The seventh annual Sacramento Stand-Up Competition was held July 25-27, 2019, at Sacramento Comedy Spot. The competition features 24 of the best comedians in the United States, and beyond, competing for a $1,000 grand prize, $500 second-place prize, and $250 third-place prize.
Sacramento Comedy Spot
1050 20th Street, Sacramento 95811 – MAP
THURSDAY • JULY 25
Competition Tailgate Show
8pm | $12
FRIDAY • JULY 26
Preliminary Round #1
8pm | $15
Preliminary Round #2
9pm | $15
Preliminary Round #3 and
10pm | $15
SATURDAY • JULY 27
7pm | $20
9pm | $20
THURSDAY • JULY 25
Competition Tailgate Show
8pm | $12
Join us for a stand-up showcase to get you geared up for Sacramento Stand-Up Competition weekend! Featuring: Melissa McGillicuddy (host), Krista Fatka (2017 Sac Stand-Up Competition Winner), Alfonso Portela, and headliner Stuart Thompson.
FRIDAY • JULY 26
Preliminary Round #1
8pm | $15
Comedians perform five minutes of material. The six comedians with the best scores from any of the preliminary rounds move on to the finals on Saturday, July 27, at 9pm. Hosted by Imin Love. Featuring: Emma Haney, Jeremy Hsu, Jonathan Gregory, Luke Soin, Marcus Peverill, Sandra Risser, Wendy Lewis, Brooke Heinichen
Preliminary Round #2
9pm | $15
Comedians perform five minutes of material. The six comedians with the best scores from any of the preliminary rounds move on to the finals on Saturday, July 27, at 9pm. Hosted by Cory Barringer. Featuring: A.J. DeMello, Amy Estes, Andre Morton, Dauood Naimyar, Ian Levy, Maryam Moosavi, Mikhail Chernyavsky, Stephen Furey
Preliminary Round #3 & Finalists Announcement
10pm | $15
Comedians perform five minutes of material. The six comedians with the best scores from any of the preliminary rounds move on to the finals on Saturday, July 27, at 9pm. Hosted by Jaclyn Weiand. Featuring: Drew Absher, Jessica Wellington, Levi Manis, Natasha Vinik, Rhoda Ramone, Robert Omoto, Xavier Bettencourt
SATURDAY • JULY 27
7pm | $20
This showcase features comedians from Friday night who didn’t make the finals, and Sacramento favorites. Hosted by Benton Harshaw, with Johnny Taylo, 2016 Sac Stand-Up Competition winner Kiry Shabazz, Skip Bacon, Ian Levy, Marcus Peverill, and Jessica Wellington.
9pm | $20
The finals round features the six comedians from the preliminary shows with the highest scores. The grand prize winner receives $1000; $500 for second place, $250 for third place. Hosted by Melissa McGillicuddy with headliner Saul Trujillo, 2018 Sac Stand-Up Competition winner. Finalists: Jonathan Gregory, Maryam Moosavi, Wendy Lewis, Stephen Furey, Drew Absher, Dauood Naimyar, Rhoda Ramone
Drew Absher is a stand-up comedian from Sacramento that has performed on stages all over California. His ability to blend unique observational humor with outrageous stories about his life have quickly made him a local favorite. He’s the cohost of the weekly podcast Phil My Heart, producer of the Late Night show “Tonight! Right Now!”, and has appeared on the Sacramento Emerging Artists Showcase and Best Of Sac Showcase at Sacramento Comedy Festival. Drew is a rising comedian you don’t want to miss!
Mikhail Chernyavsky is a Russian Jewish stand-up comedian, writer, and actor based in California. Born in the Soviet Union, the imported nerd is best known for appearing in a Star Wars Pepsi ad during Super Bowl XXXI–mostly because he won’t stop talking about it. Through his unique immigrant perspective, Mikhail riffs on family life, gender and self-identity through comedic stories and personal experiences.
A.J. DeMello is a comedian out of California’s Central Valley, who knows how to pack a punch. With a delivery ranging from caveman to out right joker, A.J.’s sharp, no-nonsense material and nonchalant pacing leave audiences laughing and hurting.
