So I did it! I won the Syracuse competition. I am the 2014 Unforgettable Comedy Challenge Champ! It damn sure wasn’t easy even though a few people picked me as the favorite heading into it at the beginning of the summer. I think that actually made it tougher. It put a big target right on my back.
Of course everyone brings their A game when they’re competing, but I think it gave everyone else a little extra fuel knowing “people are picking AJ to win so I wanna take him out!” And knowing that some other comics would be gunning for me definitely lit a fire under me as well. I never once thought this would be a cake walk. I took my writing up to another level. I made sure my finals set so was tight and well rehearsed because I knew that everyone else would be doing the same. If I showed up half-assing and expecting a trophy to just be givin to me, I would’ve walked away sad and empty handed.
So thank you to all of the other comics in this who definitely made this a challenge because it made me better. We all made it a tough decision for the judges. I admire each and every one of you so much. From Aaron Ward, the consummate pro who has been in the biz for over 10 years and any young comic could learn a thing or two from. No surprise that he’ll be in this years World Series of Comedy in Las Vegas; to Sammy Ruddy, the relative newcomer with about as much talent and potential as anyone I’ve ever met in this industry. This girl writes her ass off and some of her jokes are just so clever and unique. I knew from the first time I saw her perform last fall that she was something special. I think she was the least experience comic in the finals and I was just as worried about her defeating me as anyone else.
So what now? Everyone keeps asking me what this win means for me and what my next move is. Honestly, not that much has changed. I’m still broke. I went home that night and ate 2 turkey franks with regular wheat bread because I didn’t even have any buns. And they were the ends of the loaf too because that’s all that was left in the bag. Then after I ate my struggle dinner, I went to bed and came right back to my job the next day. I won’t be quitting any time soon and running off to Hollywood like some people keep asking me.
Sure people, winning a competition like this is a nice credit to have for an up and coming comic, but Comedy Central isn’t exactly knocking my door down to give me my own special yet. I’ve still got a long way to go. This may open up some doors and give me some better opportunities for more work in the near future, but it’s not a total game changer.
I’ve still got a couple other similar competitions that I’m apart of. I’m actually about to hit the road for Connecticut for the Last Comix Standing competition at the Foxwoods right after I post this blog. Then Sunday night I’ll be back in Rochester for the next round of the Funniest Person in Rochester Competition. A few other nice gigs coming up in the next few weeks as I also get ready for my APCA showcase. Been a great year so far and I’d like to close it out with the same energy.
I’ll be back with another quick update after the weekend and I’ll also be posting a new video as well so be on the lookout for that everyone who has been asking me to post new clips.