Port City's Top Comic calls his victory 'lucky' but it was deserved

Updated: Sep. 5, 2018 at 9:02 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Stand-up comedy's subjective nature renders the idea of a comedy competition a little bit ridiculous, but that doesn't mean winning one feels any less satisfying.

During his years of participating in Port City's Top Comic contest, Brian Piccolo has known the feeling of not doing well, finishing in the top three and this year, winning.

Piccolo won the Top Comic title on Sunday at Dead Crow Comedy Room and during an interview in the WECT Digital Studio on Wednesday afternoon, he said being the champ has changed his outlook on competitive comedy.

"Before I won, I thought it was completely ridiculous," Piccolo said. "Now I realize it's really the only true, scientific way to determine who is the best comic.

"No, I mean, you go in there and it's a roll of the dice. That show was loaded. Everybody there was fantastic and I just happened to get the right dice roll or the right coin flip. ... It was complete luck."

Piccolo's modesty is admirable, but in the finals, he was the clear winner even if his assessment of the other comedians is accurate. All 12 finalists had good sets before the audience vote resulted in Picollo's victory.

Billy Raim was second and Matt Coghlan took third.

Piccolo's set during Saturday's semifinal round closely mirrored the jokes he told on stage Sunday as he understandably wanted to not venture too far from the material that got him to the finals.

"I would kick myself if I changed everything and didn't do well," Piccolo said.

After starting comedy about 10 years ago in Charlottesville, Va., Piccolo has been in Wilmington for eight or nine years and recalled his less than stellar initial Port City's Top Comic effort.

"The first time, I was probably Port City's bottom comic," Picollo said. "I've made the finals all three times, but the first time it was at City Stage and it was horrendous. I did so bad. The second time, I finished third."

He likened winning this year's contest to standout moment from his days playing high school baseball.

"I rode the bench all of my junior year," Piccolo said. "In the district championship, coach told me to pinch hit and I hit a double off the wall. That was the second most shocking thing that's ever happened to me after what happened Sunday night. I don't remember walking off stage. I was over next to myself watching it all happen. It was a really crazy feeling."

While living in Washington, D.C., Piccolo said he cashed out his 401K to move back to Wilmington in part because of how much he loves the comedy scene here.

After joking that he doesn't feel support from his fellow comics — "not even a little bit" — Piccolo described how tight knit the scene really is.

"They say, 'Bring your friends to support you at Port City's Top Comic,'" Piccolo said. "I'm like, 'Well, all of them are performing at Port City's Top Comic.' I think a lot of that is fostered by the nature of the club, the ownership, the staff, the management. It's all fantastic and that trickles down to the comics being cool and the reason I moved back to Wilmington, to be honest with you."

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