Everyone knows it's hard for young comics to break into the business. But thanks to the Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award, it's become a little easier. Now in its sixth year, the prestigious prize, named after the late, great comic who liked fostering young talent, recognizes five new comics and lets them loose in a gala night called Cream Of Comedy. This year's nominees -- Ryan Belleville, Andy Boorman, Debra DiGiovanni, Levi MacDougall and Lex Vaughn -- take to the Second City stage Sunday (November 18) with a kick-ass lineup that also includes Paul O'Sullivan, Bob Martin, Janet Van De Graaff, the Understudies and host Colin Mochrie. See listings, this page, for details.
Why do you deserve to win?
Boorman: Mastercard wants me to.
Belleville: All those bribes I gave.
Vaughn: Because a dyke hasn't hit the rotation yet.
DiGiovanni: I'm still smarting from my high-school prom queen loss.
MacDougall: It's the only thing little Jimmy at the hospital asked of me.
If you win, how will you spend the $2,001?
Boorman: 40 per cent Playdium, 60 per cent Hooters.
Belleville: The Belleville Preservation Fund -- i.e., food and rent.
DiGiovanni: I'm going to buy as many teenage boys as $2,001 can get me.
Separated at birth from?
DiGiovanni: I'm already a twin. If there was someone else in there, I don't think they made it.
MacDougall: Uh, actually I didn't know I was separated at birth from someone. But thanks for just dropping it on me like that.
What do your mom and dad think of your career choice?
Boorman: They're just happy I'm not a doctor or teacher.
Belleville: They're glad I'm not a junkie. There is no Junkie Encouragement Fund.
Message to Mark Breslin?
Vaughn: "My work will be completely useless to you."
DiGiovanni: "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."
Boorman: "I've always admired psychics...." Oh wait, that's the Amazing Kreskin.
Most embarrassing moment?
Belleville: I can't remember. I've turned them all into comedy bits.
DiGiovanni: If you'd seen the Tim Sims Cream Of Comedy poster, you wouldn't be asking me.
What would your porn name be?
DiGiovanni: "Do-it" DiGiovanni.
Vaughn: Lisa Merchant.
How will your comedy change the world?
Vaughn: In three months it won't matter.
DiGiovanni: I'm gonna teach people that self-esteem is highly overrated.
Belleville: I will mock Osama till he feels so insecure he turns himself over.
Most interesting thing in your garbage can?
Boorman: My phone bill.
DiGiovanni: Used wax strips. It's not easy being me.
MacDougall: The twin from whom I was separated at birth.
Where do you wanna be in five?
DiGiovanni: Starring in Seinfeld 2: Costanza's Revenge while being a role model for fag hags of the world and, if I have time, being Madonna's new best friend.
Vaughn: Comedy critic for an alternative weekly.