Last night in front of a packed crowd of more than 260 people at Rumor's Comedy Club, Oswald won the title in a contest between nine finalists.
"An acknowledgment like this is a real incentive to keep on writing comedy," says Oswald, who flew back from the TV Critic's Tour in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon, using up a lot of Aeroplan points, he notes, to attend the competition. He hopped back on a plane at 9 a.m. today "to get back to some serious TV watching."
Oswald, who has tried his hand at comedy on and off over the past seven years, had the crowds rolling with a routine centred on his enviable day job and some self-deprecating humour about growing older.
And not only does he have the title of funniest Winnipegger to his credit, the grand prize for winning the competition is an expense-paid trip to Toronto, where he will perform at several comedy clubs.
Over the past eight weeks, 42 Winnipeggers competed in preliminary competitions at the comedy club. The other finalists competing last night included real estate agent Rob Bruneau, DJ Tyler Gardener, cable installer Kelly Irvine, bartender Dean Sabo, nurse Tracy Szumlak, University of Manitoba education student Kelly Lowen, sports medicine doctor Ondrej Pacin, and Ceridian Canada manager Lori Mitchell.
The competition was hosted by New York comedian Billy Jaye (he's appeared on Law and Order, and on Late Night with Conan O'Brian) who, of course, couldn't resist poking fun at Winnipeg and Canada.
He made fun of everything from our infamous winters, to our mosquitoes and our reputation as cheapskates.
"You think you have your own country, that's so cute," was the line that got the most groans and chuckles from the audience. But Jaye was serious about giving accolades to all of the city's funny folk who got up on stage last night.
"You have no idea how scary this was for everyone, so they all deserve a big round of applause."
The contest was so popular that Rumor's owner Ross Rumberg planned to do another call for Winnipeg's funniest people with day jobs, possible next September.