The Vermont Cynic

Junior comedian crowned champ


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At just 20 years old, Grant Robin is the youngest comedian to win the Vermont’s Funniest Comedian competition.

The Vermont Comedy Club, owned by Natalie Miller and her husband Nathan Hartswick, puts on the annual show. The club is another response to the growing comedy community in Burlington.

The club presents many shows, including the  Vermont’s Funniest Comedian competition, an annual show that began in 2012. The most recent winner, Robin, took first place at the event at Club Metronome Nov. 8.

He found out about the competition through Miller, and joked that winning “only proves that I’m the funniest person who had 20 dollars lying around [for the entry fee].”

Robin began by researching comedy open mics and discovered Half Lounge as well as Nectar’s, he said.

Other comedy venues include Franny O’s, Vermont Pub and Brewery, Nectar’s and Club Metronome, and Half Lounge, all of which have both open mics and showcases.

Robin has been involved in the Vermont comedy scene for about 10 months now, Robin said.

He had no prior experience and described his journey as a “nerve-racking,” but completely worth it because.

“[For me] laughter is one of the most important things in the world, and I like being the cause of it,” Robin said.

His jokes are based in reality and related to his life, with exaggeration for comedic effect, he said.

He keeps a notebook with him in order to foster creativity.

Notes are then tried out at open mics, where Robin said he relies on audience feedback in order to determine whether or not the material has comic value.

He has many influences, including his mother, Stephen Colbert, Jerry Seinfeld and the “Seinfeld” show, Steven Wright, Warren Zevon and Louis C.K.

Of the latter, he greatly admires him for his novel distribution of stand-up through social media, as well as his work ethic and hilarity, Robin said

He feels that the competition was “a great way to bring the community around comedy, and because of the smaller scale of Burlington, we had a close-knit group of contestants,” he said.

There were many UVM students involved. A few of whom, in addition to Robin, made it to the finals.

In the future, he hopes to pursue comedy in New York City after graduating, with writing and directing movies as his ultimate goal, Robin said.

However, he is majoring in radiation therapy, which he enjoys and plans to focus on in his career as well, he said.

The comedian can usually be found at open mics around Burlington. He plans on spending time at the comedy venue that Vermont Comedy Club is working to open in 2015 with the help of a Kickstarter campaign.

“It will be exciting to finally have a place to call home for comedy,”  he said.

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Junior comedian crowned champ