In the end, Baltimore's Funniest Celebrity became more of an endurance test than a flexing of comedic muscle.
Maryland's former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, the last celebrity to take the stage, might have won over what remained of the crowd when he joked about how late the event was running. By then three of the five judges had left, including former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, as had most of the audience.
"This was the [expletive], sitting through all this," began Steele, who took first place at the event, competing against Cafe Hon's Denise Whiting, anchorman Jeff Barnd, musician Deanna Bogart, weatherman Steve Fertig and Sun columnist Peter Schmuck.
Master of ceremonies Mickey Cucchiella, the morning show host of 98 Rock, also joked about the slow moving show as he introduced Steele, the former chairman of the Republican party.
"He's a black man in the Republican party," Cucchiella joked. "He's probably used to sitting around and waiting to be called on."
Steele, who dressed down for his performance, pairing a suit with black athletic shoes, had lines about growing up with a black mother, about working from Thomas Jefferson's old office during his stint in Annapolis and being "fired" from his job as RNC chair.
Whiting's entire skit was a riff on having to constantly apologize to everyone after unleashing citywide contempt by trademarking the word "hon."
Fertig, who joked about being let go from his station in favor of "someone younger" and flung his resumes around the room, took third place. Barnd, who joked about peeing in a cup and being caught imitating Tom Brokaw by Brokaw, was runner-up.
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