Every year, five up-and-coming comedy acts gain much-needed exposure by becoming nominees for the Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award. This year's diverse crew ranges from character comics Mae Martin (at 16, the youngest) and Marty Adams to the satiric musical act Calcu-Lator & the Oral Presentation (Enis Esmer, Conor Green and Dejan Zahirovic). Stand-up Ron Sparks and sketch duo the Gurg (Brian Barlow and Chris Locke) complete the list. Besides the $2,500 purse, presented in the name of the late, great Second City alum who liked encouraging new talent, this year's winner gets to film a $10,000 short film for the Comedy Network.
How would you describe your humour?
Calcu-Lator: Paula Poundstone meets Chingy. Basically, urban Jewish.
Sparks: Funny. Maybe a little dry.
What's your motto?
Adams: Nothing. What's your motto with you?
Martin: When life gives you lemons, throw them at a passing school bus.
Calcu-Lator: Murder, not guilty.
You're the love child of two artists - who are they?
The Gurg: Bill Murray and another one who has a vagina.
Sparks: Kandinsky and Klee. I was adopted. In all our family portraits, I'm the triangle.
Adams: I am? Wow, what a way to find out - in a magazine interview. How the hell should I know who they are? You're the one who just told me.
What do your parents think of your career choice?
Adams: Which ones? My 'real" ones or those crazy love-child-artist parents?
If you win, how will you spend the $2,500?
Adams: Go out on a fancy date with one of those model girls in the back of your magazine. I hope she says yes. Then I'll get a chance to see her eyes. Why do you always cover up their eyes?
Martin: Charity work in Cambodia with Angelina Jolie.
Calcu-Lator: Buying extra-large female condoms.
The Gurg: Anyone who stilts.
Sparks: My comedy heroes are Jo-Anna Downey, Luciano Casimiri, Brad Hart, Tim Polley, Melody Johnson and PJ Wilson. In case you didn't know, they're the Tim Sims judges.
If you were a porn star, what would your name be?
Sparks: Ron Spanks.
Adams: I wouldn't be in a porno; that's wrong. I do, however, enjoy a good snuff film.
Martin: I'm 16. Child porn is illegal, Glenn. And it's a big problem right now. I don't support it.
Who would your fan base be?
Martin: Jeffrey Jones, Paul Reubens and Michael Jackson.
How will your comedy change the world?
Sparks: I think the real question here is how has my comedy not changed the world already.
Most interesting thing in your garbage can?
Adams: An Oscar... Meyer hot dog wrapper.
Gurg: A smaller garbage can that didn't work.
Calcu-Lator: Used extra-large female condoms.
Is Cream Of Comedy a good title?
Sparks: Definitely not. It should be The Ron Sparks Show, featuring others.