Tom Chalmers has seen the Asheville comedy scene grow a lot since moving to town five years ago. He says it feels good to be at the top of the growing pack of up-and-coming comedians.
"It's very nice, particularly since it wasn't campaigned for," he says of the best local comedian win. "So hopefully it reflects something true and not just something people were forced into voting for."
Chalmers has an extensive background in comedy and theater, coming to Asheville after stints studying at the legendary Second City school of improvisation and working as the artistic director of NYC's Gotham City Improv.
Locally, he's best known as the star of the perennially sold-out productions of The Santaland Diaries held annually at Asheville Community Theatre. But he's also made a name for himself as one half of the Scottch Tomedy sketch-comedy duo, and as a regular performer in the blossoming stand-up scene. His newest project is a humorous series at 35below called Listen to This, in which he brings audience members' stories to life.
"There's a lot of different ways you can perform in town these days, so I try to take advantage of any situation that comes my way," he notes. "Asheville's come a long way from when I moved here — you could go anywhere and there would be a bluegrass night in the bathroom at Bojangles’, but you had to drive to Johnson City to hear someone tell a joke."
— Jake Frankel