"Competition comedy blows," says Cleveland comedian Ryan Dalton. At first blush, it seems like a strange sentiment coming from a guy who's enjoyed a flurry of recent success in comedy contests. Dalton was the grand prize winner at 2011's World Series of Comedy, the winner of this year's Best of the Midwest Contest at Gilda's Laughfest, and has been a finalist in a handful of other prestigious national comedy competitions. But spend a little time with him, and it quickly becomes clear that he's just too friendly to ever truly enjoy the more cutthroat aspects of show business. Dalton is the best kind of everyman, down-to-earth yet driven to excel. In addition to a busy touring schedule, Dalton made his television debut on season one of TBS's Sullivan & Son. En route from Los Angeles to his home in Ohio, the standup discusses the benefits of collaboration, and the vibrancy of Cleveland's independent comedy scene. Always irreverent and often downright silly, Dalton is like the neighbor who tells great jokes over cold beers and borrowed lawnmowers. His 2009 album, You Were Funny Too (Shmelnick Records), is peppered with tracks that double as goofy meta-isms like "What's Up With the Internet" and "My Parents are Crazy." Audiences at the Joke Joint can look forward to a performer on the cusp of bigger things, who's confident enough to deliver, yet humble enough to appreciate the opportunity — a.k.a. what we in the Midwest like to call "a winner." With Carmen Morales.
April 18-20, 8 p.m.; April 19-20, 10:30 p.m., 2013