Rob Pue crowned winner of the 2003 San Francisco Comedy Competition.
Youthful Rob Pue, a 25-year-old from Edmonton, has become the second Canadian in a row to take the coveted crown of the San Francisco INTERNATIONAL Stand-Up Comedy Competition. He did so by displaying the type of undeniable charisma perhaps not seen in the event since Robin Williams was a contestant.
But where Williams is the essence of hyper activity, Pue is cool and relaxed as he delivers routines on such subjects as how he would win “Survivors,” the drawbacks of picking up dates in bars and the plight of his country’s military. It wasn’t so much his material as the way Pue acted out his bits and highlighted them with excellent sound effects that won approval.
He had to be on the top of his game to beat back a strong challenge from hometown favorite Joe Klocek, a self-proclaimed “34-year-old trapped in the body of a 12-year-old Nazi.” Klocek found humor in thoughtful, topical material about American bombing practices in Iraq. He was quick enough to successfully enlighten audiences about the downfalls of political correctness, even in such liberal hotbeds as Berkeley and Santa Cruz. And when he placed first at the penultimate final round show at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, it was “Here comes Seabiscuit!”
Pue had to place first at the final performance to hold Klocek at bay.
Third place finisher Darryl Lenox, as a seasoned pro and past finalist in the Comedy Competition, came in as the man to beat and the one the other contestants measured their acts against. Too proud to bring any attention to his impaired sight, Lenox may have suffered a bit in the eyes of judges when he did not use the stage to the fullest extent. Nonetheless, his philosophical, “can’t we all just get along” attitude was inspiring and his Morgan Freeman impression a classic.
Lamont Ferguson from San Diego turned a lot of heads with his fourth place finish. He went to great pains to let audiences know he was distinguished from his fellow competitors, even entering the stage from a different direction at each venue. Ferguson made it clear he had some miles on his tires and as such looked at the world differently than his younger colleagues. His message connected with many a grouch in the audience.
Rob Little from Detroit came in fifth but contended for the title right up to the end. Unfortunately, he showed the strain during his last couple performances when it became clear he would not take the crown. A “person of size,” Little was like a human cartoon as he acted out routines about his dysfunctional family. Constantly moving and giggling, he rounded out a field that was one of the most dynamic ever.
The finalists maintained a high level of camaraderie even though they were competing against each other for $20,000 in prize money. Their professionalism speaks well for the future of their unique art form.
– Jon Fox