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One-Liner Madness showcases local comedy talent


Across the street from Dry Heat Comedy Club at Launchpad, audiences gathered to watch sixty-four local comics compete in One-Liner Madness, a March Madness style competition, this past Sunday, Feb. 19. Comics went head-to-head to determine who had the best one-liners in the competition that was hosted by Dry Heat, as determined by audience applause.

The competition was founded in New York by comic and writer Emily Winter, who had the idea with her producing partner at the time, Larry Mancini, according to Dry Heat co-owner and comic Sarah Kennedy, who served as one of the judges of the competition alongside Winter and comic Chris Calogero.

“They were like, ‘how would we do that if it was a comedy show?’ The concept of 64 comedians in one night of comedy would murder a person — that’s too much comedy — unless it was something short and snappy,” Kennedy said. “They settled on one-liner jokes, which are very simple set-up/punchline…it’s an absolutely great way to see an absolute curse-word-house amount of comedians in one time and space.”

For the purposes of the competition, a one-liner was defined as a joke in less than three sentences — a rule the comics stuck to throughout the night.

Kennedy and co-owner Kelli Trapnell contacted Winter, who Kennedy had met in her time in New York, to arrange bringing the show to Albuquerque. This comes after it has played at comedy clubs and festivals around the country. The availability of sixty-four comics speaks to the strength of the local comedy scene, according to Kennedy.

“As we started booking the show, it became apparent that we had not only 64 comedians, but lots more than that. We actually have more than 64 comedians ready to go … We've got a series of alternates that are also gonna be there, ready to go in case somebody needs to be replaced …There's lots and lots of comedy and it's exciting to see because having a home for it at Dry Heat, having a scene that was already full of people working really hard has just meant more and more people are finding (comedy) and wanting to try it out themselves,” Kennedy said.

One newer addition to the Albuquerque stand-up community is Jake Otero, stand-up comedian and runner-up in the competition. Otero only started performing at open mics in May 2021, and has already become a force to be reckoned with in the community, according to competition winner Joshua Fournier.

“But Jake, man, I’m telling you, this kid is so new. I think I have four or five years on top of him, but the fact that he’s this good this quick is insane. He’s gotten to be a killer … someone to look out for for real in the future. These young guys, they’re coming up, (and) they’re killing,” Fournier said.

Of the final four comedians, three are relatively new to comedy — third and fourth place went to Chuck Parker and Kate Anella, who started stand-up in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Fournier, who won the competition, dedicated his victory to the Navajo nation.

“I’m a native kid from the four corners area, but I grew up in Albuquerque. There’s a few native comedians, but not really a lot in the mainstream, so I like that I can do any room and make people laugh… This one’s for the res, this one’s for the Navajo nation,” Fournier said.

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Part of the profits of the show went to supporting a bar build-out for the Club so they can serve alcohol to visitors. Dry Heat, which opened in June, has experienced a successful first six months, receiving a storefront grant from the city of Albuquerque and paying out over $20,000 to comedians and artists, according to Kennedy.

“It’s been really good for the art community and for the performers here. It’s been really nice to have a space for lots of different events — not just comedy shows, which are great for the audience, but also for the comedians to have a place to gather. We do workshops and all kinds of stuff there … however you would measure it, we are currently a success,” Kennedy said.

Otero and Fournier shared their appreciation for what Dry Heat has brought to the Albuquerque comedy community.

“It’s good because it’s a staple; we now have a place for comedy…There’s a lot of comedy fans in New Mexico, they just didn’t know Comedy was happening… Dry Heat is always going to be home base,” Fournier said.

More information about Albuquerque comedy can be found on Dry Heat’s website and at

Spenser Willden is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at or on Twitter @spenserwillden 

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