Watts wins comedy nod at N.Y. fest

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NEW YORK -- Reggie Watts won the third annual Andy Kaufman Award as part of the New York Comedy Festival here Thursday night.

The celebrity judges also mentioned Eric Davis, who performs as the Red Bastard, and Ken Barnard as other standouts of the showcase of up-and-coming alternative performers at the venerable Carolines on Broadway comedy club.

Last year's winner Kristen Schaal hosted the show, which attracted a large crowd that enjoyed stage and video performances, appearances by members of the Kaufman family and tribute videos.

The award is presented in honor of Kaufman to a performer who most closely reflects the originality, humor and courage of the comedy legend. Father Stanley Kaufman, Andy's legendary manager George Shapiro, NBC casting guru Marc Hirschfeld and comedy veteran Melanie Roy served as judges.

Watts, who had already attracted attention in the New Faces showcase at this summer's Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, walked away with the Andy award and a cash prize of $5,000 after woeing the audience with his beat-boxing/sound collages, non-sequiturs and off-the-wall observations.

"He is very unique," Shapiro said about Watts. "And he just had some wonderful and very funny lines."

Watts is just starting work on "Zipcode," a travel show set to feature different parts of New York, for Turner Broadband with his comedy partner. He is also doing "Nighthawk" for Comedy Central's MotherLoad, a series of previews for a show that will never air.

Watts said after the show he will need time to digest his win and said: "I love the criteria of this show. Everyone on stage tonight thinks in odd ways about the world and presents (material) in non-traditional ways. It makes you feel you can be accepted" with performances that are different.

Red Bastard calls himself a clown or bouffon and earned laughs with his outrageous costume and a mix of physical comedy, jokes and audience interaction. Shapiro particularly lauded his "hilarious body movements."

Barnard got points for originality with a reading of his favorite novel -- "Rocky 3."
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