Semi-final field set for Bloomington Comedy Festival

Wednesday’s competition at the Comedy Attic’s Bloomington Comedy Festival added three candidates to the semi-final field of comedians who’ll compete next Wednesday for a spot in the finals on Aug. 28.

Cropped ballot 08.15.2019 Comedy Show - 4

The top three vote getters on Wednesday were Abby Troughton, Zach Rody and Shanda Sung.

They’ll join Jonas Schrodt, Mark Bookwalter and Kristin Lucas in the semifinals on Wednesday, Aug. 21.

It’s the same day as departmental budget hearings in front of the Bloomington city council for the Bloomington Housing Authority,
Housing and Neighborhood Development,
Economic and Sustainable Development,
Community and Family Resources, and
Parks and Recreation departments.

For many residents the potential scheduling conflict, between the civic and the comedic, could mean that tickets to the BCF shows are a smidgen easier to get in advance. The shows generally play to a sold-out venue. 

The crowd on Wednesday featured a noticeable number of older patrons—because Glenda Deford brought a contingent of supporters. She told The Beacon the competition is not about how good you are, it’s about how many people you can get to come vote for you. As for her ability to get a crowd to show up for her, she said, “I’m from here, and I’m old!” Deford is 69 years old.  She added, “And I’ve had six different careers, so I know a lot of people!”

Even if the crowd Deford brought with her was not enough to put her through to the semi-finals, the mix of older people might have affected the voting. As Bob Nugent put it, after a set where some of his jokes didn’t land,  “You know, for a crowd, you guys gave me a 5 or a 6, but you’re a 10 in my heart. …”

Before introducing the comedian following Nugent, emcee Brad Wilhelm told the audience, “You know, when Bob saw the average age of the crowd here tonight, he knew that was gonna happen. But he persevered and he came up here and rocked it anyway. So he needs another round of applause!”

Zach Rody led off his set by playing directly to the age difference in the crowd: “This is an awesome mix, we have like baby boomers and college students, this is awesome. I’m just saying, baby boomers, if you have prescription bottles in your purse and you want to sell them off, these guys just got their student loans, you can corner the market, your crowd is here!”

Rody was the one male comedian to advance on Wednesday. That makes for a 3–3 gender split for the semi-finals. Voters on Wednesday will choose three for the finals on Aug. 28, when the Funniest Person in Bloomington is chosen.

Here’s the semi-final field as they appeared in their quarterfinal rounds.