Comedies always gets snubbed at award shows. They get beat at the Oscars by stuffy British films no one's ever seen. When the Grammys airs on TV, the comedy category barely gets a mention during the recap. There used to be an annual American Comedy Awards, but it isn't around anymore.
The first Texas Comedy Awards will be given out this Sunday at Hyena's Comedy Nightclub and several of Dallas' best comedians are on the nomination list.
Comedian Marvin Michaels organized the awards nomination process and ceremony for what he hopes will become an annual tradition for Texas comedians.
"There was a post on Facebook paying homage to all the hard work comics put in during the last year," Michaels says. "So I said let's do some nominations, give away some awards and make it a legit thing."
Several of the names on the nomination list are from Dallas, such as Wes Corwin, who has three nominations for Male Comic, Writer and Comic's Comic of the Year; Monna, who has two nominations for Best Female and "Go Getter" Hustler Comic of the Year; and Joel Runnels, who has two nods for Best Male and Best Social Media Comedian. Some other familiar names with nominations include Maggie Maye, Paul Varghese, CJ Starr, Hannah Vaughn, Aaron Aryanpur, Dexter C. Givens Jr., Comedian Q and Lamar Jones.
Some of the nominated comedians say they are honored to be included in such a storied list of fellow comics.
"It’s an honor to have been nominated for these awards," says Monna, who runs the STFU Open Mic show at the Twilight Lounge in Fort Worth at 8 p.m. Tuesdays. "Jerry Seinfeld once said to keep your head up in failure and your head down in success. I do what I do because I love it, but it is nice to be recognized for talent and hard work. I really appreciate the nomination, and it‘s incredibly validating to feel seen within my community."
"As a comic, I'm ecstatic to be counted among the other nominees for each award category," says Corwin who was also named by the Dallas Observer as last year's comedian of the year. "I'd love to take home an award or two, but competition is way too fierce and I'm a huge fan of all the other nominees."
Michaels says he hopes the awards will bring more attention to local comedy communities and venues across the state. The list of nominations also include categories for venues like the Dallas Comedy House, the Arlington Improv and Hyena's Dallas and comedy shows like the Truth in Comedy series, the Standup Roundup Fest, Comedian Q's We Got Next Comedy Series and the Plano Comedy Festival.
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"It's a true honor to be nominated for the first ever Texas Comedy Awards," Runnels says. "I try to stay so busy working, I never thought about winning any award. It's exciting."
Michaels says he hopes the awards don't just honor great talent throughout the state, but it motivates both comedians and audiences to grow their respective comedy communities.
"We wanted to bring attention to the art of stand-up in the area and give a boost to local comics," Michaels says. "We hope it gets them to work a little harder and get the recognition they deserve and get the awards themselves to grow and open it up a little more across the board."
The Texas Comedy Awards will be at 7 p.m. Sunday at Hyena's Comedy Nightclub in Dallas located at 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane. The show is free with a $5 donation to cover some show costs.