“The thing about comedy is there are no overnight successes,” Word said.
According to Word, he and the comics are always happy to receive the attention the contest brings.
“You don’t go into comedy if you don’t love exposure,” Word said.
Unlike some comedy competitions, this one searches specifically for Orange County talent.
The jokesters have to either live in or have been born in Orange County. Word said his idea was to give local talent a venue where they can be seen above the usual crop of Los Angeles comics.
“I wanted to do something that would highlight O.C. comedians,” Word said.
But some comics get much more than exposure. For a comic who wins, the title may help launch a budding comedy career.
Geoff Keith grew up in El Toro and won the 2005 contest.
Keith said winning the title was a jump-start for his career. Keith has toured with one of the masters of comic voices, Pablo Francisco, as well as appeared on Francisco’s one-hour Comedy Central special, “Ouch!” Keith also appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live from Gotham,” a program that showcases up and coming joke artists.
“Winning the title had everything to do with it,” Keith said.
When Keith began working in Los Angeles clubs, Orange County’s Funniest Person was the entirety of his resume.
Keith said he would be introduced in Los Angeles venues as Orange County’s Funniest Comic and get jabs for coming from behind the Orange Curtain. Keith would gently remind them that few people in show biz are actually from Los Angeles.
“It’s like, ‘Well where are you from, Kansas?’” Keith said.