Dino Archie, a beloved member of the Vancouver comedy scene, can now add a big accolade to his resume.
Archie won the 36th annual Seattle International Comedy Competition on November 29, beating out 32 other performers for a $5,000 grand prize, a pilot audition with NBC, and an appearance on Adam Devine’s House Party.
Originally born in Fresno, California, Archie has split his time between Los Angeles and Vancouver for the last four years. A few years after hitting the stage for the first time, Archie longed for an experience outside the intensity of L.A.’s “big-break” atmosphere, and saw Vancouver as a potential home away from home.
“I really liked the city. Before I did stand-up I always liked it, and I was like ‘Oh, man if I get a chance, I’d check that place out for a couple of months you know, before I did stand-up,'” Archie told Vancity Buzz. “So once I knew there was a comedy scene, I was like ‘oh man, this is a good chance for a change,’ and a chance to develop my voice… You know, in a place where people get comedy, but it’s not L.A.”
Archie says the difference between U.S. and Canadian audiences was also a factor, and he warmed up to the local crowds quickly.
“It’s a fair crowd,” he says. “Not like LA isn’t, but really it’s fair, [and] smart… people here just say ‘Hey give me what you got,’ and they don’t like you cheap here. I felt like it could make me a better comedian.”
Showcasing for the competition earlier this year, Archie says that it wasn’t the prize that had him excited, but the potential to perform for new people.
“I don’t really like competition. Life’s already a competition,” he says. “Seeing who can tell the best dick joke is a weird way to compete, but I wanted to get in front of the Seattle crowd. I like to see if my material relates as many places as possible.”
For the competition itself, Archie competed in the preliminaries, which consist of six shows. Following the preliminaries, the top five from each group compete in five shows of 10 minute sets. Archie says the non-stop nature of the performance was a challenge as much as it was an exercise.
“The comedians in it definitely made you bring everything you had, because you’re just competing with the same group of people – who are good – in front of six, seven hundred audience members,” says Archie. “There are judges and you don’t know how they think, so the biggest thing was the staying myself and not giving a s*** about what the result is.”
With his top spot win, Archie reached another milestone in his career. As a younger man, he says that before coming to Vancouver, he submitted for the competition and was rejected.
“They were like ‘It’s not good enough,'” he says, laughing. “They weren’t wrong, though.”
Now a winner, Archie says more than anything it’s a sign of growth.
“You know, the petty side of me would be like ‘yeah, vindication,’ but you know what felt good, is that it seems like it had to be a sign that I’ve gotten better,” he says. “Like it’s almost a little nugget that makes you feel like okay I guess I’m doing something right, and the place that made me even better was Vancouver.”
Archie can be seen at Adam Devine’s House Party, Archie can also be found at an upcoming installment of his show Ryan & Dino vs. The Internet, with Ryan Beil of the Sunday Service, and a headlining spot at The Comedy Mix’s New Years Celebration.
For details on show information, follow Archie on Instagram.