Less than two months ago, Lisa Evanson thought that COVID-19 had effectively eliminated her from Acme’s Funniest Person Contest. But last night, she was able to bounce back and win the title, bragging rights, and the grand prize of $1,000.
“I did the prelims at Acme before I got COVID, but then I had to forfeit my semifinal spot. So I thought I was done,” she says. “Once I was asymptomatic, I emailed and asked if there were any last-minute slots that I could still get. I ended up getting the last possible slot at like 10:30 on Friday.”
Now in its 29th year, the contest runs each summer with hundreds of funny would-be comedians doing their best to impress the crowd and judges. Despite Acme’s reduced capacity, this year’s contest still drew nearly 200 signups, with the final five advancing to last night’s finale.
A 28-year-old Brooklyn Park native, Evanson was the clear winner of the evening, managing to be funny, personal, and relatable all in just three minutes. Initially, however, she thought her comedy career would be more of a one-and-done.
“I did a bucket list open mic here [at Acme] when I was 19,” she recalls. “Fast-forward seven years and I had my second first time at Sisyphus. The first time my nerves were so bad, and I just figured I’d never do it again. The second time I watched my buddy [perform] and he didn’t do too well. Then I saw other comics bombing and the competitive side came out in me where I was like, ‘If they’re doing it so can I.’”
Since then, she's been seriously pursuing comedy for the past two years at open mics and comedy contests all over town (including one insane moment last summer when she fell off the stage at House of Comedy).
By winning last night’s contest final, Evanson joins a list of past winners including current Acme regulars Ali Sultan and Nate Nickel, as well as notable past participants like Mary Mack and (City Pages contributor) Bryan Miller.
As for her next steps, Evanson says she plans to keep performing (duh) but hopes to leave the “unpaid” part of comedy in the past.
“Every day I work in corporate America and think about avenues that I can pursue that are going to make me happier,” she says. “And [winning the contest] is one of those things.”
You can follow Evanson on Twitter@7isa.