Brad Wilhelm, emcee of the summer-long Bloomington Comedy Festival, introduced Wednesday’s competition with a joke that traded on news that had broken two days earlier—the cancellation of the city’s farmers market for the next two weeks, over public safety concerns.
There at the Comedy Attic, Wilhelm said, you won’t be arrested for holding an anti-white-supremacist sign. (At last Saturday’s market, a protester holding such a sign was arrested for holding it outside a prescribed area, the most recent incident in several weeks of rising tensions.)
On a serious note, Wilhelm suggested that audience members who found themselves unable to buy food from farmers market vendors in the next couple of weeks, put that money towards a $30 ticket to the Chef’s Challenge, an event to be held on Sunday at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Chef’s Challenge benefits Community Kitchen hunger relief programs.
Several farmers market vendors will be relocating for the next couple weeks at the east-side Bloomingfoods location, starting Aug. 3.
Advancing to the third round of competition on Wednesday, based on an audience vote, were four of the eight comedians: Zach Rody, Abby Troughton, Glenda Deford and Bob Nugent. That reduces the field of 40 that started in June to a total of 12.
Other performers who advanced to the third round in previous weeks were: Kristen Lucas, Emily Davis, Joshua Sullivan, Mark Bookwalter, Kaitlyn Blansett, Dan Paswell, Jonas Schrodt and Shanda Sung.
Wilhelm’s use of the farmers market situation for comedic relief was the first of several farmers-market-themed bits from other performers.
Brent Terhune, known for his Nike-burning Trump supporter videos, was the evening’s professional comedian. He was paid to fill the time with funny business while ballots were being counted for the eight candidates who’d performed in the competition.
Terhune didn’t have to mention “farmers market” for his joke to land. It was a bit where he was pretending to talk on the phone, so the crowd could hear just his side of the conversation:
Yeah they shut it down, I heard.
Yeah, it was pretty much the most Bloomington thing I ever heard.
Brian Carroll got good laughs, even if he didn’t advance, with a joke about a thing that he had to do with his wife, as a married couple—go to antique stores.
Yeah, antique stores. We used to have two things—there used to be farmers markets, but they took that away from us.
Into his farmers market joke, Zach Rody looped the controversy about the purchase of a Bearcat armored truck last year by Bloomington’s police department:
Nothing says “liberal town in conservative state” more than the fact that we might need to have our police use our tank to defend the farmers market… Let’s lean into it, let’s build a biodegradable wall, I want to see riot police on Lime scooters, coming down Kirkwood.
The Bloomington Comedy Festival continues for the next four Wednesdays, and will end on Aug. 28 with the naming of the Funniest Person in Bloomington.
Here are the four candidates who advanced on Wednesday as they looked in the first round of competition: