Tom Simmons
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Tom Simmons

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
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The best kept secret in music


"2009 Finalists"

SAN FRANCISCO — Television roles and movie stardom
have come to dozens of past finalists in the San Francisco
International Comedy Competition. Kevin Pollak placed
second. So did Ellen DeGeneres, Dane Cook and the long
time king of San Francisco comedy, Robin Williams.
Tom Simmons knew the history. It was no shame to be runnerup
in the 34th Annual San Francisco International Stand-Up Comedy
Competition. First place, however, not only sounded better but at
$7,500, the check for winning was nearly twice as big as the one for
coming in second.
So the stand-up from Greensboro, N.C. with 15 years
performance experience under his belt was more than thrilled when
he edged Los Angeles veteran and past winner Danny Bevins for the
title. Simmons and Bevins were consistently in the first three show
after show (with occasion interruptions by upstart Jarrod Harris) in
the 20-performance event and it was a race to the end.
When host Jack Gallagher broke the news in front of a sold-out
last-night crowd at Cache Creek Casino in the remote town of Brooks
-- about an hour and a half northwest of San Francisco -- "I was
relieved and excited," Simmons deadpanned. "I knew whichever of us
came out in front on the last night was going to come out in front
“I had gone first and had a good set but felt like his set was
incredible and connected. I gotta be honest; I thought he caught me.
So, when I realized I was the winner I was thrilled and at the same
time felt bad for my friend."
After getting home two days later, Simmons said he was
confident throughout the event but wary of judges who may have
been swayed by Bevins' hard-edged comedy vs. Simmons' take on
family life.
"I wasn't sure," the winner said. "I had been paying attention to
the numbers and now I was in great shape because I had been
consistent all week. I knew if I went on stage and performed the
jokes with everything I had that I would be hard to I just
rehearsed and tweaked the set, tightening it and then tried to go on
and perform. After the set, waiting for everyone else to finish was
Producer Jon Fox wasn't surprised Simmons emerged victorious
“Most people relate to his common themes of childbirth and child
raising, but he presents his stuff with so many different takes and
such a pleasing persona, the audience becomes spellbound."
The entire competition takes the contestants on a 3,000-mile
jaunt throughout Northern California with brief touchdowns in Nevada
and, for the first time ever this year, Oregon.
"From the beginning, we've been determined to take stand-up
comedy to places where it's seldom seen. In a way, it's missionary
work," Fox said. "And the talent this year was exceptional."
Though the semi-finals were tough, "the finals week was the
most grueling. I think there was the most driving to do, plus each
night was different," Simmons said. "A neighborhood bar, a vets
center, a ball room at a college, a 'clean' night, and the final night in
a casino. I had to do a lot of prep work during the day to get ready.
The college show had to be about 80 percent different, theclean set
had to be rehearsed and words replaced... just working to make the
right choices in material, and doing what it takes to be ready to
perform it solidly was hard to do every night when you combine that
with long drives."
Simmons enjoyed the camaraderie with the four other finalists, yet as his act attests, he has family to fret about.
"The toughest part was taking the time away from my son in order
to do this," he said. "Actually, the toughest part was worrying about
what the judges thought and standing there backstage as they read
the results each night. The shows were in such awesome venues and
so much fun to perform- it just was the only unfun part -- standing
waiting to hear where you stood. Then I had to watch comics who
were my friends now not move on."
Simmons fulfilled a promise he made to comic friend Darryl
Lenox, who placed second to Bevins in the San Francisco Competition in 2000.
"Darryl made me promise him a few years ago that I would do it.
This year it finally worked out and I didn't have to break that promise
Simmons said his wife was tickled he would be coming home with
a large chunk of cash (actually it was a check that Fox wished him
good luck trying to cash).
"She was very happy," Simmons said. "I talked to her in between
when I came off the last show and the results announcement and I
was actually feeling sort of down 'cause I didn't think I had done
enough from the first spot to win. I couldn't watch my friends and root
against them so I just went for a walk and talked to her. She was
great. Proud of me for being where I was. She has always been the
best about comedy. She actually traveled and lived with me for three
years in a Motor Home. That’s why we are married. She gets it."
Simmons said the prize money helps getting a car paid off and
repaired, a house insulated, "and I'll pay off the credit card bill I ran up
during the contest."
As for advice to future contestants, "be prepared," Simmons said,
"The hardest part for me was getting out of the first round doing five
to seven minutes. As the sets lengthened it got easier for the comics
with the most experience. So be sharp, consistent and just bring the
energy with you every night. There are a lot of good comedians who
go on that stage and compete. Knowing your set inside and out is the
“Oh, and try to do it with a good friend like I did this year...
makes the drives easier and cuts the expenses in half. Plus, you get to
remind him that he lost to you for the rest of your life."
Following Simmons and Bevins were Maureen Langan from New
York City,
Jarrod Harris of Atlanta and Rodger Lizaola of Seattle.
After seeing semi-final sets of 12 to 15 minutes and finals sets of
15 to 20 minutes, Fox predicted good things for all the contestants.
"Bevins was a thoroughbred entered into a quarter horse race. As
the sets got longer, his socially insightful material had more and more
impact but he was really hard pressed to advance each round. Harris
is probably the first contestant we've had from the South who pretty
much concentrates on the topic of where he comes from. He’s a human
cartoon so he may have the most potential of all for future TV
stardom. Langan was the first woman to make the finals in 17 years stardom. Langan was the first woman to make the finals in 17 years
which says a lot about her talents. And I was personally the most
proud of Lizaola who is a minority taking on other minorities because
he developed at the Comedy Underground in Seattle where I am
‘supreme commander.’”
In 34 years, Fox says his Top Five of all the competition entrants
DeGeneres, Bobby Slayton, Carvey, Patton Oswalt and Tommy Savitt.
Not that he consciously pulls for one comic over the other.
"I find I can do a much better job producing the event if I don't
get emotionally involved. I will say that I was in love with Ellen before
I realized she was gay, and perhaps even for a while afterwards." - San Francisco Comedy Competition

