Governor's comedy club doesn't just showcase comedians, it is starting to breed them. "The Great Long Island Laugh-Off" contest had more than 120 local amateur comics competing for a paid weekend gig opening for a headliner at one of the three clubs Governor's operates. A panel of four professional-comedian judges rated each contestant 1-20 on originality, audience response, material, stage presence, delivery and timing.
On Saturday, Sept. 12, the 10 finalists will perform eight-minute sets at the Brokerage in Bellmore, battling it out for laughs.
Here's who will be on stage:
1. TOM LUBERTO
By day, Luberto works as a government employee, but at night he performs stand-up comedy. The Hicksville resident likes playful one-liners and looks up to comedic legends like Rodney Dangerfield and Mitch Hedberg. "The part I like best is the creativity," says Luberto, 29. "Getting laughter is an adrenaline rush."
2. JACK PLATT
Why is a 64-year-old lawyer from Port Washington doing stand-up? To help sharpen his public speaking skills.
Platt feels his advanced age and experience give him an edge. "It sets me apart," he says. "I have to relate to young crowds, but I win them over."
3. CHRIS BARNES
Despite being 21 years old, Barnes has eight years of stand-up behind him -- he began his career performing in church talent shows at 13.
"I love to tell stories and lead the audience with me," says the Garden City resident, who attends the University at Albany. "Being onstage always felt natural to me."
4. LUIGI DELLAMONICA
DellaMonica was cracking wise in a pizzeria when a talent agent gave him a card, telling him he was funny. The sanitation worker took some comedy classes, and now his sarcastic, self-deprecating humor has landed him in the final.
"People were encouraging me to do this," says DellaMonica, 34, of Port Washington. "They tell me I'm likable onstage."
5. NEIL RUBENSTEIN
Rubenstein goes onstage 8 to 11 times a week working around his full-time job booking events at The Emporium in Patchogue. After landing a role on Spike TV's "Casino Cinema," he began running a monthly comedy night at the Amityville Music Hall.
"I don't curse," says Rubenstein, 40, of Bethpage, "but I don't have a filter, so I tend to be offensive."
6. ROB COLLETTI
Being a single guy living at home with his Italian family in Commack is a well of material for Colletti, who is pursuing stand-up full time in honor of his late comedian brother Tony.
"I feel like I'm carrying the torch for the both of us," says Colletti, 37. "Doing stand-up comedy created an outlet for me to feel close to my brother."
7. AL PAGANO
Pagano spends his days balancing his acting/voice-over career with his relocation company job. Five months ago, he added stand-up to his plate.
"My material is self-deprecating in a positive, goofy way," says Pagano, 44, of West Hempstead. "I'm starting to find my rhythm and my voice."
8. MIKE TOOHEY
Superstorm Sandy washed away all of Toohey's possessions. Last November, the Long Beach resident turned to comedy.
"I never really cared about anything as much as I care about doing this," says Toohey, 28, a financial analyst. "It's the best thing that ever happened to me."
9. JOE ALFANO
When Alfano moved from Plainedge to Astoria, the former teacher pursued his dream of becoming a stand-up comic. His observational humor landed him a regular Saturday night gig at the Grisly Pear in Greenwich Village.
"The key is going onstage as much as possible," says Alfano, 38. "Sometimes it takes awhile to click."
10. MIKE KEEGAN
Growing up on a steady diet of watching comics John Pinette and Bobby Collins, Keegan was compelled to pick up the mic.
"I'm more comfortable onstage than offstage," says Keegan, 32, of East Meadow, who works as a case manager for New York Rising. "As long as you're having fun, people feed off that."
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at The Brokerage, 2797 Merrick Rd., Bellmore
INFO 516-781-5233, brokeragecomedy.com
ADMISSION $14 plus two-drink minimum, 18 and over