On Saturday, May 4, some of the Pacific Northwest's funniest people will take the stage at the Egyptian Theatre as part of The Stranger's Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy showcase. Andy Iwancio! Dan Hurwitz! Chris Mejia! Monica Nevi! Juno Men! Bernice Larson! Kermet Apio! And headliner Sam Miller! Plus, the whole night will be hosted by Emmett Montgomery, beloved weirdo, host of Friendship Dungeon and Joketellers Union, and one of 2023's Undisputable Geniuses.

It's going to be very funny! I hope you come! Tickets are available here! Exclamation points!

This week, ahead of the show, we're getting to know all the comics. Today, say hello to Kermet Apio! Apio grew up in Hawaii and moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington. He performed his first stand-up set at the Comedy Underground in 1989 and he's been going ever since, racking up gigs in 47 states and six countries. You can watch his comedy special Hawaiian Pizza Isn't Hawaiian for free here.

How does it feel to be declared an Undisputable Genius of Comedy?

It’s caused me to break out in a bad case of imposter syndrome. Still can’t get rid of the symptoms.

The show is at the Egyptian, which is rumored to be haunted. Do you believe in ghosts?

I do, but only the ones that don’t talk during the movie. 

I can see that you’re a pie person. I am also a big fan of pie! What’s your favorite pie in Seattle?

Pie has become such a big part of my social media persona that I don’t think it’s a good idea to single one out. It’s like my kids. You pick a favorite but you don’t talk about it out loud. Things can get awkward. 

You have been performing comedy in Seattle since the '90s. How has Seattle’s comedy scene changed in recent years? From the outside looking in, it looks like it’s really beginning to thrive since COVID. Does that feel accurate?

Absolutely. In the early days of lockdown, we were worried that comedy wasn’t going to come back in the same form. It came back stronger. 

As far as the change in Seattle comedy over the years the best thing is the variety of voices. Be it race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, belief system, the diversity in comedy today was not welcomed when I started. I’ve seen club owners and bookers tell gay comics if they come out on stage they won’t get booked. Some women were denied stage time if they declined advances or didn’t flirt back. Or pregnant women were told once that baby is born their comedy career will end. I’ve seen a Black comic be told he was “too Black.” We still have a ways to go, but looking in the rearview we have come a long way. And I’m proud of the generations of Seattle comedy for making these changes. 

What’s your favorite place to see comedy in Seattle right now? 

Club Comedy is my favorite but the fact is that no matter which one you go to, clubs are the way to see comedy. Sure, go see your favorite national comic at the theaters, but seeing comedy at a club is pure, raw, intimate, and a work in progress. This scene has so many talented comics and it’s worth taking a chance on seeing someone you don’t know.

The Stranger presents the 2024 Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy Sat May 4 at the Egyptian Theatre, 8 pm, $25, 18+. Tickets are available here.

Read our interviews with Juno Men, Monica Nevi, Andy Iwacio.