Alex Avery after his win at Acme (with owner Louis Lee in the background)
Don't tell Alex Avery that Minnesotans aren't kind to strangers.
The Portland, Ore., native, who just moved to the area last month, was named The Funniest Person in the Twin Cities Tuesday night, reeling off a series of non-sequiturs at Acme Comedy Co. that nodded to Stephen Wright while maintaining a voice all his own.
An example: "I sleep on a conjoined twin bed. Technically, it's a bunk bed, but if you separate them, one of them dies."
What makes observations like this all the more impressive is that Avery, a visual artist sporting rock-star sunglasses at night, is only 20 years old.
Of course, Avery only had to deliver three minutes of material. He'll need 15 minutes before anyone thinks about booking him on a regular basis and nearly an hour if he's going to headline.
But winning, which does come with a $1,000 check, does put him on the radar of comedy insiders, most notably Acme's astute owner Louis Lee. Watching Avery develop a longer, meatier act may be one of the intriguing exercises on the local comedy scene over the next couple years.
Judges for this year's finals included comedian Mary Mack, Strib movie critic Colin Covert and yours truly.
Mack's presence should be of comfort to the other four finalists who gave a valiant effort. The comic has made a name for herself nationally since finishing third in the 2003 contest. The winner that year? Tuesday night's headliner Tim Harmston.
I don't think the loss was all too devastating. The two are now married.