Gaming: Comedy contest makes casino rounds

The San Francisco International Stand Up Comedy Competition, which has given notoriety to comedians such as Robin Williams and Dana Carvey, will make stops at three Northern California casinos this year, including the final competition at Cache Creek.

The competition first started in 1976. Hundreds of comedians audition each year until about 30 are left to participate in regional competitions in September and October. Ellen DeGeneres, Sinbad and locals Mark Pitta and Will Durst have all appeared and won. And some well-known comedians, among them Roseanne Barr, Janeane Garofalo and Bobcat Goldthwait, never made it to the finals.

MontBleu Casino at Lake Tahoe’s South Shore and the Black Oak Casino near Sonora are hosting regional qualification events in September. The finale will be at Cache Creek on Oct. 8.

“The 35th annual San Francisco Comedy Competition will be a free show this year for Cache Club members or $20 at the door,” said Cean Burgeson, casino communications manager. “Previously, this was a ticketed event in our 700-seat Club 88. This will be the fifth year we have hosted this event.”

There is no charge to joining Cache Creek’s players club, and club members can often accrue points for discounts on lodging, meals and entertainment and access to contests and credits toward gaming.

Five finalists will compete at Cache Creek. Top prize is $25,000.

Cache Creek is currently remodeling its Mexican-themed Loco Caliente restaurant, Burgeson said. It will reopen as an expanded version of Cache Creek’s Asian Kitchen restaurant. Then after the new Asian Kitchen opens, the former location will be remade into a fresh-Mexican concept restaurant.

Also, Burgeson said, new carpeting is being installed throughout the casino, taking place in different areas over the next few months.

“We are also in the design stage of updating every single one of our 200 hotel rooms,” he said.

Cache Creek’s current big promotion, Perfect 10, runs through Oct. 10. A total of $7,500 in cash and prizes is available to be given away daily, with bigger cash prizes on the weekends. Customers must join the players club to participate.

35th San Francisco Comedy Competition

Round I, Sept. 15–19: 12-15 comics doing five seven-minute sets

Round II, Sept. 21–26: 12-15 comics doing five seven-minute sets

Semifinals, Sept. 27–Oct. 2, 10 comics doing 10 12-minute sets

Finals, Oct. 3–9: Five comics doing 15 20-minute sets

Casino venues

(For other venues, check

8 p.m. Sept. 19

Montbleu Casino

Black Oak Casino

Cache Creek Casino Resort