By Mark Ciemicoch
After 68 people went up on stage determined to make a crowded room laugh the hardest, only six comedians are left standing in the third annual “Buffalo’s Funniest Person” contest at Helium Comedy Club (30 Mississippi St.). One comic will win $1,200 during the finals, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday.
In addition to the money, Wednesday’s winner will likely see a career boost, as Helium often uses local acts to host or perform during shows featuring national headliners. The previous two winners – Josh Potter and Rick Matthews – are regulars at the comedy club and have also been booked for out-of-town dates.
“Certainly the person who wins the contest has a good credit and a likely chance at work from Helium,” said Helium general manager Andrew Kulaszewski.
The winners will be determined by a judges panel, a mix of local media personalities and audience members chosen by Helium staff. The second-place winner of the contest will receive $300 and free promotional headshots; third place wins a prize package.
This year’s finalists are:
Brian Herberger, 32, Allentown resident who began his standup career in 2001;
Zack Johnson, a comedian from Rochester;
Jameel Key, 36, a four-year comedy veteran who lives in Buffalo;
Phil Machemer, 28, a North Buffalo resident who has performed comedy on and off for five years;
Tyrone Maclin, 39, a Buffalo native and eight-year comedy veteran;
Kyle Turner, 27, a Buffalo resident who has performed comedy for four years.
Tickets for the show are $15-$23 (box office, heliumcomedy.com).