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There was none of the traditional booing and hissing at Thursday night’s comedy show. The audience, composed of about 150 students, was considerably forgiving and merciful. The comedians were only students themselves, no older than the audience. This isn’t to say, though, that there weren’t any comedians worthy of your attention.
Since Oct. 10, the ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ show has been combing the nation for the funniest college student. Having started ‘The Jimmy Kimmel Live! College Comedy Championship’ on the East Coast, the search finally made it to California on Nov. 13 with a competition on the Cal State Northridge campus. The coast-to-coast search involved 15 schools, handpicked by the producers. The selection process was based on a wide variety of criteria, one of which was whether the school campus carried Pepsi or Coca-Cola products. If it was the latter, the school could not be chosen to host a live show. We have capitalism to thank for this particular selection process, as Sierra Mist (a Pepsi product) sponsored the nationwide search.
Thirteen students swallowed their pride and tried their hands at a few minutes of stand-up comedy for Thursday night’s competition, which was held in Crystal Cove Auditorium. The evening was hosted by Vargus Mason, who makes regular appearances at the Los Angeles Improv and the World Famous Comedy Store. He opened the evening by mentioning, ‘Don’t heckle the comedians. And don’t heckle me either because I’ll stab you.’ So the show was pretty much a safe haven for students to give stand-up comedy a shot.
The night’s stand-up was like any other typical comedy show: everything was politically incorrect and often times uncomfortable. There were jabs against Amber alerts for kidnapped children, civil rights activism, retardation, hate crimes, rape, STDs, stereotypes and, of course, O.J. Simpson.
The stand-out comedian and clear crowd favorite was 18-year-old Irvine Valley College Student Omid Singh. Despite doing stand-up for less than a year, Singh was noticeably polished and witty, a quality even Mason noticed. His act was quick and well-delivered. Most importantly, it was clean. Producers have the choice to eliminate any contestant from the competition if their jokes are too obscene or too dirty.
At the end of the night, Singh was pronounced the winner by both applause from the audience and the decision of the on-site manager. This win, however, doesn’t guarantee him a spot in the finals.
All U.S. students wanting to enter the comedy competition had two ways to do so: in person at the specific campus competition, or by submitting a video of their three-minute comedy act.
Singh and his competitors were taped Thursday night. Those tapes will then be submitted into the national competition. From there, judges selected by the sponsor will review the tapes and score them based on style, delivery, originality and overall humor. A final 25 or so with the highest scores will then move on to a second judging, from which a final four will be selected. These four will compete on or around the Nov. 29, and the champion will finally be crowned.
Of course, there are prizes up for grabs. What type of a competition is without prizes?
Each of the four finalists will receive a three-day, two-night trip to Los Angeles for the final competition. They will also receive $500 spending money. The lucky champ will receive the same, plus an additional two-nights stay in Los Angeles and an additional $500 spending money for himself/herself. The winner will also receive two tickets to attend the Nov. 30 taping of ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ And, of course, a trophy is in order declaring the grand prize winner as ‘The 2007 Jimmy Kimmel Live!/Sierra Mist College Comedy Champion.’
For more information: http://www.kimmelcollegecomedy.com/.

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