And the ‘Funniest Person in Finance’ is …
Wall Street came out in full force Wednesday night at Gotham Comedy Club to find out who the "Funniest Person in Finance" was.
Everyone brought their A game and no topic was safe, from Google to the way hedge-fund managers laugh — though it took a little while to loosen up this Wall Street crowd.
"Are you worried about laughing at the wrong sh-- — worried you might have to go to HR?" asked host Ryan Reiss.
(Based on the tepid laughter early on, the awkward reluctance to answer the host's hey-sir-where-are-you-from questions and one death stare from a guy from New Jersey, I'd say yes.)
The finalists included everyone from financial advisors, portfolio managers and traders to an administrative assistant and a tech guy. They hailed from all over the financial universe, including Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Crédit Agricole and MetLife.
(Though on behalf of compliance departments everywhere, we cannot link most of the contestants with the firm they work for. This blog post was only intended for the recipient who clicked on it and the facts stated here are the author's opinion, not representative of the firm. This message will self-destruct in 3...2...)
Raj Mahal, a former trader with Bank of America who performed on CNBC's "Power Lunch," came in fifth place. He delivered some big laughs on everything from his Connecticut upbringing to his Indian heritage. "Ms. America is Indian — even that job was outsourced!" he said.
(Read more: Comedy at CNBC: Bob Pisani action figures! — includes bonus clip of Raj's comedy)
"Kenny G," a financial advisor for a major insurance company who came in fourth place, delivered some old school Wall Street humor about how Wall Streeters used to be the kings of New York and now it's these tech kids like Google, where their offices are like Gymboree and they have "Bring your parents to work day." "You don't go to work, you go to a play date!" he said to hoots and hollers from the suited-up crowd. (Not a hoodie in sight, except for one of the comedians.) And, he struck a nerve with this post-financial-crisis crowd, complaining that the budget for entertaining clients is now $25. "That's one lap dance!" he said.
One of the biggest laughs of the night came when Kenny said he'd like to give a "shout out to my compliance department," then proceeded to walk the length of the stage with his middle finger up.
Scott Schuman, a director at a financial-services firm who came in third place, confessed that he's divorced and that he probably won't get married again.
"Next time, I'll just find a woman I HATE and buy her a house!" he said to howls from the all-too-familiar-with-the-ex-wife crowd.
He also had some funny stuff about buying his girlfriend an adult toy and then having his boss borrow his iPad on a business trip — only to have some, um, unexpected "you might also like" items pop up. No technology was safe: He noted that when trying to send a woman a text professing his undying love with an Anthony Weiner-style photo attached, it changed Mo to "Mom" and, well, hilarity ensued.
Second place went to Jeremy Moulton, a project manager and business analyst at a big bank. One of his most hilarious bits was about how he's noticed how your laugh changes the higher you go up the corporate ladder. The interns are falling all over themselves with great big belly laughs (and a little cry at the end), while the senior hedge-fund managers who sit next to him barely lift a vocal cord.
One of his jokes that struck a nerve with the sometimes follicly-challenged Wall Street crowd was his explanation of the lesser-known reason why he got engaged so young. "Male-pattern baldness runs in my family. I'm about five rough shampoos away from looking like Mr. Clean!"
(Read more: Turns out, finance guys are pretty funny – includes bonus clip of Moulton's stand-up)
And the winner and reigning champion of "Funniest Person in Finance" is ….
Scott, who works in technical support for a financial-services firm, offered up some great physical comedy about his upbringing and how he turned out so well.
One particularly funny moment came when he did a dramatic re-enactment of sneaking out of the house. He thought he was getting away with it, until he heard an aluminum bat his mom had propped up against the door from the inside hit the ground. After waiting a dramatic five minutes and not hearing footsteps in their bedroom upstairs, he proceeded to the next door, only to come nose to nose with his mom. Dad wasn't far away with a camera.
And look where he is today — "Funniest Person in Finance." His mom must be so proud!
Indeed, his mom is proud, Scott said, but true to mom form, she asked him to stop telling that story — no matter what it helped him win — "because people will think I'm crazy."
He responded: "Um, you are crazy, so I don't see the problem!" To which his mom replied: "I know, but you don't have to tell everyone that."
So, Caliph Scott, you just won "Funniest Person in Finance," what are you going to do now — go to Disney World?!
"What am I going to do now? Get back work!" Scott said. "I enjoyed my moment last night. I've thanked my co-workers, kissed my girlfirend, smiled with my son and now the party's is over. I must get back to work as a technologist in the finance industry and I must get back to work on my craft as a comedian." He'll also be working on his pet project, laughwithyou.com.
Disappointingly, Scott did not get a sash and crown, but he will totally have bragging rights as Gotham's "Funniest Person in Finance!"
And yes, he's available for parties.
—By CNBC's Cindy Perman
Cindy Perman is the commentary editor for CNBC.com, as well as the author of the Pony Blog and the book, "New York Curiosities." Disclosure: She has performed stand-up comedy at Gotham Comedy Club. Follow her on Twitter @CindyPerman.
More from the Pony blog: