San Francisco Comedy Competition

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San Francisco Comedy Competition
GenreComedy competition
Location(s)San Francisco, California
CountryUnited States
FounderFrank Kidder
ActivityStand-up comedy

The San Francisco Comedy Competition (sometimes referred to as the San Francisco International Comedy Competition or The San Francisco International Stand-Up Comedy Competition) is a stand-up comedy contest held each September in San Francisco, California, and neighboring areas of Northern California.


The SFICC was originally conceived by Bay Area comedian Frank Kidder. However, it has been produced since its inception by Jon and Anne Fox, who now retain complete ownership after purchasing Kidder's share.[1]

The competition has evolved from two nights of 20 comics performing, to its current multi-week format.

The Competition[edit]

Hundreds of comedians each year submit applications to enter the contest. Of these, 32 are chosen to perform in one of two week-long preliminary rounds. In these prelims, comedians perform sets of 5 to 7 minutes in length and the top five from each preliminary round move on to the semi-finals.

The semi-final round is another week of shows, with the 10 semi-finalists performing sets of 10 to 12 minutes. From this group, five finalists are chosen.

Finalists must prove themselves in yet another week of shows, this time performing sets ranging in length from 12 to 15 minutes.

Penalties are assessed for comedians who go over or under the time constraints.[2]

The performances are judged on the following criteria: Material, Stage Presence, Delivery, Technique, Audience Response, Audience Rapport, and the judges' "Gut Feeling" about the performer. Typically, the judges, who are different at each event, are previous competitors, members of the media, talent agents/scouts and representatives from the performance venue. There is also an extra point awarded given by the audience through their applause after a comedian's performance. If the audience gives a ten-count of enthusiastic applause, the extra point is awarded.[3]

Venues are varied and wide-ranged to ensure that the performers can play to all types of audience and have included bars, clubs, casinos, colleges, theatres and more.[4]

Previous winners[edit]

Year Winner Runners-Up
2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1976 Bill Farley Robin Williams Bob Sarlatte Mark Miller Mitch Krug
1977 Dana Carvey Gil Christner A. Whitney Brown Bill Farley Mark McCollum
1978 Mark McCollum Marty Cohen Jack Marion Mitch Krug Darryl Henriques
1979 Marsha Warfield Mike Davis Dana Carvey Michael Winslow A. Whitney Brown
1980 Michael Pritchard Denny Johnston James Wesley Jackson Bobby Slayton Jack Marion
1981 Ronn Lucas Bob Dubac John Fox Barry Sobel Dr. Gonzo
1982 Jim Samuels Kevin Pollak Jack Gallagher Will Durst Carrie Snow
1983 Will Durst Leland Brown D. Alan Moss Dr. Gonzo Ray Hanna
1984 Doug Ferrari Mark Pitta Paul Kelly Joe Alaskey D. Alan Moss
1985 Sinbad Ellen DeGeneres Evan Davis Steve Kravitz Steven Pearl
1986 Jake Johannsen Eddy Strange Rich Ceisler Milt Abel Dana Gould
1987 Warren Thomas Rick Reynolds Rob Becker Tom Kenny Rob Schneider
1988 Mike Dugan Brian Haley Billy Elmer Jeffrey Jena Tree
1989 Dexter Madison Mark Curry Dan St. Paul Henry Cho Denny Johnston
1990 Christopher Collins Nick DiPaolo Matt Weinhold Karin Babbitt Warren Spottswood
1991 Don McMillan Tim Wiggins Barry Weintraub Rodney Johnson Louis C.K.
1992 Johnny Steele Ngaio Bealum Maria Falzone Barry Weintraub T. Marni Vos
1993 Carlos Alazraqui Marc Maron Stephen B. Rick Kerns Patton Oswalt
1994 Jackie Flynn Rick Kerns Wild Willie Parsons Roger Rittenhouse Karlton Johnson
1995 Doug Stanhope Dane Cook Dwight Slade Paul Nardizzi J.R. Brow
1996 David Crowe Jerry Miner Milt Abel Mike Uryga John Alston
1997 James Inman Chris McGuire Don Friesen Bobby Tessel James P. Connolly
1998 Vinnie Favorito James P. Connolly Mickey Joseph Ralphie May Scott Silverman
1999 Don Friesen Robert Duchaine Paul D'Angelo John Alston Daniel Packard
2000 Danny Bevins Darryl Lennox Dave Russo Ron Osbourne Rick D'Elia
2001 Bengt Washburn Auggie Smith Robert Mac Floyd J. Phillps Dave Burleigh
2002 Gerry Dee Vargus Mason Dobie Maxwell Chris Mata Arlo Stone
2003 Rob Pue Joe Klocek Darryl Lennox Lamont Ferguson Rob Little
2004 Jim Short Eric Schwartz Nathan Trenholm Sadiki Fuller Tommy Savitt
2005 Don Friesen Dave Burleigh Cain Lopez Kevin Avery Floyd J. Phillips
2006 Jay Wendell Walker Leo Flowers Mo Mandel Mike E. Winfield Dylan Mandelsohn
2007 Paul Ogata David Van Avermaete Mike Baldwin Dennis Gaxiola Kellen Erskine
2008 Steve White Derek Lengwenus Tyler Boeh Brent Weinbach Leif Skyving
2009 Tom Simmons Danny Bevins Maureen Langan Jarrod Harris Rodger Lizaola
2010 Auggie Smith Tony Dijamco Sammy Obeid Kurt Swann Solomon Georgio
2011 Sean Kent Alex Koll Sal Calanni John Hastings AJ Finney
2012 Tony Baker Mike Merryfield Prashanth Venkataramanujam The Greg Wilson Dave Williamson
2013 Samuel J. Comroe Brendan Lynch Drennon Davis Sterling Scott Matthew Broussard
2014 Kabir Singh Dan Gabriel Lars Callieou John McClellan Kurt Weitzmann
2015 Myles Weber Pat Burtscher Stuart Thompson Rodger Lizaola Ken Garr
2016 Alex Elkin Trenton Davis Mitch Burrow Ehsan Ahmad Chris Griffin
2017 Ellis Rodriguez Tyrone Hawkins Mark Smalls Matt McClowry Chris Bennett
2018 Dave Nihill Cristian Machado Dauood Naimyar Mike Baldwin Kris Tinkle
2019 Sterling Scott Gina Stahl-Haven Anthony K Pauline Yasuda Clay Newman
2021 Ryan Goodcase James Hancock III Chelsea Bearce Orion Levine Ian Levy
2022 Chris Riggins Wyatt Cote Mario Hodge Max Eddy Joe Abousakher
2023 Gary Anderson Luca Cupani Marcus Williams Paco Romane Chad Opitz


Marsha Warfield, in 1979, became the competition's first African-American winner and its first female winner. She is also the only woman to win in the entire history of the SFICC.

Among the big names who entered, but did not advance to the semi-finals are Roseanne Barr, Janeane Garofalo, Bobcat Goldthwait, Christopher Titus and D.L. Hughley.

Don Friesen won in 1999 and again in 2005, making him the only person to have won the competition more than once.

Paul Ogata's win in 2007 was the first by an Asian-American comedian in 32 years of the competition.

After 44 years of holding the event annually, the competition did not run during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition returned in 2021.


  1. ^ The State Hornet, October 5, 2005: Comedians Compete For A $10,000 Prize[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ September 15, 2006: SF Comedy Event Comes To Antioch[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ " September 16, 2008: San Francisco Stand-Up Comedy Competition at the Empire". Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  4. ^ September 15, 2006: SF Comedy Event Comes To Antioch[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]