The file of jokes on my Google Drive is labeled “Host With the Most set – 5th draft.” I wrote and rewrote and rewrote again my set for last night’s competition. I practiced at open-mic nights and made revisions after each show. I used social media and printed flyers to get my friends to buy tickets. In other words, I did my homework and I passed the final exam.
When the votes were tallied at the end of the night, I had won the contest on behalf of the charity of my choice. Columbus Home Children’s Emergency Shelter will receive over $2,000 from Side Splitters Comedy Club. Columbus Home is also the beneficiary of the annual Kids Helping Kids Fun Walk, of which I am the honorary chair.
I did sell the most tickets but there were no guarantees. Last year, the host who sold the most tickets did not win the overall contest. The other Knoxville media folks who brought the funny last night were Wayne Bledsoe, Scott Bohannon, Aaron Campbell, Erin Donovan, Chris Durant, Mike Howard, Whitney Kent, Oz Kirk, Octavius, Bruce Patrick and Mitch Wheeler.
As the audience took their seats, the contestants gathered in the lounge. Side Splitters managing partner Bridgette Martin had us each draw a number from an ice bucket. I was hoping for a spot in the middle but I drew the second spot in the lineup. Scott Bohannon went first and had to deal with a wireless microphone that cut off and on. I was very relieved when Octavius grabbed a wired mic and handed it to Scott. The rest of us used the wired microphone.
I did some jokes about my childhood that I thought my friends in the audience would enjoy. Several of them said they were glad that I had done a clean set. They didn’t know that I had removed some profanity from my routine two months ago when I read a Wall Street Journal article about the monetary benefits of working clean.
Professional comedian Kristine Kinsey served as emcee for the night and did a fantastic job. After each performer, she had material that was a perfect fit for the moment. Before the show, she made me laugh by telling me that I must be famous because I have my own Wikipedia page.