Following last week’s trifecta of Caste Of Killers Battle Royale IV preliminary rounds that found a field of nearly 30 of Milwaukee (and Madison for some reason)’s finest and funniest comedy contest competitors being reduced to just 12, the dozen comics left in contention will descent upon the basement of an east side bar and grill Friday to stack their jokes against those of their peers for the sake of pride, honor…and 200 bucks.

Before this weekend’s comedic culmination, Milwaukee Record sent personalized questionnaires to each remaining competitor. Here are excepts taken from what each had to say about the approaching Battle, their strategies, enemies, and more.

SAMMY ARECHAR
What will you spend the $200 on if you win?

I will invest domain names for sequels that aren’t out yet in hopes that one day they will make movies that I can profit from by selling social media handles, and also it would be cool to see a Springbreakers 2.

Which comic would it feel the best to crush in the finals? Why?
Anyone except for Nick Hart because him and I shared a bed for 11 days recently and we formed a really solid bond. Everyone else can slip on a peel for all I care. #kidding #iloveyouall #thewinnerisfriendship #ponderosa

GEOFF ASMUS
Do you think being a Madison-based comic could be a benefit in any way?
I think being a Madison comic is very helpful because my jokes are still semi-fresh to even the comedians in the audience.

Which comic would it feel the best to crush in the finals?
I would love to crush Toler Wolfe because he is a big ole puss.

ALLISON DUNNE
As the roommate of another finalist, have things been tense at home? Are you unified or is it an every woman for herself mentality?
I’m not sure why everyone thinks Liz [Ziner] and I are friends. I only moved in with her to learn her weaknesses and destroy her self-esteem.

Why should people—even those with no familiarity of the local comedy scene—come to the finals?
There’s a lot more comedic talent in the city than just those in the competition, and this is just an example of the high-caliber shows you can catch every weekend featuring local comics. And Netflix will still be there tomorrow, lazy asses.

Are you planning to bring out any brand new material for the finals?
Yes, specifically “Jude Law And A Semester Abroad.”

NICK HART
How would it feel to take Milwaukee’s funniest back to Madison?

It would be interesting to pull that off seeing as I’ve never gotten any respect in Madison, though I’ve opened for [Marc] Maron, [Kyle] Kinane, and [Bobcat] Goldthwait in Madison.

You recently toured with Sammy and Mr. JJ so you’ve seen them at their best and their worst. Are they beatable?
One hundred percent. Absolutely! Despite one being black and the other a Mexican, they have very little going for them but they are not to be taken likely. I slept in JJ’s van in Chicago while both JJ and Arechar enjoyed couches of strangers. I’ve put in the hard knocks to confidently take this competition down.

MR. JJ
Are you planning to bring out any brand new material for the finals?
I can’t tip my hand about new or old material. Just know there will probably be something up my sleeve.

You’ve toured with Sammy and Nick recently, so you’ve seen them at their best and their worst. Can they be beaten?
The only way to beat Sammy, Nick, and all the other comics is to bring my A game. I can’t control how good or bad anybody else will be in this competition. But what I can do is make sure when I get up on that stage that I give the people what they came to see.

RYAN LOWE
Based on being the defending champ and the general sentiment from comics, you were on the shortlist of comics favored when the lineup was announced. Does the expectation that you’ll do well add to the pressure?
Which material to use is a big part of the pressure. The expectation that I’ll do well is sort of daunting but, for me, it’s more a personal thing. Am I better than I was last year? Even if I am, will I be able to relate this to the audience? The scary part of this, for me, is not the other comedians. It’s the competition against myself. Like in Rocky IV.

If you can’t win, who do you hope does?
Probably Nick Hart. I admire him as a comedian. His dedication to the craft shows through in his act and his stuff is thoughtfully- and well-written. Plus, if anybody else is going to walk around calling himself “Milwaukee’s Funniest Comedian,” it should be someone from Madison, so he looks like a complete moron.


RAMIE MAKHLOUF
If you win, will you ask to be referred to as Milwaukee’s Funniest Comic on air?
Yes! I will demand it! Not just on the air, but in every conversation I have for the next year! No one will listen, but yes!

If you can’t win, who do you hope does?
Sammy Arechar or Chris Schmidt. Just two really nice guys, two of my favorite guys to watch, and probably the two guys, in my opinion, who I’ve seen the most growth from in the relatively short time that I’ve been doing this. I just love comics that are clearly having fun on stage and they’re both certainly that.

CHRISTOPHER SCHMIDT
How would winning the title of “Milwaukee’s Funniest Comic” compare to your recent—and well-deserved—best set award at the Circle A Halloween Comedy Show?
Winning the Battle Royale would be a bigger deal because I’ve invested more time in the material, as have the other comedians. The Halloween show was a lot of fun, but the stakes weren’t quite as high; the act was retired as soon as the mic went back in the stand. The Battle Royale is a great chance to add some lasting value to my name.

If you can’t win, who do you hope does?
Mr. JJ could beat me up in real life, so I suppose it wouldn’t be quite as embarrassing to lose to him in comedy life.

ANDREW SHAW
With all due respect, you’re relatively unknown in the scene compared to some of the other competitors. Do you think not being able to be easily pinned down could be a benefit in any way?
Yes, I agree I’m unknown around these parts but my name is ringing on the north side, so I believe it’s a slim chance to win this competition using just the crowd. However, it depends on how I perform.

What will you spend the $200 on if you win?
If I win, I’m paying a speeding ticket from Cudahy.

MATT WERNER
With just a year of stage time, how does it feel being one of the least experienced comics left? Do you think that could be a benefit in any way?

I am glad I have the chance to move on and give it a shot on Friday. One year ago, I had just started doing open mics, and every couple of months I’ve reached some milestones and have had some successes that have given me boosts to keep at it. The Battle Royale is another opportunity to put my jokes into other people’s brains. Old jokes in new people!

Which comic would it feel the best to crush in the finals?
My goal from day one in comedy has always been to crush Sammy Arechar, Monsanto, and Type 1 Diabetes—not necessarily in that order.

TOLER WOLFE
How would it feel to take the title of “Milwaukee’s Funniest Comic” back with you to Madison?
Like, pretty cool, I guess. No one in Madison has heard of Milwaukee though, so they won’t care.

Which comic would it feel the best to crush in the finals? Why?
Geoffrey Asmus because he’s giving me a lift and I need the prize money to pay him back.

If you can’t win, who do you hope does and why?
Geoffrey Asmus, so he doesn’t ask me for gas money.

LIZ ZINER
As the roommate of another finalist, have things been tense at home? Are you unified or is it an every woman for herself mentality?
Allison
and I are close. On paper. That paper is our lease. Any perceived “friendship” between us is as fake as Allison’s vegetarianism.

With just a year of stage time, how does it feel being one of the least experienced comics left? Do you think that could be a benefit in any way? How so or why not?
As the poet athlete LeRoy Butler once said, “Experience isn’t measured in years. It’s measured in moments that take your breath away.” I have asthma, so in some ways I’ve been at this for like 30 years.

What will you spend the $200 on if you win?
More wishes.

The final round of Caste Of Killers’ Battle Royale IV takes place Friday, November 21 at 8:30 p.m. at Karma Bar And Grill. Admission is $10 and space is limited.