In a packed Addison Improv showroom, the Funniest Comic in Texas Contest, a competition that sprawled over multiple rounds going all the way back to October, crowned its winner, Dallas comedian Wes Corwin.
The finals, held Dec. 12, were a showdown of comedians from all over the state, hosting both a mixture of DFW comedians and representatives from Austin, Houston and San Antonio. After each performer finished his or her set and votes were tallied, three DFW comedians took top honors. Corwin came in first place and won $1,500. Dan Danzy was second, and Lawrence Rosales holds the third-place trophy.
This has been a busy and successful year for Corwin. His work ethic, talent and respect from his peers led us to name him Best Comedian 2018. When not onstage working on his own material, he’s providing spaces for others, hosting open mics and showcases from J & J’s Pizza in Denton, to Noble Rey Brewing Co. in the Design District. And when he’s giving his feet and car a break, he hosts a podcast, When Keeping It Real Goes Rob. All the more impressive is that Corwin has only been a presence in Dallas for about two years.
Corwin started comedy seven years ago in Austin, making destinations like Cap City Comedy Club his home when the sun set. It was there that he learned to refine his unique perspective on comedy into a successful stage act.
“I used to be very alt,” Corwin says. “I used to be doing weird experiments, and I was very influenced by Emo Phillips and Brent Weinbach but before I understood how joke structure worked. So now I have a lot more traditional jokes, but it comes from a base of still exploring and being experimental but actually still is funny, which is an important thing.”
After four years in Austin and a year in Memphis, Corwin made his way to Dallas. In those seven years, Corwin has seen stand-up comedy change a great deal. Seven years ago topics that would have been considered acceptable in a nightclub environment are now widely agreed to be insensitive. Having performed and written stand-up in three cities, Corwin appreciates the changes and also acknowledges a cycle that repeats itself in pop culture.
“I think more people from different groups are getting opportunities and that’s great,” Corwin says. “And the flip side is people claiming, ‘Oh man, we can’t talk about these topics.’ I don’t think people’s sense of humor is going down in a linear fashion — there’s an ebb and flow to it. Like the '80s and '90s when people would call you a satanist for playing D&D and listening to metal. And then that led to that period where in the 2000s, South Park could joke about anything and we were all relieved by it. And now we’re on the other side of it where people are offended, and it’s going to come back up. I think people’s tastes ebb and flow.”
Outside of writing for the stage, Corwin has been a consistent contributor to the humor site Cracked, where he has worked on articles, such as "5 Times Video Games Tackled Mature Issues (And Failed Hard)." Corwin originally sought out writing for the site as a way to nab a credit for use in promoting his stand-up but found it to be a useful tool in advancing his skills. He attributes working with a team of editors who are constantly giving feedback to refine a joke or idea as a vital influence on the success of his writing for a live audience.
Corwin has achieved an immense amount of success in each city he’s taken residence in, and for the future he hopes to continue that trend.
“In two or three years I’d love to move to LA,” Corwin says. “I’d love to give it the ol’ try. Go into the big city where people supposedly make it. Try to make it. I’d love to blow up, but a couple steps below that I’d also love to just write for a show in a comedic fashion. The dream that I’ve had since I started is making enough money to live off doing comedy. If I did that, I would be the happiest person on the planet.”