Comedy Fest winner dreamed of meeting Carson - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Comedy Fest winner dreamed of meeting Carson

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It was a sold-out star-studded night in Norfolk, Nebraska Saturday as the comedic spirit of Johnny Carson was celebrated at the gala for the Great American Comedy Festival. 

The event was hosted by comedian Drew Carey, who got his big break in comedy when Carson invited him to the couch following his set on the tonight show in 1991.  Carey says he owes his entire career and everything he has to Johnny Carson. 

The night also featured the professional comedian finals, which included eight comedians who advanced earlier in the week.

The winner was Denver native Phil Palisoul, who says he tried to get on the Tonight Show with Carson , but never made it.  When he heard of the festival in Norfolk, it then became a mission.

"And when I wasn't able to get on the show, I was really disappointed.  So, to be able to come here and do this well in a festival for his name and honor is…it's overwhelming really," he explained. 

The Comedy Festival gala also included the presentation of the Johnny Carson Comedy Legend Award to stand-up legend Steven Wright. 

The festival's executive producer Eddie Brill did a one-on-one interview to help Wright tell the audience about his many appearances on the Tonight Show and how his career also began to flourish following his time on Carson's show.

This year's Great American Comedy Festival wrapped up Sunday with a show by Christian Comedian Bob Smiley.

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