Arlington — If you follow local comedy news at all, you might’ve seen the acronym FCiT floating around recently. That stands for Funniest Comic in Texas, which concluded its 2017 quarterfinal round last week.
Thirteen comics took the stage on Nov. 15 for one of the quarterfinals at the Arlington Improv, one of several DFW quarterfinal rounds split between Addison and Arlington.
The sets were solid from each comedian—DFW is poised to becoming a formidable proving ground for standups—and there was little in the way of racist/homophobic/transphobic humor, although that little bit was still too much (*cough cough* Hogan Allcorn).
One comic to take the stage was Steve Herndon, whose claim to fame is his progeny, standup wunderkind Saffron Herndon. Steve, however, is a solid comic in his own right and is ready to establish a name of himself outside of his daughter.
“My daughter has competed a few times,” said Herndon. “I didn't compete in the last few FCIT's. I wanted to give my attention to helping her prepare. No, it wasn't that I was scared of being beat by my daughter! Well, maybe. This year seemed like a good year for a healthy competition between Saffron and me.”
Herndon’s set was enjoyably conversational, and he interacted with the audience a good deal more than the other comedians. There’s a reason for that. “When the crowd feels that you are interacting they respond better. They can tell when a person is just on stage repeating memorized jokes. It is a tough leap to make. Improvisation classes really helped me learn to be comfortable in front of an audience. They are just people. Most want to see you do good.”
In the end, three semifinalists were chosen by fan vote of attendees, via a web survey. Moving on from this round will be Lawrence Rosales, Luis Juarez, and Steve Gammill. My own favorite, LaRon Wright, was eliminated—but remember the name.
Such competitions are typically popularity contests, and this was no exception. Make no mistake: Steve Gammill’s set was hilarious and he deserves to move on. But his intro applause was so overwhelming that he was always destined to advance.
The next local semifinal will take place at Arlington Improv on Nov. 22. The finals will be in Houston on Dec. 6.