WEST PALM BEACH – Mark Christopher didn’t bring the largest entourage to Wednesday’s New Faces of Comedy show at the Palm Beach Improv, but he arguably delivered the best set.
That performance prompted a split of the contest winnings, with Christopher being guaranteed a host spot at an upcoming Improv show.
“I take some pride in hosting,” Christopher said. “I’ve had some really great times and been able to perform with a lot of great people. When I’m hosting I’m always looking to get toward the middle spot or the top spot of the show. I do like it. Usually, when I’m hosting, it’s a good show and a big room, so I’m looking forward to coming out there and using it as a stepping stone.”
Christopher waited patiently for his turn at the mic. More than one dozen local comics – each performing five-minute sets – participated in the contest, with Christopher taking the stage as the night’s penultimate contenstant.
“It was a long wait to get up there,” Christopher said afterward. “It was touch-and-go. I wasn’t even sure I was going to get on stage.”
Comics were required to bring at least 10 people with them to be eligible to perform.
Erica Sed, who brought some 30 people with her for the show, won the audience vote and claimed the $200 prize.
Sed doesn’t perform regularly and admitted to being nervous as she took the stage.
“Once you get up there and you realize that all the people that are there to support you came out to see you be funny, you all-of-the-sudden get that energy within you to pull you through,” Sed said.
See No Evil, Danny Fallon and Malc The Show also delivered strong sets.
The night started with graduation performances of four comics – Alan Workman, Connor Melnyk, Jennifer Kern and Royce Cooper – who recently completed one of the Improv’s stand-up comedy classes.
Mike Panzeca, comic and class teacher, hosted the graduation and introduced those comics.
National touring comic Matt Bellak, who pairs with Tim Hanlon as part of the Dope City Comedy Tour, served as the New Faces host.
“Even people going on late were still bringing the funny,” Bellak said. “This scene is cranking them out, man. Some funny people.”
The Palm Beach Improv hosts its next New Faces of Comedy contests on September 2.
The newly opened Dania Improv will host its first New Faces of Comedy show on Sept. 23.