Amy Estes started doing comedy around the kitchen table with her very funny family, but didn’t take to the stage doing comedy until 2017. Based in Northern California, Amy has performed at clubs like Sacramento’s Laugh’s Unlimited, the Punch Line San Francisco and Sacramento, and the World Famous Comedy Store, as well as many clubs and events all over Northern California and the 2018 Women In Comedy Festival in Boston, MA, as well as the Portland Queer Comedy Festival, and SF Sketchfest 2019. She has opened for incredible comedians such as Julie Goldman, Rhea Butcher, James Adomian, and Gina Yashere.
Amy’s takes on life reference her experiences as a middle school teacher, a member of the LGBTQI+ community, and being a 30-something woman. Her comedy has been described as “uniquely hateful, yet somehow optimistic” and her view of the world coupled with her quick wit and sarcasm make her relatable and vulnerable comedy fun to watch.
Steve Furey is an L.A. based comedian who is a paid regular at The World Famous Comedy Store. Originally from Sacramento, he is now one of the hosts of the T.V. show Dating #NoFiltered on E!.
Jonathan Gregory’s unique one of a kind “creepy” comedy has audiences howling wherever he goes . A cross between Steven Wright and Sam Kinison, Jonathan has over 8 million hits on YouTube; and has been seen on the Comedy Time Network, Last Comic Standing, and the CW’s Jokesters TV. Gregory spent over a year on a weekly morning radio program called “Think Tank Tuesday” which was part of the Morning Infidelity on KWSS 106.7FM. He also made multiple appearances on the “Wild Jokers” radio show which aired nationally on 24/7 Comedy Radio.
Since 2010, Emma Haney has been delighting audiences with her dry, absurdist wit at indie music clubs, theaters and colleges up and down the West Coast. She has been featured in the Las Vegas women’s World Series of comedy, was apart of SF Sketchfest 2019 and most recently has won a beauty contest in monopoly, for the second time. Humble brag.
Since 2010, Emma Haney has been delighting audiences with her dry, absurdist wit at indie music clubs, theaters and colleges up and down the West Coast. She has been featured in the Las Vegas women’s World Series of comedy, was apart of SF Sketchfest 2019 and most recently has won a beauty contest in Monopoly, for the second time. Humble brag.
Jeremy Hsu was born – and later, raised. Even though his parents wanted him to be a Certified Public Accountant, Jeremy always knew that he was destined to do at least one of these two things: become a TV writer and disappoint his parents.
Ian Levy is either going to become an incredibly successful comedian or a total disappointment to his family. So he’s in a real win win situation. If Ian wins this competition he will seriously consider donating his winnings to sick orphans; so if you’re a judge…keep that in mind.
Wendy M. Lewis is a makeup artist turned comedian. She is a regular pop culture commentator on TMZLive and has even performed in Burlesque shows. She has opened up for TK Kirkland and Darren Carter. She brings to any show funny stories, high energy, and hilarious one liners. Wendy has the ability to pull faces and throw voices something anyone can enjoy. You will feel like you are laughing with your best friend while shes entertaining you.
Levi is a deadpan one-liner comedian who wears his heart on his sleeve. He wins audiences over with absurd setups and hard punchlines with a heavy metal demeanor. Levi has performed across the country, including the Devil’s Cup festival in NYC and Mutiny Radio festival in San Francisco. He frequents clubs and shows throughout the Northwest, including Laughs Comedy Club. Levi has also been featured on several videos for Cut.com that have been viewed by millions, infecting people with his contagious laughter.
Maryam Moosavi was raised in Tracy, CA in a Muslim-American household. Her very traditional father is probably really excited that she is pursuing comedy. She’s been on the Kava Kickback and Imported Comedy Show twice and performs at the Sacramento Comedy Spot every week.
Andre Morton has won the Comedy Machine competition at Comedy Oakland. He has been nominated for multiple Modesto Area Music Awards for Comedy and was the winner of the NotManee Comedy Competition. He co-hosts the podcast Black Enough with fellow 209er Taylor Evans and co-hosts The Walt Vault podcast about Disney movies. Along with some of the 209’s finest comedians, Andre is a member or the Deaf Puppies comedy group and performs all over California. In short, Andre has the creds & the chops & is quickly earning the title of: freshest, funniest, smartest comic in the entire Central Valley.
