claimed by Jay Stadler and that left the winner as GoldenGirl, Melissa Douty, who clutched her winner’s bouquet and waved to theaudience, bringing to a close a very entertaining and fun filled evening indowntown Greensboro.