Tom Simmons is the new king of comedy |

Tom Simmons is the new king of comedy

Tom Simmons

Standup comic Tom Simmons went on first but he had the last laugh.

Simmons last week won the 34th annual San Francisco Stand-up Comedy Competition, a three-week event which included the last semifinal Sept. 26 at MontBleu Casino.

Simmons returns to Tahoe this week to perform through Sunday, Oct. 11, at The Improv inside Harveys Resort and Casino.

The $25,000 comedy competition began with 30 comics. It came down to Simmons and his good friend and traveling companion Danny Bevins.

“They say you can never remember who comes in second place but like I told him I’m going to make sure they do,” Simmons said. “I have that over him for the rest of our life.”

Consistency paid off for Simmons, a 14-year standup veteran. During the final week he never finished lower than third place. Simmons, who had what is usually the disadvantage of going onstage first, pulled no punchlines in the final round.

“I was just trying to leave all the energy I had onstage,” he said. “I was trying to be as tight as possible and raise the bar.”

Simmons joins an elite group of champions and runner-ups, including Robin Williams, Ellen DeGeneres and Dana Carvey.

“A lot of comedy comes from confidence, so this gives me some confidence,” Simmons said. “To do that was grueling and it made me a lot better comic. It tightened me up.”

Simmons is the first Southerner to with the event. He said he had one day to relax with his family at his home in Greensboro, N.C. before coming to Tahoe for a weeklong Improv engagement with Nick Griffin and host Howie Nave.

“Nick Griffin is literally one of the very best comedians, period,” Simmons said. “He’s hilarious.”

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