"Comedy Reviews - CD - Tom Simmons - Live! McCurdy's Comedy Theater"

Live! McCurdy's Comedy Theater is the third independent comedy CD by stand-up comic Tom Simmons,
my favorite of the three, and a very good comedy CD. Having listened to One, released in 2001, and Next
(One), released in 2002, it has been a very interesting experience to hear a new young comic evolve over a
very short time span into a solid, mature, and very funny stand-up comedian. This might be something any
serious comedy fan might want to do for himself or herself as you rarely really get such an opportunity but
for the casual fan of comedy looking for a new stand-up comic, something different, and a solid and very
funny set, Live! McCurdy's Comedy Theater by Tom Simmons is you best bet.
Tom Simmons follows a newer trend in stand-up comedy, not boxing yourself into one genre of comedy, so
he manages to cover all genres and styles of comedy in one evening. On Live! McCurdy's Comedy Theater
The Serious Comedy Site - Tom Simmons - Live! McCurdy's Comedy Theater 3/10/10 1:30 PM Page 2 of 4
is, on the index, separated into 6 acts. Act 1 set slowly grows from funny jokes about sports and how video
games would be better with a reality spin on them (as in can you get Kobe Bryant off the hook at the trial
too?) into funny and intelligent commentary on the current political situation and religious beliefs in act 2.
You know there is real comic and writing talent here when you see that the commentary on the "we" in
sports on the act 1 tracks is used to set up the more serious commentary on the "we" in "We are at war" in
act 2. It is in act 2 that Tom Simmons tells a funny joke or two about the Amish and makes it different and
Act 3, tracks 8 and 9 of Live! McCurdy's Comedy Theater, continues Tom Simmons slowly setting up his
audience for more serious topical stand-up comedy later on with jokes based on biographical material. After
discussing the "we" in sports and politics, he subtly gets his audience to make him one of them, something
he will need later on in the closing jokes of his set.
My personal favorite on this independent release comedy CD by Tom Simmons is track 10 (act 4) titled
Relationship / Motor Home. This is very original material. Relationship material is never really new but this
stand-up comedian manages to make it new by telling you about the funny side effects of being in a new
relationship when you are a comic and always on the road. Tom Simmons managed to solve that problem by
marrying the girl and traveling with her in a motor home. The many a funny joke about having a motor
home and its many advantages are something new, different, and very funny. If you know anyone who
owns a motor home, you have to get them Live! McCurdy's Comedy Theater just so they can listen to this
track. If there is a series of funny jokes on this CD that people will steal for themselves, this track definitely
contains them.
Act 5 is a track about Tom Simmons' nephew and a track about animals and the pet psychologist trend. This
is, again, very funny stuff.
Act 6 is where on Live! McCurdy's Comedy Theater Tom Simmons, after carefully setting up his audience
all evening, goes into his edgier material. There is a definite Bill Hicks style on these tracks. MLK's Dream
and Rebel Flag are excellent social commentary that, and you can hear it, takes the audience off guard and
makes it a tad wee bit uncomfortable. This is, as this entire independent release comedy CD is, solid and
very funny stuff. Kudos to Tom Simmons for doing that kind of material. He gets his audience right back -
though it was still there really-with Keepin' a Cracka Down, a track that contains a comeback I am
definitely going to use one day.
The only weak spot on Live! McCurdy's Comedy Theater by stand-up comedian Tom Simmons is the sound
is not as crisp as I like it. The sound quality is very good but a little cavernous at times and the rare but still
annoying moment when the comic got the mike too close to his mouth is there.. - The Serious Comedy Site


Next (One)
Stand-Up Underground



Stand-up comedy at its finest

Tom Simmons is the 2009 winner of the prestigious San Francisco Comedy Competition, of which previous winners include Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres, and Dane Cook. He has made numerous television appearances including NBC Last Comic Standing, BET Comic View, Showtime White Boyz in the Hood, and Comedy Central Live at Gotham. He has also appeared on the Bob & Tom show multiple times and is releasing a new album this year.

Credits Include:

Comedy Central
Last Comic Standing
Afghanistan/Iraq Military Tour
Winner 2009 San Francisco Comedy Competition

SMG College Booking
Marie Monroe
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