Ricky Perry makes cut in NBC's "Last Comic-in-Chief Standing"

by Krystal Claire Waters

Nov. 4, 2011, Manchester, NH — Texas Governor Ricky Perry is still in the running to be named NBC's "Last Comic-in-Chief Standing."

He received a standing ovation from about half the audience and all three judges after performing his "I Ain't Drunk" routine last week, and now he is leading the competition after Thursday's results show.

"Governor Perry was fabulous," said judge Hugh Moore Wriszt, "especially for his first televised stand-up. His fantastic facial expressions reminded me of Jim Carey. And I loved how he dropped his dry, dull persona and took on the appearance of the village idiot."

The National Bureau of Comedians (NBC) offers a four-year gig, a handsome compensation package, and more than 1,200 public appearances for the winner of the quadrennial competition.

The last winner was Hawaii-born Barry O. Baummeh, who drew from the pain he experienced after being abandoned by his hippie mother and bigamous African father and his years spent learning Islam in Indonesian elementary schools. Baummeh's win has made him a wealthy man. Though he has never held an ordinary job, he now controls an estate that has ballooned to at least $10.5 million, placing him in the top 1% of the top 1% of income earners in the U.S.

As the previous winner did, Perry relied chiefly on political humor to gain the favor of the three "Last Comic-in-Chief Standing" judges and the largely supportive audience. His gestures, expressions, mock accents and unconventional use of the English language drew raves from the panel.

"I had watched Ricky perform before," said judge Jesse Turr, "and he always had seemed to be tense, angry, confused and clueless. But this time he was simply masterful. He almost had me convinced that he was either drunk, on drugs or out of his mind. He would make an excellent Comic-in-Chief."

Judge William Ayers, who mentored Baummeh before he entered the 2007-'08 competition, said Perry shows promise as a standup comic.

"I can easily see him drawing laughs wherever he appears," Ayers said. "When he gets in his Crazy Ricky character, he's really convincing as a drunken fool. He's clearly the competitor to beat right now."

Skinnyreporter polled the audience for their reactions to Perry's routine, but fewer than 10 percent said they would vote for him to appear in the finals.

"His interaction with the other competitors just grated on me," said observer William O. Ryley. "He probably thought it was funny when he poked fun of Willard and the Pizza Guy. But I just thought he was being mean."

Other audience members laughed so hard that tears came to their eyes. Dennis Miller, visiting from Pittsburgh, said Perry's act sent him into a paroxysm of orgasmic laughter, reminding him of Baummeh's first speech as winner.

Perry said that if he wins the competition he will insist that the Congressional Congress of Comics charge a flat fee for tickets to comedic shows and scrap its current practice of charging higher rates to high-income attendees.

Judge Rhea N. Carnation said Perry's routine was refreshing and stood out from the jokes recited by fellow competitors. She said she never understood the Pizza Guy's joke about electrocuting Latinos.

She said Perry should not rest on his laurels, however, because Pakistan-born competitor Rahmp Ahl, who has consistently placed in the bottom three, has asked comedian Jon Stewart to polish his routines.

Editor's note: Be sure to check out the links above to get the full picture behind this story.

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