IMPORTANT NOTE: The talent selection process for 2016 has NOT YET BEGUN. We are NOT currently accepting applications and the following instructions are for last year’s competitions. We will update this page with information accurate to the 2016 events later this spring.
You are a comedian and you are thinking about applying to either the San Francisco Comedy Competition or the Seattle International Comedy Competition (or both). The process is simple, just three steps. However, you may want some additional clarification of what exactly we’re looking for and what exactly you need to provide for us for you to get strong consideration towards being chosen for one of this year’s events.
This page has additional information for you on various categories and, at the bottom of the page, some of the more frequently asked questions are answered.
If you are a comedian who are at least 21 years of age (or will be by the start of the competition) you are eligible to apply for this year’s competition(s).
The application period for this year’s competitions begins on May 1st, 2015. The deadline for applying for this year’s San Francisco Comedy Competition is August 15th, 2015 and the deadline for applying for this year’s Seattle International Comedy Competition is September 15th, 2015. Applications received after the deadline risk not receiving full consideration.
The application fee for this year is $15 to apply for your choice of either the San Francisco Comedy Competition or the Seattle International Comedy Competition…OR…you can pay $25 for your application to be considered for each of the two competitions. It is important to know that each competition draws from its own talent pool and has its own talent selection criteria.
When applying, you should begin by choosing the competition (or competitions) that you wish to apply for and then paying the appropriate application fee through the PayPal. Do this BEFORE filling out the rest of the application form and take note of the receipt number of your PayPal payment. Clicking the “Buy Now” button will take you to the PayPal site. Finish your transaction there then come back to complete the process.
FILL OUT FORM
When you have the receipt number for your PayPal payment (either from the on-screen confirmation or the email you get from PayPal), then come back and finish the process by filling out the application form. The information we request is simple. We need your name, your age, your location, your email address and the PayPal receipt number from your application fee payment. These are all required elements.
We also need a brief biography describing your comedy experience. We want to know a little bit about you, who you are, where you’re from, what you’ve done and what you do. How long have you been doing comedy? What are some of your comedy career highlights? Have you been invited to any comedy festivals, participated in other comedy competitions, appeared on television, etc.? Keep it short and simple–one paragraph is all we’re looking for here–we don’t need your entire life history or comedy resume.
Finally, we need a link to a URL of a video (from YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) of you performing comedy for an audience. This is the most important part of your application as this video represents you in this process. That’s what we will use to compare and contrast you with the other applicants. Send a sample of you at your best. You should be seen and heard clearly throughout the video. We recommend clips that are around ten minutes long of you performing your original sand-up comedy material for an audience. We further recommend that your clip is of a single, unedited performance–and not a “greatest hits” montage put together from various performances.
SUBMIT FORM, EXPECT REPLY
After you submit your application form, expect an email within 72 hours confirming that your application has been received and will be considered.
While invitations to participate can go out at any time during the application process, ALL applicants will be informed of the decision made on their applications on or around September 1st for the San Francisco Comedy Competition or on or around October 1st for the Seattle International Comedy Competition.
At any point, if you have questions…feel free to contact the Director of Talent, Peter Greyy, via email: email@example.com
Of course, some questions have already been asked…perhaps yours?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do you need to be at least 21 years of age?
— Some shows are held in casinos that deny entry to those under 21.
2. What are my chances of being selected?
— In most years, thirty-two comedians will compete in the San Francisco Comedy Competition and thirty-two different comedians will compete in the Seattle International Comedy Competition. Hundreds of qualified performers from around the world, are expected to apply for each event. There just aren’t enough spots in either competition for all of the qualified applicants. However, if you represent yourself well with your application and submitted video and this may be your year.
3. Can I audition in person, instead of applying with a video?
— Most performers interested in being considered for this year’s competition(s) will need to apply using PayPal and Application Form. There are a handful of audition shows for each competition, however they are limited to performers in each competition’s region and these events are invitation only.
If you are a performer in the Bay Area of California (auditions scheduled for July) or the Pacific Northwest (auditions scheduled for August) and you feel that you should be invited to perform on one of these auditions, please feel free to contact the Director of Talent, Peter Greyy, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Interested in Competition Audition for (choose: SF or Seattle)” Be aware that there may not be an opportunity for you to audition, even if you are local to that area. If there is no opportunity for you to audition, remember that all performers, local or otherwise, can apply online with a video any time before the deadline.
