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Florida’s Funniest Back On Track

A computer glitch delayed the the processing of applications, forcing the postponement of the Dania Improv show, but Florida's Funniest is ready to roll.

by Chuck king
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WEST PALM BEACH – The glitch that prompted the postponement of the Dania Improv’s opening show of the Florida’s Funniest Comedian competition fixed, the road to becoming the Sunshine State’s top comic is now set to begin in Miami.

Originally scheduled for Sunday, the Dania Improv’s first-round competition has been rescheduled for October 26.

Competition organizer Rene Harte first noticed the issue with online registrations – nearly a quarter of the entry forms didn’t list a comic’s preferred venue – in late August. She hoped Labor Day weekend efforts to contact affected comics would keep the contest on schedule, but by Sunday night she realized that wouldn’t be possible.

“It got a little crazy,” said Harte, also a co-owner of the Palm Beach Improv.. “It’s still crazy. At least I have it organized, now.”

The Miami Improv, originally scheduled to be second of the eight first round competitions, will now advance the first comics to the finals. Opening night of the opening round will be Sept. 28 in Doral.

Earlier this week Harte informed Kristian Lugo. Oriel Rodriguez, Nia Dara, Brett Engle, Randy White | Ricky Cruz, Alex Tarrio, Grant Toliver, Rodney Badger, Luis Diaz, Brax Tinkler, Stephen Ippolito, Shak Zoola, Mark Christopher, James Warmington, Jay Moreno, Willonius Hatcher, Sergio Mendez, Adrien Hernandez and Pedro Rodriguez that they had been chosen to perform that night.

Overall, approximately 200 comics applied to compete in at least one of the eight opening rounds.

“The response was so great,” Harte said.

The new schedule for Florida’s Funniest Comedian First Round shows is:

Wednesday, Sept. 28: Miami Improv, Doral
Sunday, Oct. 2: Tampa Improv
Wednesday, Oct. 5: Orlando Improv, Orlando
Sunday, Oct. 9: Off the hook, Naples
Wednesday, Oct. 12: Palm Beach Improv, West Palm Beach
Saturday, Oct. 22: Comedy Corner (Sunrise Theatre), Fort Pierce
Wednesday, Oct. 26: Dania Improv, Dania Beach
Friday, Oct. 28: McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, Sarasota

More than 50 comics applied to compete at the Dania Improv, complicating Harte’s efforts to hold that show first. Performing at the Palm Beach Improv proved to be the second most desirable, garnering more than 40 applicants.

Each show will be capped at 18 performers. For venues that might not have 18 quality applicants, Harte and her team may dip into the pool of applicants who didn’t make the cut in other cites and offer them a second chance in a those cities.

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The top three comics at each venue will advance to the Florida’s Funniest Comedian finale on Dec. 1 at the PB Improv to compete for the title currently held by Cam Bertrand.

It is traditional that the reigning Florida’s Funniest Comedian headlines that finals show. Harte confirmed on Thursday that Bertrand will headline the Dec. 1 show.

Along with claiming a prestigious title for their resume, the contest winner will receive a week of paid bookings (Thursday-Sunday) at every single club in the contest. The second place finisher will receive one paid week at one of the three South Florida Improvs. Other prizes could soon be added.

Winners of the Florida’s Funniest contest have generally gone on to enjoy success on a national scale. Erik Myers won 2011’s inaugural contest. Orlando Leyba, Ken Miller, JB Ball, Preacher Lawson, Alex U Ucein and Bertrand have also claimed the title.

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