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That better be chocolate

By BILL MICKELSON

What’s Up

Some of the hottest comics in the country have filtered through the ranks of the Seattle International Comedy Competition, but interestingly enough, not too many of them have been pegged in the top spot.

Trolling through the past victors ... 1997 winner Mitch Hedburg is probably one of the more famous and best known SICC champions. He went on to star on the late-night circuit with Letterman, O’Brien and Kilborn while moving into movies like “Almost Famous” and “Lords of Dogtown.”

But tragically, he died in 2005 at the age of 37.

Another of the most successful comics post-SICC is 1983’s top comedian Ross Shafer. He went on to host the Emmy-winning late-’80s early-’90s Seattle-based sketch comedy TV series Almost Live, while also working with Dick Clark’s TV Bloopers and practical jokes. Now, he’s a comedic motivational speaker and a customer service industry key note.

The 1992 winner, Bill Radke, went onto host talk shows for National Public Radio while 1990 champ Elliot Maxx went on to establish himself as is says on his Web site “one of the cruise industry’s premiere comedians.”

Now for a look at some of those SICC second-rate comics ...

In the SICC’s inaugural year, an actor/comedian/dancer named David Silverman was crowned champion, however a semi-finalist whom Silverman beat out that year was a young, unknown Canadian by the name of Ryan Stiles.

Into the competition’s second decade Patton Oswalt, the voice of the rat in Pixar’s newest smash “Ratatouille” and also Spence from the TV show “King of Queens” went from being snubbed out of the SICC finals to becoming one of the nation’s most well-known funny men today.

That’s the beauty of comedy, you never really know what’s going to happen.

Thus should be the case as the 28th Annual Seattle International Comedy Competition is coming to Bremerton to host one night of its finals at 8 p.m. today.

The show is all ages, but carries the disclaimer that “comedy is an expressive art form and shows may contain adult language and content.”

It’s a touring comedy festival-slash-elimination competition that charts the course of 24 shows over 26 days, hitting a different venue each night. Hundreds of comics applied, 32 were picked to compete in two rounds of 16. Each of those preliminary groups are whittled down to five semi-finalists and of those 10, the Top Five comics move on and each get 15-minute-spots on four different nights during the week of Thanksgiving.

Bremerton is the second to last stop of the tour, while the 2007 champion will be crowned the next night at the Comedy Underground in Seattle.

However, a winner will be chosen from each of the four finalist shows and the ultimate champion will be chosen on the strength of those collective tallies.

At press time, the five finalists were not known, however, fans can check for updates at www.seattlecomedycompetition.com.

For tickets to the Admiral’s stop on the tour, visit www.admiraltheatre.org or call (360) 373-6743. Main floor and loge tickets are $25, while balcony seats are $20.

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