4. I’ve missed the deadline! Does that mean I can’t apply?
— We want to get the best possible competition roster, so we’re not going to automatically reject an application that gets to us after the deadline but before we’ve made final decisions on that competition’s roster. You still have to pay the same fee and be aware that many of the roster decisions will have been (or are about to be) made. It is a risk, certainly. I would not advise anyone to apply once the complete roster has been announced or after the competition has begun. (Remember, there’s always next year.)
5. Should I include references from other comics or bookers?
— They are not required, so don’t feel pressured to acquire them…but, if you have references from someone with credibility, you can certainly add them to your brief biography. If you do, please let them know that you’ve used them as references as we may contact them to discuss your candidacy. Know that even the best references will not absolutely guarantee selection to this year’s event nor would the lack of them prevent your selection.
6. What if my best video is either shorter or longer than the recommended ten minutes?
— We will watch the video you link us to. It is true that we recommend a video that’s around ten minutes long…but seven minutes is fine. Five minutes is fine. Now, if it is less than three minutes long, that’s not really giving us enough to go on, but we’ll watch it. Similarly, twelve minutes…fifteen minutes…whatever…it’s not too much to send in, but hopefully your first ten minutes were your best as that’s what’s most likely going to be watched.
7. What do you mean when you say that you don’t want “edited” videos? My video clip doesn’t include the part where the MC introduces me. Does that mean I can’t apply?
— We will watch the video you link us to. You don’t have to send us a complete “from intro to dismount” set. It can be, certainly. It could also be a chunk from a longer set. Whatever you choose, but we would like your video to be a continuous piece of a single set. We want to see how you perform–the material, the transitions, the response…all that stuff. A edited selection of your greatest hits takes your performance out of context–it doesn’t show you really doing what you do, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.
8. I don’t have any videos uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo or DailyMotion or any of those things. Does that mean that I can’t apply?
— You need to link us to a video in order to apply. If you don’t have a video to link to (or if you don’t have a video that you feel represents you well) you’ve got until the deadline to get one and then you can apply. It isn’t hard to upload a video to one of those services. If you don’t want to share your video with the world, you can keep it private (If you do link us to a video set to private, please remember to send us the password so we can view it). In order to apply to this competition: Choose a video that represents you and your comedy. Put it somewhere we can see it. We’ll watch the video you link us to.
9. Are these competitions really a month long?
— Both of these events share a common format. 32 comedians are chosen. 16 of those comedians participate in Preliminary Week One, do a number of shows in that week. The top five move on to the Semi-Finals Week, the other eleven are done after that week. Before the Semi-Finals Week, the other 16 comedians participate in Preliminary Week Two. Again, the top five move on to the Semi-Finals Week and the other eleven go home. Ten comedians do shows in the Semi-Finals Week. The top five move on and do the Finals Week. So, for most participants, the competition lasts a week. The only way it could last a whole month is if a person in Preliminary Week One advances to the Semi-Finals, sticks around while Preliminary Week Two does their thing, and then advances through the Semi-Finals to the Finals.
10. Should I apply to only one or both of the competitions?
— Applying to both competitions saves you some money from applying to each competition individually. If you’d be available to do either competition, you should consider applying to both of them. If you’re only available to do one or the other, obviously, you should only apply to the competition that you could actually do. We generally do NOT choose one person to do both competitions in the same calendar year. Obviously, we believe that each of these events is worth doing.
11. Should I apply?
— That is an excellent question. (Probably should be the first question in this list.) Certainly, if you are eligible, can pay the fee, have a video to submit and fill out the application form…you CAN apply. But should you? Hmmmm…
If you apply, your application will be considered to its full value. You may get selected, you may not. As we’re trying to build a roster for each competition that is compelling, competitive and diverse, we don’t know exactly what we’re looking for until we see what’s on offer. It may be that what you do is exactly what we want…or exactly what no one else can do. You’ll never know if you don’t apply.
If you’re a comedian who can entertain any audience and are ready for the challenge and the incredible opportunity that either of these events represent, then yes, you should apply.
And I look forward to seeing it!
–Director of Talent for both the San Francisco Comedy Competition and Seattle International Comedy Competition