Rock Island’s Speakeasy Hosts New Laugh Hard Challenge

Local News

Continuing a five-year September tradition, The Speakeasy in downtown Rock Island is hosting another round of its popular stand-up comedy contest, The Speakeasy Laugh Hard Challenge, starting Saturday, Sept. 11.

This competition has brought some of the best stand-up comedians from across the country to Rock Island to compete for a chance to win $1,000 and the title of Laugh Hard Champion. 

“We’ve had comics from Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Des Moines, Milwaukee and many other cities, including some of our great local comics compete,” said Brett Hitchcock, Speakeasy director of audience development.  “This is a wonderful showcase of great comics in one location. This year we even have one comic coming from Fresno, California.”

The Laugh Hard Challenge will have two preliminary rounds on Sept. 11 and 18.  Comics will perform for 5 minutes each.  From each preliminary round, the top five comics will advance to the finals on Sept. 25. The comics will be judged on material, stage presence and audience response. 

Tickets are available for all three shows by calling 309-786-7733, ext. 2 or online at  Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 day of show for the preliminary rounds and $12 in advance and $15 day of show for the finals. 

Doors open at 7 p,.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. for all three shows.  Those attending must be 18 or older. The Speakeasy is located at 1818 3rd Ave. in Rock Island.  Here is the lineup for the preliminary rounds:

SEPT. 11 Prelim

Julian Totten – Davenport, IA

Dan McCullough – Dubuque, IA

Shayne Neubert – Matherville, IL

JD Spets – Kewanee, IL

Austin Ingels – Sherrard, IL

Colin Mattox – Iowa City, IA

Dana Moss-Peterson – Rock Island, IL

Stevie Mo – Park View, IA

Matt Miller – Bloomington, IL

Loren Ackerman – Decatur, IL

Chris Coffman – Galena, IL

Samir Abdelkarim – East Moline, IL

Johnny Ruckus – Moline, IL

Justin Goldberg – Dubuque, IA

Todd Baysinger – Dubuque, IA

SEPT. 18 Prelim

Matt Plautz – Rockford, IL

Mike Andrales – Davenport, IA

John Stage – Tinley Park, IL

Tim Starling – Creve Coeur, IL

Zach Boblitt – Springfield, IL

Trey Eilers – Chatham, IL

Jamison Cox – Iowa City, IA

Stephen Hunt – Wapello, IA

Ryan Proctor – Davenport, IA

Leslie Mitchell – Bettendorf, IA

Layne Johnson – Peoria, IL

Tony Lee – Fresno, CA

Wyatt West- Leclaire, IA

Tim Chickenbone – Moline, IL

Mike Maxwell – Rolling Meadows, IL

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