A well-intentioned effort to afford comedians the opportunity to audition for high-paying college gigs has been met with dissension. At the center of the conflict is Florida’s Funniest Comedian competition, which was offering what seemed like the chance to audition at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), as one of its prizes.
One of the problems, however, is that NACA knew nothing about the prize, and therefore sent out a strongly-worded letter to its e-mail subscribers once they’ve been tipped off. “NACA has not authorized the use of our name or logo in this manner and there is no authorized showcase opportunity as this contest claims,” wrote Gordon Schell, director of business relations. “NACA showcases are only available to those acts that are submitted and reviewed as a part of NACA’s own review process. NACA has no relationship with Florida’s Funniest Comedian or its sponsors…”
But it was always the intention to abide by NACA’s rules, says Rene’ Harte, producer of Florida’s Funniest, which spans 14 cities and is set to conclude Nov. 14. “We’ve picked out 15 comedians of 206 to showcase in front of college bookers,” Harte tells Laughspin.”We are professionally recording all of them and paying to submit 10 people to showcase at the NACA [Southern Regional Conference]. If NACA approves any of them for a showcase we are then representing them and paying for all their expenses to showcase and go.” On Friday, Harte’ removed the NACA logo from the competition’s website and altered the language to better reflect what she told Laughspin.
Once passed by NACA, a comedian has a much greater chance of landing school gigs more consistently, as many colleges and universities rely on the organization to help bring appropriate acts to campus. The NACA seal of approval also means higher paid jobs for comics, who could make the same amount for one college show as they would for an entire weekend of shows at a traditional comedy club.