The third annual Mardi Gras Comedy Challenge kicks off Thursday as the field begins to narrow.
They are vying for the chance to open for Craig Shoemaker and win $5K during the casino's Grandstand Finale in November. The 40 funniest contestants from the auditions will move on to the Showcase rounds. From there, just 20 contestants will advance to the four semifinal rounds.
Tickets start at $10 for Showcase and Semi-Final rounds. Grandstand Finale tickets start at $20. All tickets are on sale and can be purchased online at www.mardigrascasinofl.com.
Shoemaker was named Comedian of the Year by the American Comedy Awards on ABC, and his half-hour Comedy Central special has been voted by viewers as one of the network's "Top 20" stand-up specials of all time. Feature film credits include Scream 2 and co-starring opposite Patrick Stewart in Safe House.
Inspired by his children, Craig has also published two hit children's books, now in their third printing, entitled "What You Have Now...What Your Daddy Had Then" and "What You Have Now... What Your Mommy Had Then."
In 2004, Craig opened a comedy compound and retail outlet inspired by his nonprofit organization LaughterHeals.org. The Laughter Store (www.thelaughterstore.com) is a place to find all things funny - pranks & gags, CDs, books, DVDs - anything to make you laugh!
The schedule is as follows:
Showcase September 26-27 Time: 8 pm
October 3-4 Time: 8 pm
The 10 contestants each night will be videotaped and the videos placed at MardiGrasCasino.com for online wild card voting. 20 contestants will move forward (5 for each round).
Venue: Jokers Wild Comedy Club and Bar
Round 1: Oct 10-11 Time: 8 pm 5 Comedians Headliner- Angel Salazar
Round 2 Oct 17-18 Time: 8 pm 5 Comedians Headliner- Louis Ramey
Round 3 Oct 24-25 Time: 8 pm 5 Comedians Headliner- Lisa Landry
Round 4 Oct 31 & Nov Time: 8 pm 5 Comedians Headliner- LA Hardy
Finals Nov 7-8 Time: 8 pm 4 Comedians + Wild Card Headliner- Bobby Collins
Main Event Nov 16 Time: 8 pm Grandstand Headliner- Craig Shoemaker