March Madness has never been so funny.
Sports Illustrated once called the relationship between Boston University and Boston College the biggest rivalry in sports history. And the Battle of Commonwealth was even ranked first in College Hockey News' list of "College Hockey's Top 10 Rivalries." The B-Line Rivalry derives its various nicknames from the "T" trolley that takes Terriers and Eagles alike along their respective campuses (which are within about four miles of each other).
Now, BU and BC are taking their historic beef -- Wendy's beef, that is -- to the Web.
Two months. 14 states. 32 schools. 82 live events. For its fifth year, Rooftop Comedy is producing the 2012 National College Comedy Competition (NCCC). TBS and Wendy's are presenting sponsors.
On February 10 and February 12, respectively, BU and BC had their talent search event to narrow -- by audience vote -- 20 comics down to eight.
At the Live Showcase event at ImprovBoston in Cambridge on March 26, those 16 went head-to-head. The 8 on each team were narrowed down to 4, as decided upon by 3 judges -- one of whom was BU's Funniest Student Winner 2009 Jono Zalay.
The individual performances by the winning 4 on each team (aka the Starting Lineup) will be featured on TBS.com/College and most likely divided into two 45-second clips.
The first online voting round commences on Thursday, April 12 and ends on Sunday, April 15.
After the Regionals, the winner of the BU vs. BC voting round will compete with either Tufts University or Emerson College in the Quarterfinals.
Then it's on to the Semifinals wherein the teams battle each other -- with jokes "based off of provided prompts" -- via Skype. These "Grudge Match" videos go online for a public vote (April 25-27) with the addition of the "two cents" of a panel of judges.
Finally, the Finals. Judges' scores and public e-votes (May 1-3) determine The Funniest Comedy Team on May 8th. Those judges also pick an MVP from the Grudge Match to join the winning team in their VIP trips to "TBS Presents Just For Laughs" in Chicago. This summer, the winners will perform at that very festival.
As the 2012 Bracket shows, the winning team could be battling Columbia University or NYU and eventually schools like Stanford University from the West Division, Duke University from the South Division, or Northwestern University from the Midwest Division.
Bonnie Puckett, one of four event managers for the East Division, calls it an "absolute dream job" and "love[s] all of the puzzle pieces involved including finding hosts, comedy clubs, promoting, and travel."
Puckett has now seen over 150 student comics perform and she is "still awed with how talented and brave they are!"
Last year's MVP, Brandon Scott Wolf of Penn State, performed an entire routine on TBS' Lopez Tonight. And indeed, says Puckett, "With so many comedians out there, NCCC can definitely help boost careers."
But no matter who makes it to Chicago, the question now is: who will win the Battle of Boston?
The answer? It's all up to Time magazine's 2006 Person of the Year.