Second Column guest Alysia Wood wins ‘America’s Next Funniest’ contest

Congrats to Second Column podcast guest Alysia Wood for her win in the “America’s Next Funniest” contest. In the press release below, Alysia’s PR people failed to mention her appearance on my podcast, which no doubt provided her with all the momentum she needed to attain this victory, but all is forgiven. Congrats to Alysia, who appeared in one of our most famous shows ever – episode 67.


America, meet Alysia Wood!

That introduction has been in the works for a while for the young, nationally touring comic from Washington State. Last week, however, she beat out hundreds of other comics in earning the title of “AMERICA’S NEXT FUNNIEST” stand-up comedian.

The finals, held Wednesday, Jan. 27 at The Improv at Harrah’s Las Vegas, were judged by comedy dignitaries including Budd Friedman, who literally invented the concept of the comedy club when he opened the first Improv in New York in 1963.

“As a top network executive who joined the festivities told me, this was the best showcase of young talent I’ve seen in a long time. But there could only be one ‘America’s Next Funniest,’ and that honor goes to Seattle’s charming Alysia Wood,” said Friedman, who is credited with launching the careers of countless comedy icons such as Adam Sandler and Sarah Silverman.

Contestants submitted videos of original material to the Web site, and a panel of comedy professionals selected five finalists. Web site visitors then voted on the final three, who earned trips to Las Vegas for the live competition that took place Jan. 27. The event was sponsored by the Universal DVD/Blu-ray release of the Sandler/Seth Rogen movie “Funny People.”

Wood was quick to point out that she didn’t get to Las Vegas alone. She thanked her “supportive but unusual” fan group – the self-described ‘Wood Stalkers’ – for whipping up an online voting frenzy that carried her through the first round and semifinals.

But once she walked onto the stage in Sin City, she was on her own. Wood, who normally performs an hour-long headline set, had to choose her best six minutes for the finals.

Wood has entered many comedy competitions and was a finalist in the California’s Funniest Female Contest, but had never won a contest before “America’s Next Funniest.” “The aftermath has been mind-blowing.  I have an amazing college (booking) agency, Neon Entertainment, but I do everything else myself.  I’m pretty swamped,” Wood said. “I haven’t had a chance to process it.”

As the contest winner, Wood has been booked for a six-night run – scheduled for April 6-11, 2010 – at The Improv at Harrah’s Las Vegas.

Her latest honor ranks at the top of an already lengthy list of accomplishments. Wood was named Hot Comedian of 2009 by Campus Activities Magazine. She contributes frequently to the nationally syndicated radio program The Bob and Tom Show (which complimented her material as “well-written” and “well-structured”) and XM Satellite Radio’s National Lampoon Comedy Radio (which called her work “hysterical”). She has also made television appearances on The WB’s Rascals Comedy Half Hour, FOX’s Night Shift with Kevin Ferguson and NBC’s Last Comic Standing.

Now a resident of Los Angeles who tours on the national club and college circuits, Wood also appears regularly on Internet podcasts and writes for comedy Web sites. said of Wood: “I love it when Alysia comes back to Seattle. She brings a little edge back to the Kingdom of Polite and always manages to have something surprising and very funny to say.” Another review, from, advises: “Be sure to watch this girl!”

Wood was born in Louisiana but raised in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Wash. She attended Sammamish High School.

“I tell people that I am from Seattle because I got sick of explaining, ‘I’m not from Bellevue, the hospital.  I’m from Bellevue, the city,'” she said.  “The mental institution I’m from is Fairfax.”

Joe Donatelli
Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles

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