After years of earning runner-up status, 38-year-old comedian Jameel Key took the crown of “Buffalo’s Funniest Person” during the finals of the fifth annual contest at Helium Comedy Club Wednesday night.
Key, who works as an auto parts salesman, has performed stand-up comedy regularly for several years. With his victory, Key wins $1,200 and an opportunity to perform on a major show at Helium. However, club manager Shawn Eckert said Key has emceed at Helium for some time and was just bumped up to feature status.
“I love him,” Eckert said. “He’s been one of our better comics. It’s cool to finally see him win.”
“I’m just relieved,” Key said. “Now I can sit back and enjoy the other Buffalo comics do their thing and worry about just getting better.”
Brandon Trusso won second place in the contest, while JJ Billingsley took third. Clayton Williams, Phil Machemer, Madelein Smith, Tyrone Maclin and Chris Plumer also made the finals, which began with 93 contestants in May.
To decide the winners, a group of judges evaluated each performer on stage presence, originality and audience reaction.