WEST PALM BEACH – Cam Bertrand’s reign as Florida’s Funniest Comedian is about to come to an end.
He’s not exactly ready to abdicate the thrown.
“I want to compete again,” Bertrand said a few weeks before the start of this year’s contest. “I wish [contest organizer Rene Harte] would let me do it again. I want to go up under an alias and do it again.”
Bertrand’s worn the Florida’s Funniest crown longer than most. As a wildcard entrant in the 2019 contest, he stormed through the finals with a blistering set to earn the title.
COVID struck the following year. The 2022 Florida’s Funniest Competition, which concludes Wednesday night at the Palm Beach Improv, is the first post-COVID contest.
Tradition holds that the reigning Florida’s Funniest Comedian champion headlines the following year’s finale, and Harte can’t wait to see Bertrand perform one final time as reigning champ.
“I love that,” Harte said.
Another Florida’s Funniest winner, Ken Miller (2013), will host a night that will see 11 comics vie to be named Florida’s Funniest.
“Florida’s Funniest is one of my favorite things that I’ve accomplished simply because all of my favorite people did it before more – JB Ball, Ken Miller, Erik Myers, Preacher Lawson,” Bertrand said. “There’s so many guys before me that I finally can be like, Oh man, I’m in the round table. You feel like you’re part of a fraternity at that point.”
Since winning the title, Bertrand’s represented the Sunshine State admirably. Shortly after winning the crown he recorded a Dry Bar comedy special that’s received more than five million views on YouTube and the Dry Bar app combined – helping cement Bertrand’s status as a reluctant internet star.
He also appeared on “America’s Got Talent.”
And being Florida’s Funniest Comedian has opened doors to new bookings.
“It definitely doesn’t hurt,” Bertrand said. “It feels good. If anything, just being in Florida and saying you won it, and all the people who won it previously, that’s what feels good. Whether people book you because of it or not, it just feels good to be part of that fraternity.”
Bertrand’s been doing his part to help boost this year’s contest.
“I love the competition, man,” Bertrand said. “I’ve talked to a bunch of guys in Tampa and just different people and been like, ‘You’ve got to compete. Keep the integrity in the competition. Keep it hungry.’ I want everybody to go up there with their best 5, 10, 15 minutes – and kill.”
With a larger finals field this year than in some previous years, each comic will have six minutes to floor a panel of judges who Harte said won’t have been part of the first or second rounds.
More than 200 Florida comics applied to enter the Florida’s Funniest Comedian competition. Finalists Nadeem Awad, Ricky Cruz, Luis Diaz, Donald Evans, Danny Johnson, Wes Johnson, Joe Latham, Jay Legend, John Loveless, Nathan Wallace and Dewayne Williams won’t know the order in which they take the stage until shortly before the 8 p.m. showtime. The winner will receive a week’s worth of bookings at the Improv clubs in Florida. Second place will receive a weekend of feature work at one club.
Links to a profile of each comic appear at the end of this story.
The ticket price is listed as $10 on the Palm Beach Improv website, but fans will receive free admission if they mention the name of one of the night’s performers at the door.
Sometime around 10 p.m. Florida will crown its new funniest comic. When that happens, Bertrand will still be encouraging those not selected, and those who didn’t even apply, to enter the contest next year.
“You’ve got to do it,” said Bertrand, who entered the contest twice before finally winning it. “It’s a right of passage. Whether you win, whether you lose, whether you get bumped out in the first round – compete. It’s so much fun to see where you stand, where you stack up. It makes you hungry.”
Previous Florida’s Funniest Finalist Q&As
- Orlando area comic Joe Latham
- Jacksonville area comic Danny Johnson
- Jacksonville area comic Wes Johnson
- Miami area comic Ricky Cruz
- Kissimmee area comic Donald Evans
- Boynton Beach area comic Nadeem Awad
- Tampa area comic Jay Legend
- Miami area comic Luis Diaz
- Orlando area comic Dewayne Williams
- West Palm Beach area comic John Loveless
- Fort Myers area comic Nathan Wallace