Sixteen comics will enter The Loony Bin Comedy Club on Nov. 27, but only one will walk out as Tulsa’s Funniest Person. The victor walks out with not only impressive bragging rights, but also $100 in prize money, paid work at The Loony Bin and a ‘ridiculously small’ trophy. The comedy scene in Tulsa, much like everything else in our beloved city, is growing everyday and this competition brings the whole scene together.
"I think it's a really fun event for all the local comics and we have such a huge comedy scene now that it's something that was needed," said Roy Johnson, general manager of The Loony Bin. "All the comics in town, even the ones that aren’t in the finals show up. It's great for the community. We all get together, it's really kind of a celebration of all their hard work over the year."
To choose the competing comics, the Loony Bin held monthly survivor competitions where eight comics competed in three rounds and were voted out by the audience after each round until only two remained. Only those two continue on to compete in Tulsa’s Funniest.
"Honestly when I did it had no idea what I was in for at all," said Laura Christian, who has been doing comedy for just over a year and found herself overwhelmed by the survivor competition. "I don't even remember what I talked about now, but I guess it worked, I’m honestly trying not to think about doing it again," she said with a laugh.
The actual competition will involve the audience and three judges: The Edge's Chuck Stickel, KVOO’s Amber Glaze, and The Eagle’s Jill Munroe. Comedians will be judged on material, delivery and crowd response.
Christian is hoping to win the title of Tulsa’s Funniest Person to advance her comedy career, but also to brag to her friends. "I would never shut up about it if I won. Everyone would have to beg me to stop talking about it," she said.
Another contender for the title, Zehava Glazier is excited for the chance to perform at the Loony Bin, a comedy club that welcomed her with open arms when she got started in the scene two years ago.
"I mean, I'm hoping to do this. I don't have a backup plan. I don't have a career other than this. So The Loony Bin is kind of like the only professional place where I get to perform, so I just really enjoy any opportunities I get there," she said. "The environment just feels very supportive there."
Johnson works hard to make his club a supportive space, especially for women. His love for comedy as an art form helps him create the perfect space for it to exist.
"Comedy is as an art form is not put on a pedestal like music or painting anything like that. But it's the purest form of art ever, where it’s just you expressing something and getting immediate emotion from the audience," he said. "These people that work the craft don't get enough credit. Each word is crafted, each gesture is crafted, everything is worked so hard. You spend a whole year working on your bit and you still don't have it exactly the way you want it. As an art form, it deserves to be celebrated more. And this is the night when that happens."