The winners of the 2013 Comedy Writing Contest were announced at the Boulder Writers’ Workshop Comedy Reading and Member Showcase on Saturday, January 18, 2014.
More than 70 people attended the afternoon event, which featured readings by the top-ten finalists. BWW members also displayed their books and hundreds of dollars worth of door prizes were given away. Michael DeBoer, BWW co-owner, emceed the event and Anna Schmidt, BWW advisory board member, served as the event hostess. The event was organized by Lori DeBoer, BWW director and founder, Dawn Virnig Rinken, BWW contest chair, and Michael Carson, BWW vice president.
The first-place winner was Christina Antus, Denver, Colorado, for her nonfiction essay “Gall-E-Gee.” Antus entered two pieces in the contest, both of which made the final cut. Antus lives in Denver with her husband, two daughters and grossly over-exaggerated cat—who is the size of a small planet. After the birth of her first daughter, she traded her career in multimedia/web design for a full time role at home with her kids. These days she’s project managed by two toddlers who have high standards and expectations for Play-Doh sculptures, couch forts, and tea parties. When she’s not forgetting to feed the goldfish, neglecting laundry, or avoiding the grocery store, she’s writing and making mediocre meals for her family. Read her blog at www.raisinsandgoldfish.com.
The second-place winner was Ellen Nordberg, for her nonfiction essay, “Please Don’t Ask Me to Feed Your Cat.” Her articles and funny essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, The Huffington Post, Parade.com, Boulder Lifestyle, American Fitness and Adventure Cyclist. She lives in Louisville where she proudly teaches water aerobics and makes a futile attempt to keep up with her ten-year-old twins. You can find her blog “Treading the Twin Tsunami” at www.ellennordberg.com.
The third-place winner was Jessica Fishman, for her nonfiction essay, “The Princess in the Bomb Shelter.” Fishman, who recently returned to live in Israel from Colorado, is the author of the forthcoming memoir, Chutzpah in High Heels: the Search for Love and Identity in the Holy Land. The memoir is about how a Jewish woman who grew up in the Midwest searches for love and identity in another country. She also has the popular blog, the Aliyah Survival Blog. Learn more about her at www.jessicafishmanauthor.com.
The other finalists were: Becky Clark, Michelle Norton, Eliza Cross, Dave Kelly and Karen Albright Lin. The initial round of judging was done by Maureen Judge, Monica Fritsch and Jean Rosecrans.
Gene Perret, nationally-known comedy writer, did the final judging.
“Your entire organization, especially the contest finalists, should be proud of the submissions to your humor writing contest,” wrote Perret in a letter to the BWW. “Usually judging any sort of competition is a chore. Judging this one was a delight. Each article prompted satisfying smiles, chuckles, and even a few guffaws. Bellhy laughs are not uncommon in a crowded theatre, but rather unusual for a person reading alone in a quiet room and weighed down with the responsibility of naming a winner. It didn’t matter, though. I belly laughed anyway. Sincere belly laughs are even more scarce when the person doing the reading in that quiet room is a comedy writer who didn’t write the comedy.”
Perret added: “That’s not to say that the task was easy. It was enjoyable, but far from easy. All of the submissions I read were well-organized, well-written, and entertaining. The reading was pleasant, but the decision making was challenging. It was a pity to have to limit the prize winners to first, second and third place only.”
Perret has been a comedy writer since the early 1960s and wrote for well-known comedians like Slappy White and Phyllis Diller. He’s been a television comedy writer and producer since 1968. Perret has earned seven Emmy nominations, including one for original music, and two Writer’s Guild Award nominations. He won three Emmy awards and one Writer’s Guild Award as part of the Carol Burnett Show writing staff. Perret produced “Welcome Back, Kotter,” “Three’s Company,” and “The Tim Conway Show.” Perret also worked on Bob Hope’s writing staff for 28 years, spending many of those years as Hope’s head writer. Perret’s many books on writing include The New Comedy Writing Step by Step and Write Your Book Now! For more information, visit www.comedywritersroom.com.
Thanks to the following BWW Professional Members for donating door prizes:
- Judith Robbins Rose, (www.jrrose.net), for a bottle of her own label blackberry cabernet, Judy’s Booty;
- Lynda Hilburn, (www.lyndahilburnauthor.com) for a signed set of books from her Vampire Shrink series;
- Gail Storey (www.gailstorey.com), for a signed copy of her memoir, I Promise Not to Suffer, A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail;
- Peter Eichstaedt (www.petereichstaedt.com) for donating a set of four of his books on international affairs;
- Dale Boyd (www.oldrascal.net) for a signed copy of his novel Reflections in a Mirror;
- Carolyn Rose Hart (www.stepupstepoutcoaching.com), for coaching sessions;
- Lori DeBoer (www.lorideboer.net), for donating a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble and a package of five coaching hours.