Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Robert Benchley Society Announces 2012 Humor Competition Winners

BOSTON, July 24, 2012 -- The Robert Benchley Society announces that comedian Arte Johnson has named, as First Place winner in the 2012 Robert Benchley Society Annual Humor Writing Competition, Tim French of Midway, Alabama, for his essay Who Says You Can't Dance? In honoring Mr. French, who is the only two-time First Place winner in the history of the competition, Mr. Johnson said:
"As a youngster I used to look forward to seeing the Benchley shorts. Somehow I always felt he looked like an avocado with clothing. Watching him act was a great joy and your essay forces him to do just that. I could just picture him demonstrating all of the dance styles, badly."
Mr. French won last year's competition as well, when humorist Mark Russell chose his essay The Old Man and the Leaf Blower.

Mr. Johnson awarded Second Place to Cathy Lennon of Park City, Utah, for How to Yawn, saying:
"You have found a subject that would be right down 'the Benchley Alley.' Taking the common and giving it an aura of importance was one of the great keys of Benchley humor. 'How to Yawn' as a subject matter with possible demonstrations would be well worth watching in the Benchley mode."

Coming in third was Jesse Levy of Burbank, Calif., for My Scotch Adventure. Johnson noted:
"Benchley would definitely attempt a Scotch accent and would fail dismally, but it would certainly be worth hearing. He certainly would try to make all of these brands exciting for the tasting if not for the hearing. Hopefully, he would wear the proper tartan for each and possibly model each for the camera."
This was Mr. Levy's second time in the top four. In 2008 his essay How to Watch a Sad Movie and Retain Your Manliness was ranked third by humorist Bob Newhart.

Carol Cherman of Los Angeles, Calif., takes the Fourth Place title for Cane Mutiny. Mr. Johnson said:
"The serious side of everyday life was something that Benchley understood, and what could be more serious than fly swatting? Your essay gives meaning to what is a technical side of insect removal. It certainly would be a Benchley subject, along with nose blowing."

Every year since 2005, the Robert Benchley Society has put on this humor-writing competition, which is open to all writers of English language humor. All judging is done blind, with the preliminary judges and final celebrity judge not knowing the names of the entrants. This means that amateurs and professional humorists compete equally. Watch our blog for an announcement of next year's competition.

Arte Johnson will give out the awards at this year's Annual Awards Dinner to be held in Los Angeles at the Ninth International Annual Gathering of the Robert Benchley Society. "As a youngster," said Johnson, "I could hardly wait for Benchley movie shorts when I went to the movies. After all, for 12 cents, who could be satisfied with just Flash Gordon, the news, and a double feature?"

We are currently working out the details of the October 12-14 Annual Gathering, but we can already promise that it'll be as packed with fun and features as a good old-fashioned Saturday at the talkies.

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Robert Benchley Society

For more information about the Robert Benchley Society, local chapters near you, our annual Award for Humor, and our Annual Gathering, visit The RBS Website