Born with a foreign name in an American country (America), Dauood Mohammad Naimyar learned the value of assimilating at a very young age. Because of this, he tried his best to not be different but failed at every encounter. Once he embraced his eccentric point of view, he saw the humor all around him. Dauood’s comedic perspective is shaped by the duality of his constant need to fit in, and his relentless desire to be different. His search for being relatable yet controversial has brought audiences joy for six years–and will probably continue until he finally figures out who he is. We hope he doesn’t, ’cause bills need to be paid.
Robert “Bobby” Omoto has a flair for bringing the seemingly random tangents that make up his inner thought into a well oiled, if not a tad off kilter, comedy machine.
He has performed for the U.S. Navy on San Nicholas Island and has opened for Sarah Tiana, Will Durst, Joey Medina, and Mike Epps. He is also the host/producer of the popular podcast “Random Thoughts” recently featured in Sacramento Magazine.
Marcus Peverill comes out of Modesto, California, and is a young up & coming stand up comic making an absolutely huge 7 and a half size footprint in Northern California. His boy like charm but dark witty misdirections will have you confused on whether you want to take him home with you or get a restraining order.
Self-proclaimed socially awkward nerd, Rhoda Ramone hails from Lodi, California. Her bookworm appearance often contradicts her keen wit and sarcastic social commentary that is full of self- deprecation. Her stand up makes light of a difficult upbringing, her life as a working mother and the myriad of her daily annoyances. She has performed all over the Central Valley including the basement of a church for Senior Citizens.
Sandra Risser is smart, funny and older than Twinkies! She’s been doing stand-up comedy for 16 years. She’s currently in the rotation to feature at the SF and Sacramento Punch Lines and Cobb’s Comedy Club. She’s performed one woman comedy shows in the Edinburgh Free Fringe Festival and Brighton 5 pound Fringe Festival. She took second place in the 2019 US Comedy Contest Headline Division and received the only standing ovation. She’s featured for are Chris Kattan, Mike Winfield and Larry “Bubbles” Brown. Sandra believes in the tooth fairy, Santa Clause and clean underwear.
Luke Soin is a hilarious comedian, he has a YouTube channel called Epic Tiki, his favorite color is blue but also green–but wait, no actually it’s purple. His favorite color is purple. He likes to talk about dating, nerd stuff, and his girlfriend. He is friendly but forgettable. Please remember his face.
Natasha Vinik is the first to do stand-up in virtual reality, and with a mother from Peru and a Jewish, South African father – her unique perspective and experience makes her comedy wacky, irreverent, fun, frightening, and falafel. Minus the falafel. She’s allergic.
HOSTS & FEATURED PERFORMERS
Cory Barringer is a comedian from Sacramento, California. His comedy focuses on sincere life stuff, absurd characters, and jokes about things that he saw. As producer and host of several shows centered around live interviews, he has developed a reputation as a skilled conversationalist. The guy likes to chat, folks.
He has performed at the Savage Henry Comedy Festival, the Sacramento Comedy Festival, and the Sacramento Stand-Up Competition.
Krista Fatka is an Oakland-based comic and writer. With over a decade of performance experience in circus and theater, she’s as comfortable on stage as she is in a room full of clowns. Which is to say, pretty comfy. She produces a regular show at The San Francisco Punch Line called The Charm Offensive. She has performed at festivals in the Bay Area like SF Sketchfest, Outside Lands, and was a semi-finalist in the 2017 San Francisco International Comedy Competition. She won first place in The Sacramento Comedy Competition 2017.
Benton Harshaw’s greatest standup credit is being part of Hasan Minaj’s Netflix special, where you can see the back of his head in the audience. Benton performs around the Sacramento area discussing his age, parents, and community college experience. He placed 2nd in the Sacramento Comedy Competition and has performed in many venues around California such as the Crocker Art Museum. He has also been described as “needing better posture onstage” by his mother.
Imin Love is a Sacramento based comedian who has traveled the country and brings a fresh take on everyday situations through a post-modern Afrocentric lens. He also talks about farts.
Melissa McGillicuddy is a stand-up comedian based in Sacramento, California. As a newcomer to the scene in 2015, she won the Wildcard Competition at the Sacramento Comedy Festival. Being an only (and super gay) child raised by a single mom in a conservative town, Melissa found she didn’t always fit in, so she used humor as a way to try and connect with people. Her dry wit and unique perspective on life make her a hit with audiences everywhere.
