The tally of Comedy Attic audience ballots last Wednesday made Kristen Lucas the Funniest Person in Bloomington this year. The vote put an exclamation mark on eleven weeks of competition that started in mid-June. For Lucas, it was the second time she’s won the title—she won the year before last, in 2017.
Last year it was Emil Wakim who won, and he was back in town on Wednesday to entertain the crowd during the counting of the ballots for the finals. Wakim spent part of the summer out on the west coast performing and will be on stage at the 208 Comedy Fest in Boise, ID next weekend.
The week before, it was previous winner David Britton—in 2014 and 2015—who performed during the ballot counting. The year after Britton’s back-to-back wins, Jonas Schrodt was named Funniest Person in Bloomington. This year Schrodt advanced to the semi-final round.
Joining Lucas in the finals were Mark Bookwalter and Abby Troughton. Lucas led off the night based on a random drawing.
When emcee Brad Wilhelm introduced the performers, he swapped out the sometimes acerbic teasing that he’d dosed out over the summer for heart-felt reflection: “These three are some of my favorite people in this town, in this business and in my life. And I mean that sincerely. Number one, coming up here, Kristen is brave, she’s smart, she’s really funny, she’s always creative. If my child grew up to be anything at all like Kristen, I’d be very happy.”
Wilhelm made a comedic bit out of the intros when he repeated for each performer the line, “If my child grew up to be anything at all like…” And for Bookwalker, it was modified slightly for a better laugh: “If my daughter grew up to be anything like Mark…”
It was apparent, though, that Wilhelm’s affection and respect for the three was genuine.
The set that Lucas delivered in the finals reprised some of the material she’d used in previous rounds. So audience members seemed to have heeded the advice of Comedy Attic owner Jared Thompson on the festival’s first night of competition: “Comedy does not work when you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s new, so maybe they’re better.’ No, if you’ve heard a joke before, that means they’ve been working on it and they’re good at comedy, that’s how that works.”
Lucas delivers humor based in part on her sexual orientation and her appearance—which is androgynous enough that she talks in her sets about being accused of being in the wrong bathroom when she’s in the women’s room.
On Wednesday, one joke Lucas told was, objectively speaking, better than it actually landed. It involved “gender reveal” parties that “straight people” are now having. The punchline: “Sometimes I still feel like my parents still might do that for me.” Lucas still rolled with the smattering of laughs: “I’m 35—that’s why it’s funny.”
The Bloomington Comedy Festival takes place every Wednesday, in the slot normally slated for the Comedy Attic’s open-mic night. In her remarks after winning this year’s title, Lucas heaped praise on the club, and encouraged people to come to the club’s regular Wednesday open mic nights.
Slideshow 2019 Finals of Bloomington Comedy Festival
Past Winners of the Bloomington Comedy Festival