If the first round of New Faces showcases at JFL, in a theater filled with mostly industry, was tough, the second round was a whole other challenge. The Wiggle Room is a very cool little venue with the unfortunate problem of having the bar very close to the stage, where they make craft cocktails that take about twenty minutes each and require numerous loud utensils. The fact that anyone was even paying attention, much less laughing, is an impressive feat every member of the group should be proud of.
The fact that a couple of the Group 1 comedians managed to have really great sets is even more impressive.
Of course Randy Liedtke had absolutely no problem. He's the winner of the "You're really gonna make this guy do New Faces now? You're not just going to skip him ahead?" award. He's a pro who should have been here years ago, so his material and confidence rose above the situation for the best set of the night. And it's extra impressive, because he's no one thing. He packed in joke jokes, "normal" bits, wordplay and a closing bit whose humor rested on constantly playing with the audience's expectations. And we were with him the whole time. I am a little disappointed I haven't heard about a fake JFL Twitter account, though.
John McKeever was the other standout whose presence and material kept the room at attention and laughing the whole time. His persona is accessible and relateable, which helped everyone connect with his just barely off center material. And I'm still giggling at his , "I saw a stripper yawn.. they're not supposed to do that!" bit.