Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Competing for Chuckles at Level 2

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Humor | September 14th, 2016

It’s kind of funny how things can come full circle, especially when it involves a comedy club. Around this same time last year I covered Adam Quesnell’s going-away show at the grand opening of the Level 2 Comedy Club at the Radisson. Now I found myself interviewing Zachary Tooker, the manager of the club, about the very first North Dakota Comedy Contest to be held there.

“I’m honestly not sure North Dakota has another comedy contest,” said Tooker, so it may be a first for the state as well as the club. That’s not to say that North Dakota doesn’t have a burgeoning comedy scene, but that until this point no one has put together a contest to bring together the state’s best talent.

“North Dakota is already a funny place,” said Tooker. It only makes sense to have a contest that raises awareness, not just for the club he manages but for the area comedy scene as a whole, especially as the club kicks off its busiest season.

He pointed out that there are twenty to thirty open-mic comedians that frequent open-mic events each week around the F-M area. Their efforts have paved the way for new people, who may have never considered trying stand-up, to venture into a new field. “You see lots of new faces who have never done comedy before, theatre students and such. It’s a grab-bag.”

Tooker also insisted that the F-M comedy community is different than in other cities. “It reflects on the community. It’s a strong community in general, really salt-of-the-earth.”

However, he pointed out, while many of the people who show up to comedy events in the area are “blue collar” types, the comedians are usually the exact opposite, despite having grown up in the same area, oftentimes very politically and socially liberal. This contrast creates an interesting tension between the comedians and the audience that rarely, however, results in bad blood. “The comedians know not to be divisive.”

If anything, this friendly butting of heads on certain issues leads to a fascinating dynamic where the comedians and audience can learn a thing or two from each other.

One thing that comedy excels at is pointing out the absurdities in our daily lives, which can create room for growth. “You get people to laugh at themselves but also to think. Because you can laugh it’s a rewarding education, an entertaining lecture,” said Tooker.

The contest itself, which is sponsored by the High Plains Reader, the Radisson, and Level 2, will take place on two Fridays, the 16th and the 23rd. On the first night of the competition, dozens of comedians will be narrowed down to five finalists. The next Friday will see the remaining five battling for comedic supremacy and a $500 grand prize.

There will also be a nationally recognized professional headliner, A. J. Finney, who has appeared on “Last Comic Standing” as well as regularly performing comedy on Sirius XM satellite radio.

After the contest, Level 2’s comedy season kicks off good and proper, with open mics every Friday and Saturday at 7 PM and 9:30 PM. Hopefully this contest is only the first of many, so that not only will this area of the country be known for North Dakota nice, but also for Fargo funny.

IF YOU GO

North Dakota Comedy Contest Friday, September 16 and 23, 7pm Level 2 Comedy Club, Radisson Hotel, First night cover $5, Second night cover $15

RECENTLY IN

Humor

Tracker Pixel for Entry LoganOnlineAds

Recently in:

BISMARCK– The debate over whether the state needs an ethics commission has been ongoing for years, four times defeated by the legislature. This year, however, concerned citizens turned to the power of the initiated measure, and…

There will be a rocking event on coming this Thursday called Night Bazaar by Folkways. Night Bazaar is an event highlighting the community with a full spectrum of unique experiences, food, music, art and performances. Night Bazaar…

Thursday, August 23, 5-6:30 p.m.Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave. NDr. Craig Howe, Director of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS), will lead an art and poetry workshop in conjunction with the…

On August 14, The Bismarck Tribune reported that “A popular insecticide could be banned for agricultural use.” Popular as it may be I can think of a whole slew of adjectives that would be more appropriate like questionable,…

Well, Mr. President, Have You No Sense Of Decency Sir, At Long Last?We might have another flag debate in this country. We still see the Confederate symbol flying in activities promoted by white supremacists on the streets of…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

By Ben Myhre benmyhre35@gmail.com If you are a gardener in the area, you know that this is the time of year when zucchini becomes plentiful. In fact, many have a tough time using all of it. You may see just a small little zucchini…

Woodstock: even people who were born years after the original three-day music festival recognize the name. The event, which took place between August 15th and 18th at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in southern New York and attracted…

Elsie Fisher’s Kayla Day is the lonely but indefatigable middle-school protagonist of first-time feature filmmaker Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade,” a winning addition to the pantheon of the adolescent cinematic bildungsroman.…

It may be cliche to say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, but when wet plate artist Shane Balkowitsch found out that his 15-year-old daughter Abby Balkowitsch was following in his photography footsteps, he was…

By Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.comAs I stared out of Guthrie Theater’s Amber room at a bird’s eye of the cityscape and river below, I hardly took in the night lights, my mind was too focused on the art I had just…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

When I was first introduced to the traditional spirit of my ancestors, Akvavit (or aquavit), I never thought I’d ever find myself standing next to a giant “Viking” ship while comparing different brands of the “water of…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

Well, after nearly a dozen years of delay, it looks like Billings County is finally going to build a bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora. The county posted a notice in the Federal Register on October…