The Sacramento Stand-Up Competition features 24 of the best comedians in the United States competing for a $1,000 Grand Prize, $500 Second Place Prize, and $250 Third Place Prize.

Submissions for the 2019 Sacramento Stand-up Competition are closed. Invitations to participate will be sent before June 7, 2019.  

Competition Format

The Sacramento Stand-Up Competition takes place over one weekend each summer. The preliminary round is on Friday night and is split into three shows, featuring eight comedians in each show and a local host. Each comedian does five minutes of material in the preliminary round. At the end of all three preliminary shows, the five comedians with the highest judging scores will be announced as finalists.

The finals are on Saturday night and feature the five comedians from the preliminary shows with the highest scores, a local host, and a headliner that is one of the previous Sacramento Stand-Up Competition grand prize winners. The competition grand prize winner receives $1000; $500 for second place, and $250 for third place. Each comedian does ten minutes of material in the finals.

Finalist Announcement

The five finalists will be announced at the end of the third preliminary round show on Friday night.

Judges and Scoring

A panel of four diverse judges, comprised of past finalists, competition winners, veteran comedians and/or industry professionals, determines who moves onto to the finals and who wins the competition. Comedians are scored on a scale from 1-10 in three categories: stage presence, originality, and audience reaction. The scores from all three categories are added together for a total score from each judge. All Judges scores are added together and averaged to find a comedians final score. We do everything we can to make this a fun and fair competition, and are always open to feedback. All of our judges are professional and fair, and picked because they represent not only a wide range of comedy tastes, but also represent diverse cross-section of people. This is not a teaching event, so we do not give individual feedback to participants, and we do not share final scores. Scores and tabulations are double-checked and audited to ensure accuracy and the integrity of this competition. 

The Light

Comedians will be given “the light” with one minute left in their set. Comedians will get another light at the end of their allotted time. At 30 seconds after their allotted time, the stage tech will start to play music faintly in the background. At one minute over their allotted time, the stage tech will blackout the lights, bring the music to full, and the host will come back to the stage. 

Application, Fees, Selection Process

The application fee is $20 and is non-refundable. Applications and videos will be screened by a selection committee comprised of the Executive Director, veteran comedians, and industry professionals. Participants will be notified at least six weeks prior to the competition.

Who should apply?

The Sacramento Stand-Up Competition is for more experienced comedians. If you are a beginner, then this is not the event for you.

Who is NOT eligible to apply?

Comedy Spot employees, instructors, volunteers, producers and/or hosts of regular Comedy Spot shows, and previous competition winners are not eligible for entry.

Participant Experience

The Sacramento Stand-Up Competition is produced by comedians who understand the expenses and sacrifice involved with participating in festivals and competitions. Our goal is to make this a fun, affordable, and unique experience for all participants and to keep your out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum. To that end, we host the competition in one location, over one weekend, to keep your travel expenses to a minimum. All participants will perform five minutes in the preliminary round, but we also book you in other shows at the Comedy Spot over the weekend, or at other venues in Sacramento. 

Stipend and Benefits

All participants are given a $100 cash stipend when they check in. Participants will also be provided with drink tickets and food in the green room on Friday and Saturday.

Travel Expenses

Participants are responsible for their travel expenses.

Airport Transportation

We will provide FREE transportation to and from the airport.


We will help you find another comedian or adopted family to stay with for free while comedians are in town. If you would like to book your own hotel, we will try to find you the best price.