Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Comedian Playoffs!

M and I were talking about a shag tournament the other night and we came up with the idea of a comedian playoff. It sounded like so much fun I had to try it.

It's your basic 64-team bracket. We came up with a list of more than 100 prospects. Primarily I wanted people who were stand-ups, but that's pretty hard to do since a lot of genuinely funny people don't do much or any of that.

And of course these things always generate outrage along the lines of "How could you exclude ___" or "How could so-and-so be seeded so low?"

For example, I excluded Robin Williams. Thing is, I thought of more than 100 people before I ever thought of him. He just doesn't do it for me.

I also excluded Andrew Dice Clay. Because he's Andrew Dice Clay. But I had him rated ahead of Robin Williams.

As for seeding, I figured my top four seeds were pretty obvious. Carlin, Pryor, Seinfeld... and Sam Kinison. That last one will probably get some detractors, but I saw this guy perform and he caused the audience to go into convulsions.

After that, I figured out who I thought were the top 64 contenders, and kind of arbitrarily ranked them.

I'm gonna roll out the bracket one-fourth at a time, and each matchup at a time. I don't want you impatient types jetting to the end. I also will just put down the matchups randomly. Vote here for your favorite, or e-mail me, or post to my FB page.

But mostly, take a few minutes to laugh. Our first matchup in Bracket 1:

No. 2 seed Woody Allen vs. No. 15 seed Mitch Hedberg.

Woody is now most known for NY/Jew-centric films and a rather unique love life. But before he became the Woodster he was a pretty clever standup. As evidenced here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G68QW7E3GEk&feature=related

Hedberg is one of those late 20th-century alt-comics who is known for his unusual delivery and wry subjects. Like a lot of hard-charging comics, he had a substance abuse problem, and heroin killed him in 2005. Here he is in Montreal at Just for Laughs in 1998.

In March Madness, only one or two 15 seeds have ever advanced. This shouldn't be one of those rare upsets, because Allen's portfolio is substantially more significant than Hedberg's. But do people know how great a comedian Allen was in his day?

Let the conversation begin.


  1. ARgh. Hedberg link here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC5fYlFpxmo&feature=related

  2. While Kaufman isn't in this matchup (but is in the competition), posting his name here is a Kaufman-esque sort of move. Well done.