• Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb declare winner in ‘Today’ comedian contest (Video)

    In the second of its monthly “Quest for the Best” segment, NBC’s Today chose the best stand-up comedian. With Al Roker emceeing and surprise celebrity judges (and seasoned comedy experts…?) Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb presiding, three lucky up-and-coming comics made their daytime television debut from the Rockefeller Center studios in New York City.

    The “Quest for the Best” begins each month with a call for submissions in a particular category — the first month, it was the Best Homemade Birthday Cake — hopefuls submit videos, and finalists are chosen to compete live on the network morning show.

    In one of the most awkward set-ups for a stand-up performance, comedians Brad Meehan, MaRee Faustin and Ali Moussavi got 60 seconds each to give Gifford and Kotb “a good chuckle or two” to accompany their early-morning glasses of red wine. Watch the video below:

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    Judges chose NYC’s charismatic MaRee Faustin as the Best after a moment’s deliberation behind a pink cue card. Though the decision seems a little slanted and gender-biased (and may very well be), Faustin was a good step above the other two contestants — one of whom was getting in front of an audience for the first time (which begs the question: What was in his submission video?)

    Dana Sitar

    Dana Sitar is a freelance comedy journalist trying to answer the question “What is it like to be a comedian?” She shares this quest and other tips from the writer's life at DanaSitar.com and on Twitter @DanaSitar

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