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BRIAN MCKIM has performed standup comedy in all 50 states. He earned a B.A. in Magazine Journalism from Temple University. Any resemblance to a living person is purely coincidental.


Brian McKim
Editor In Chief

"Hell No,
We Won't Go!"

It's February, a month that should be a big one for Standup Comedy. (That's not a typo--that's capital "S" and capital "C," as in Standup Comedy, the business, the art, the institution.) This is the month when the American Comedy Awards holds it's annual bash in Los Angeles.

SHECKY! was all set to go and cover the ceremony. We were all set to upload an update on the winners just as soon as we could get back to our hotel room. We had intended to provide our readers with the kind of backstage, wiseass, fuzzy-Polaroid-enhanced coverage that we pioneered at the Just For Laughs Festival this past July. Our focus, as always was on the standup comics. But a funny thing happened: The American Comedy Awards cut out the category that specifically honored standup comics!

In the 13-year history of the ACA, these two categories were variously called "Standup Comic Audience Award," "Comedy Club Standup Comic Of The Year" and "Funniest Male/Female Comic." Throughout the years, they have been the object of some intense lobbying efforts on the part of agents, managers and the comics themselves, as a win would certainly give one's career a kick in the ass (not to mention an appearance on national television). But, for some strange reason, the folks at George Schlatter Productions have decided not to honor the standup comics this year. Oh, sure, the Ray Romano's and the Drew Carey's of the entertainment world will be nominated for their acting in their wildly successful television series (and, rightfully so, as they are talented and successful). But the folks slugging it out in the trenches, the comics who are appearing at a comedy club near you, will be passed over.

We were in contact with the Schlatter people for months. We wanted to provide SHECKY! readers with news of the nominees as soon as they were announced. And, because we were regarded as "press," we were even afforded the opportunity to nominate people in the various categories (a rare thrill!). However, when we phoned the GSP offices last week, we were told "we aren't doing those categories this year." We were stunned. Our enthusiasm disappeared.

The elimination of the categories is especially puzzling when we consider that standup is back on a healthy track. And if you dismantle that giant machine that is network television the little hamster on the wheel is quite often a standup comic (Ray Romano, Drew Carey, David Spade, Norm MacDonald, Bill Cosby and Kevin James are all at or near the top of a show that is at or near the top of the ratings heap). And, in a story carried on the wires last month, monster agency CAA said, in the person of "television executive" Sonya Rosenfeld that "Drama has been the big winner (this season)...but people know that it's always a cycle. And as the cycle turns back over to comedy, everyone wants to be the person charging ahead of the pack."

And, while we're quoting people, we should quote Mr. Schlatter himself who says, in the glossy ACA souvenir scrapbook that's handed out to attendees, "Of all the awards, the Stand-up Comic Audience Award is our favorite. It is a chance to honor the performers who spend much of their careers developing their craft and working in the comedy clubs all over America." How about that?! That was our favorite award, too!

Inexplicably, the feature that separated the ACA from the rest of the award fests has been amputated. Honoring the club comics was the one thing that kept this awards show charging ahead of the pack. For those of you playing at home, that would be George Schlatter bringing up the rear. HOME Back to the Top