Can't Judge Good Comedy06-16-2012 05:00 pm
Every night at the 2012 Viaero Great American Comedy Festival, Eddie Brill — the festival’s executive producer — tells the audience that you can’t really judge comedy.
And he’s right.
But then he goes and asks three people to do it anyway.
So if somebody has to be given that unenviable task, the three individuals serving as judges at this year’s festival are well qualified to do so.
Bert Haas of Zanies comedy club in Chicago, Richard Barrett of the Comedy and Magic Shop in Los Angeles and Rene Harte of the Improv clubs in Florida, Arizona and Kentucky volunteered their time to travel to Norfolk this week to judge Thursday and Friday evening’s preliminary rounds of competition among 20 professional comics.
They selected four to advance each night, setting up Saturday evening’s finals — when they again will be on the hot seat.
On Friday, Amber Preston of Minneapolis, Johnny Beehner of Milwaukee, Pete Lee of New York City and Denise Ramsden of Chicago earned the judges’ nod of approval.
For Haas, he may be hoping that Saturday’s finals show is a bit less adventurous than last year.
Those in attendance last summer will remember that it was Haas who came to Cloris Leachman’s rescue when she didn’t want to exit stage right or left but instead off the front of the stage into her front-row seat. So he graciously took her in his arms and provideded her with a graceful landing.
This year, with Jimmie “JJ” Walker receiving the Johnny Carson Comedy Legend award instead of Leachman, it would be a bit heavier if Haas has to do the same thing again.
But probably just as funny.