Comedy champions crowned

Samantha Arnold

The Grand River Room was packed Friday night, with Grand Valley State University faculty, students and staff lining the walls and filling the floor in the Grand River Room to watch GVSU’s funniest take the stage in the Last Laker Standing finals.

The five finalists – junior Jason Flannery and seniors Greg Kort, Ryan McKernan, Greg Monahan and Laura Wizniuk – delivered their strongest material in hopes of defeating the competition’s reigning champion, Greg Kort, who won in 2009 and 2010.

Kort bested his comedic competition for the third year in a row and took home the first place prize, an Xbox Kinect.

“I related to the audience and made them as uncomfortable as possible,” he said.

Monahan won the second-place prize, a 26-inch flat-screen television.

“I didn’t (win), but I do GVSU jokes, and everybody tends to relate to that,” Monahan said. “It makes it hit hometown.”

McKernan took home third place and an HD digital Flip camera.

“The crowd was very forgiving. I forgot a line and they still laughed,” McKernan said. “If the crowd has fun, you have fun.”

McKernan’s routine included a joke about suffering and soda.

“I don’t believe in the eternal suffering kind of hell,” he said. “Instead, I propose a more petty kind of suffering. Like, you get a year’s supply of soda. But it’s ginger ale. And it’s diet.”

The lights dimmed at the top of the show, and the microphone turned on as laughter filled the room. The audience applauded the warm-up comedian Pete Dominick, who has appeared on CNN and has an XM Sirius talk radio show. Dominick, who has been involved with Last Laker standing for five years, returned to GVSU after missing the competition in 2010.

“I know Allendale’s boring, so if you’re not boat or tractor shopping, you’re writing jokes,” he said.

Dominick said he recommends the competition to those who want to pursue comedy seriously.

“I think if you really, really have a strong desire to do it, then you should try for it,” he said. “It’s just so hard to do. You can’t be concerned about failing.”

The contest was marked with a crowd full of laughter. After the student-comedians performed, the audience and three judges cast their votes to decide the top three competitors.

The top competitors recommended the competition to other GVSU students and faculty.

“It’s the best show on GVSU campus all year,” Monahan said. “There isn’t another show that gets more of a crowd or as big of a turnout as this one.”

For more information regarding the Last Laker Standing or to audition for next year’s competition, contact [email protected]

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