Who is the funniest celebrity in D.C.?

WASHINGTON — D.C. wonks aren’t necessarily known for their jokes, but an
upcoming comedy contest aims to dispel the image of the District as an un-
humorous city.

The 20th annual Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest features journalists
and politicos such as Matt Cooper of Newsweek, Americans for Tax Reform
founder and president Grover Norquist, Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page
and Dan Glickman of the Aspen Institute.

Participants have the opportunity to perform their own “topical” stand-up
comedy in front of a live audience. Their routines are judged by a panel
comprising other local celebs. Past judges included Patrick Gavin of POLITICO,
Chef Geoff Tracy and comedian Greg Poole.

The idea came to contest founder Richard Siegel in 1987. At the time, he was
working for the now-defunct Comedy Cafe in D.C. and wanted to create an event
to showcase local talent. But he wasn’t just on the hunt for comedians
— he wanted wonks, politicos and journalists to step up on stage and have a
chance to do their thing.

In the two decades since its founding, Siegel has hosted big names such as
former Republican
National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio),
former Sen. Joseph Lieberman and former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee:

Siegel has been “in hot pursuit” of certain D.C. heavyweights, but one of the
most memorable performances came in 2006 when Kucinich and
Gillespie performed a ventriloquist version of “Crossfire:”

Editor’s Note: Skip to 35:13 to see this skit

In the years since, the comedy contest has drawn
international attention as a place where otherwise-stiff personalities can
showcase their lighter side.

It’s a “good vehicle to help lighten their image,” Spiegel says.

In 2008, Huckabee won the comedy contest but lost his bid to be the Republican
contender against then-Sen. Barack Obama. He didn’t let the presidential flop
his big night on stage.

“It was nice to win something this year,” Huckabee told
Time magazine
. “My ego needed this.”

The Funniest Celebrity in Washington will be held Dec. 3 at National Public
Radio in Northeast D.C. Tickets are $35 to $200. Proceeds benefit a charity
organization of Spiegel’s choosing. Click here for more info.

Editor’s Note: WTOP is a sponsor and WTOP reporter Megan Cloherty is one of
the guest judges.

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