Kiry Shabazz is a stand-up from Cleveland, now based in LA. Kiry started comedy in Northern California and quickly became a regular at the Punchline, Rooster T Feathers, and Cobb’s. He’s won first place at the Rooster T Feathers Comedy Competition, has been a World Series of Comedy Satellite Competition winner, and was selected for the Laughing Skull Festival. Kiry was recently named the winner of the 2017 Stand-Up NBC Competition. When he’s not performing at clubs and colleges across the country, he can be seen performing all over the city.
Stuart Thompson’s easygoing stage presence is a clever ruse. You’re expecting standard fare, but, instead, the versatile comedian has a wide array of voices, impressions, and original material in his repertoire. Stuart’s vibe is classic, but his opinions, outfit choices, and premises are modern. He might look like a late-night legend, but he delivers a wholly original point of view, earning dependable laughs with his ever-present charm. It’s no surprise then, that Stuart has carved out a successful comedy niche for himself in Los Angeles’ notoriously competitive scene. He co-hosts a monthly late night talk show at the famous Hollywood Improv Lab, The L8 Night Show with Stuart and Luke. He also regularly performs at The Improv and The Comedy Store, and was a finalist in the San Francisco International Comedy Competition. Stuart’s won acclaim elsewhere, as well, and regularly opens for touring comedians like Dana Gould, Bobby Lee, and Steve Rannazzisi. He’s also used his acting chops on Robert Rodriguez’s Matador (El Rey Network). In addition to creating his own material, Stuart has written for National Lampoon and the CBS Diversity Showcase. For more on Stuart, check out The L8 Night Podcast.
Saul Trujillo is a child-like man ready to light up any room with his awkward energy. Growing up in the city of Stockton wasn’t easy, but it gave him the thick skin needed for any situation on and off the stage. Saul uses his obscure observations on his own life that will keep you scratching your head and laughing at the same time.
The Sacramento Comedy Festival’s “Best New Comic” of 2013, Jaclyn Weiand’s act can best be described as personal and opinionated, edgy and overshare-y. Her bawdy charm and mastery of comedic timing have earned her work at the Sacramento Comedy Spot and the Punch Line comedy clubs, as well as bars and casinos all around Northern California. She’s graced the stage at the Sacramento Comedy Festival, First Fest, and the Savage Henry Comedy Festival.
APPLICATION & RULES
Application, Fees, and Selection
The Sacramento Stand-Up Competition is for experienced comedians and is not an appropriate forum for beginners.
When open, applicants will submit a brief video of a previous performance for consideration. The application fee is $20, non-refundable. Applications and videos are screened by a selection committee comprised of the executive director, veteran comedians, and industry professionals. Participants will be notified at least six weeks prior to the competition.
Comedy Spot employees, instructors, volunteers, producers and/or hosts of regular Comedy Spot shows, and previous competition winners are not eligible for entry.
Submissions for the 2019 Sacramento Stand-Up Competition are closed.
Fill out the form at the bottom of this page to be notified when applications for the 2020 Sacramento Stand-Up Competition are open.
The Sacramento Stand-Up Competition takes place over one weekend each summer. The preliminary round is on Friday night and is split into three shows, featuring eight comedians in each show and a local host. Each comedian performs five minutes of material in the preliminary round. The five comedians with the highest-judged scores will be announced as finalists at the completion of the third preliminary round show on Friday night.
The finals are on Saturday night, featuring the five comedians from the preliminary rounds with the highest scores, a local host, and a headliner that is one of the previous Sacramento Stand-Up Competition grand prize winners. The competition grand prize winner receives $1000; second place received $500; third place receive $250. Each comedian performs ten minutes of material in the finals.
Comedians will be given “the light” with one minute left in their set. Comedians will get another light at the end of their allotted time. At 30 seconds after their allotted time, the stage tech will start to play music faintly in the background. At one minute over their allotted time, the stage tech will blackout the lights, bring the music to full, and the host will come back to the stage.
