Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Competing for Chuckles at Level 2

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:

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comEveryone knows that dogs are often referred to as “man’s best friend.” It’s no mystery why. During…

By Olivia Slyteroslyter@cord.eduFalcon Gott, Sapotaweyak Cree Nation member and filmmaker/photographer, was recently named North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival Native American Programs Director, and has many projects in store…

Sons of Norway, Kringen Lodge #4-25, is a fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Norwegian culture.Sentrum på 722 2nd Ave N, FargoKringen Kafe er åpen for Kaffe og Bakverk mandag-fredag 9.00 til…

By John Strandjas@hpr1.comOur Opinion: The Little Newspaper That Could, still can.Like most everyone else we know, HPR is different these days. The pandemic changed our world in ways we never imagined. Yet here we are. And as you…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.com When Will It End? Gun Culture Has Killed 1,500,000 Americans in 50 YearsOn Thanksgiving Day, 25-year-old Philadelphian Edilberto Miguel Palaez Moctezuma was eating his turkey dinner with his…

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com“If you had talked to me five years ago or even a year ago and told me I was gonna be a chef in Fargo I probably would have looked at you pretty funny. It's wild where food is taking me in…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comYou may recognize Owen Hanson, from seeing him play with any number of folk punk projects throughout the past few years, such as his solo project Owen Broke, Bottle Wound, or Mr. Meaner. His folk…

By Greg Carlsongregcarlson1@gmail.comMaster filmmaker Jane Campion, notching a fresh Silver Lion win for Best Direction at the recent Venice Film Festival, returns to the screen after a twelve-year absence with “The Power of the…

By Alicia Underlee Nelsonalicia@hpr1.comCreative Moorhead is injecting new life into Moorhead’s art scene and revitalizing its downtown spaces. Artistic or handy people with a connection to the city are encouraged to connect with…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comDrag shows, for me, feel like a celebration of artistry, esthetic, music, and camaraderie. With a dash of confetti thrown in.The local drag community is a close-knit family. Giving back to affiliated…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

By Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comSpring is here (mostly), and our area is buzzing with people eager to get back out and about -- many newly vaccinated and feeling a bit safer. Partnering with Jade Events, Fargo Brewing is just…

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

By Theresa L. Goodrichsubmit@hpr1.comIt was day ten of our epic southwest road trip and we’d made it to Arizona. After camping in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and New Mexico, we were exhausted, but fortunately our night in…

by Annie Prafckesubmit@hpr1.com17 June 2021On June 19th, from 12pm to 7pm, nonprofit Faith4Hope Scholarship Fund is hosting their first ever Juneteenth Freedom Celebration at Lindenwood Park in Fargo. It is free and open to the…