The first of two Ladies of Laughter contest preliminary shows kicked off at Gotham Comedy Club on July 21st as professional and amateur comedians alike competed for a spot in the finals where they will have a chance to win $10,000 worth of prizes and bookings.
Hosted by 2012 Pro winner Robin Fox and comedian Doug Adler, who also served as the show’s opener, the contestants were ready to fire with their most tested, close-to-the-vest material as the professionals were allotted five minutes while the newcomers were given three-minute sets. The show offered a menagerie of well-defined personalities; and topics such as body type, race, aging and anything noticeable in a first glance monopolized the stage.
The winners from the professional category had diversified sets that were more whim-driven. Katherine Williams, Kendra Cunningham and Marla Schultz were selected to advance to the finals. Williams especially had a well-rounded set that didn’t hinge entirely on bread and butter identity bits. The only contestant who was clearly a front-runner to the finals before the judges tallied, Williams was cynical without being pitiful, lusciously vulgar without being crude. Fellow pro comic Leslie Ann Thompson, a seasoned competitor from Detroit, harnessed her supposedly cliche attributes in a strong, energetic set.
The amateurs were not without their moments as well. Shelly Colman played herself up as a gender/race/sexual orientation mystery and worked the angle considerably. Erica Spera used the phrase “child-bearing shoulders” as she described her life outside the margins of Cosmos. Mindi Hecht-Yeger violated her Hassidic past with an elbow-revealing strip tease. The six ladies will be joined by the winners of this Thursday’s preliminary show at Levity Live in West Nyack, NY.
The 2014 Ladies of Laughter contest is executive produced by Peggy Boyce and sponsored by Stage Time Magazine, Skinnygirl Cocktails and Renee’s Readers.