Judges and Scoring
A panel of four diverse judges, comprised of past finalists, competition winners, veteran comedians and/or industry professionals, determines who moves onto to the finals and who wins the competition. Comedians are scored on a scale from 1-10 in three categories: stage presence, originality, and audience reaction. The scores from all three categories are added together for a total score from each judge. All judges scores are added together and averaged to find a comedian’s final score. We do everything we can to make this a fun and fair competition, and are always open to feedback. All of our judges are professional and fair, and picked because they represent not only a wide range of comedy tastes, but also represent diverse cross-section of people. This is not a teaching event, so we do not give individual feedback to participants, and we do not share final scores. Scores and tabulations are double-checked and audited to ensure accuracy and the integrity of this competition.
The Sacramento Stand-Up Competition is produced by comedians who understand the expenses and sacrifice involved with participating in festivals and competitions. Our goal is to make this a fun, affordable, and unique experience for all participants and to keep your out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum. To that end, we host the competition in one location, over one weekend, to keep your travel expenses to a minimum. All participants will perform five minutes in the preliminary round, but we also book you in other shows at the Comedy Spot over the weekend, or at other venues in Sacramento.
Travel, Transportation, and Lodging
Participants are responsible for their travel expenses.
We will provide FREE transportation to and from the airport. This website has some handy links to help you get into, and around, Midtown. – easeintomidtown.com
We will help you find another comedian or adopted family to stay with for free while comedians are in town, if needed.
For more information and links about Midtown, click HERE.
Stipend and Benefits
All participants are given a $100 cash stipend when they check in. Participants will also be provided with drink tickets and food in the green room on Friday and Saturday.
2019 • Stephen Furey
$1000 Grand Prize – Stephen Furey
$500 Second Place – Dauood Naimyar
$250 Third Place – Drew Absher
2018 • Saul Trujillo
$1000 Grand Prize – Saul Trujillo
$500 Second Place – Benton Harshaw
$250 Third Place – Melissa McGillicuddy
$100 Winners – Pauline Yasuda, Sean Hamrin, Richard Stockton
$25 Winners – Sandra Risser, Parker Newman
2017 • Krista Fatka
$1000 Grand Prize – Krista Fatka
$500 Second Place – Chazz Hawkins
$250 Third Place – Emily Catalano
$100 Winners – Melissa McGillicuddy, Michael Cella, Becky Lynn
$50 Winners – Jason Bargert, Robert Omoto
2016 • Kiry Shabazz
$1000 Grand Prize – Kiry Shabazz
$500 Second Place – Chad Optiz
$250 Third Place – Alycia Cooper
$100 Winners – Krista Fatka, Jamie Pierce, Joey Avery, Jen Jiro
2015 • Daniel Eachus
$1000 Grand Prize – Daniel Eachus
$500 Second Place – Stephen Furey
$250 Third Place – Brent Pella
$250 Fourth Place – Dejan Tyler
2014 • Michael Patten
$1000 Grand Prize – Michael Patten
$750 Second Place – Stephen Furey
$500 Third Place – Steve Ausburne
$250 Fourth Place – Michael Montgomery
2013 • Trenton Davis
$1000 Grand Prize – Trenton Davis
$500 Second Place – Ivan Hernandez
$250 Third Place – John Ross
$100 Fourth Place – Christen Manville
ABOUT THE COMPETITION
The seventh annual Sacramento Stand-Up Competition will be held July 25-27, 2019 at Sacramento Comedy Spot. This event features comedians from all over the country competing for a $1,000 grand prize, $500 second-place prize, and $250 third-place prize. The Sacramento Stand-Up Competition is one of the most exclusive competitions in the United States—only 24 of the best comedians are invited. We try to give all participants the most enjoyable experience possible. It is not only a competition, but an opportunity for comedians to network with each other, to meet industry professionals, and to perform in one of the best comedy cities in the United States.
The Sacramento Stand-Up Competition was founded in 2013 by Brian Crall as part of the Sacramento Comedy Festival. In 2016, the competition split from the festival and became its own annual event with a focus on giving both participants and attendees a fun and unique comedy experience. The competition has featured hundreds of comedians from across the country and beyond, from New York to Sacramento, and from across the sea.
Fill out the form below to be notified when applications for the 2020 Sacramento Stand-Up Competition are open.