Stand-up Christi Olson's onstage persona might be that of an insecure woman who's got a dirty mouth and a shy little girl voice, but the beautifully delivered act - nothing insecure about it at all - won her this year's Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award.
The former Saskatchewanian took home the prize at last night's Cream of Comedy showcase of the five nominees at the Second City. The award consists of $5,000 and a scholarship to study improv at the Second City.
In introducing the winner, founder of the awards Lindsay Leese quoted the judges as saying Olson's work was "honest," that she's got "an incredible sense of joke structure," that her writing was "distinctive" and she seems "true onstage."
All of that came through in Olson's act, which included bits about phone sex work, a sexual fetish some men have for dinosaurs - great Flintstone's joke here - and becoming a donor for Locks of Love.
That latter bit, delivered deadpan, demonstrated fine writing and hinted at a nice nasty streak. Later jokes about growing up and being frightened of becoming a Silence Of The Lambs-style skin dress victim seemed a little obvious.
I think the Second City scholarship should help her hone that persona and make her even more present when onstage. Can't wait to see how she develops.
There's lots of promise in the other nominees, Ben Beauchemin, Jamie O'Connor, Robert Keller and Templeton Philharmonic, who all performed with varying degrees of polish.
And Kristeen von Hagen - a TSEFA nominee in 1997 - did a stellar job hosting, mixing classic material in with bits about being married and looking into her German heritage.