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The Wisconsin Stand-Up Comedy Project

The WiSUC Project is a collective of Wisconsin stand-up comedians.

Origins

The Wisconsin Stand-Up Comedy Project was created by Wisconsin stand-up comic Kendra Frank March 2005. The WiSUC Project dedicates its ventures to all those who brave the stage for the benefit or destruction of the ego through the medium of stand-up comedic performance. WiSUC seeks venues, generally music venues, that are willing to participate by providing their space for showcase nights in order to make good on its mission state. The Project's mission statement is "to create Madison performance opportunities and provide experience for both novice and veteran Wisconsin stand-up comics."

Events

The WiSUC Project held their premiere showcase night in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday, May 19, 2005, which headlined twelve budding Wisconsin comics and one touring comic from Florida. The first show, a "happy hour show", welcomed a turnout of over a hundred people at a local favorite and well-known venue, the High Noon Saloon. Since that point, sixty-three of both new and experienced Wisconsin comedians have performed with the Project, which by now has put on forty showcase nights across the state, with the next show being the Funniest Comic in Madison 2006 semi-finals. Shows continue to take place at the High Noon Saloon on an ad hoc basis.

Funniest Comedian in Madsion

WiSUC took the Funniest Comic in Madison competition under its direction after the previous organizers with Madison Area Technical College chose not to pursue the contest in 2005. Continuing with MATC's tradition, WiSUC took the contest and created a competetition that received state-wide press. Whereas the previous years had simply featured a lunch-hour battle with simple audience applause choosing the winner, the 2005 Funniest Comic had both semi-finals, which were held on Tuesday, November 29 of 2005, and finals, complete with randomly-chosen audience judges and local celebrity judges on its panel. The semi-finals cut the competition from twenty-seven comics to eight comics, each given three minutes to prove their worth on stage. On Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at the finals, Nick Mortensen was crowned the winner of the 2005 competition. Mortensen had also won MATC's competition in 2004.

Samara Kalk Derby, journalist for Madison's major newspaper The Capital Times, spoke with one of the local celebrity judges for his input on the competition for the article on the Funniest Comic which was published December 21, 2005. Stephen Thompson, former The Onion A.V. Club editor and current music producer for NPR, stated at the finals that "the caliber of the talent was high, and Mortensen's routine was slick and polished." Nick Mortensen himself, having performed both at the current and the former versions of the competition, had this to say to Derby: "It wasn't a real contest. This is a real contest."

With the Funniest Comic in Madison competitions being the pinnacle fare for WiSUC, the group performs state-wide at their own showcases, at benefits for local issues such as the Stoughton Tornado Relief of 2005, and at University of Wisconsin-Madison sponsored events, such as the Arts Night Out which is put on by the college's Student Performance Committee and, most recently, Party in the Park which is a well-known annual event put on by the college's radio station, WSUM 91.7fm.

The 2006 Contest Kicked off with the Semi-Finals at what is largely considered to be the Midwest's top small rock n' roll Club, The High Noon Saloon in Madison, Wisconsin on November 8, 2006. 8 Finalists were culled from nearly 30 performers with Nick Mortensen hosting the event and Tamara Backus, The Apologists and Mae Rae (Madison music acts) adding musical support. The finalists are as follows: Chris Woldt, KeeLynn Kees, Fletch, Tim Egan, Mickey Schroeder, Dan Krieg,Aaron Quinn, and Kendra Frank. The finals will be held on December 6 at the High Noon Saloon. All finalists this year live in the Madison area, though the contest was once again open to comedians from all over Wisconsin.

Mission

Any stand-up comedian is given an opportunity to perform at any of their events. Organizers were interested in making it as easy as possible for aspiring comedians to get on stage for the first time. Interested comics e-mail the event coordinator in order to sign up for the next show and are given a slot with only time restrictions on their act, not content. The idea behind this all is that every show will have different comics and be unique in its content.

The Wisconsin Stand-Up Comedy Project attempts to put at least one new comic up on stage at each performance, if not more.

External links

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