The runner-up to Ms. Nicholas, Lisa Alvarado honed her skills in comedy clubs in both Chicago and Los Angeles, mostly talking about being Peruvian and single. "It was a great learning experience," Ms. Alvarado, a 34-year-old hairdresser who lives in Los Angeles with her 14-year-old son, said of the competition. "And I'm not even the typical Latina," she says in her routine. "I'm not, because I got pregnant in my late teens. There was so much pressure in my house, you guys. My Mom's always like, 'Hurry up, your little brother's already a grandfather.' " Like Ms. Alvarado, who jokes about people searching for Peruvia on the map, Ms. Nicholas cheerfully says that no one ever understood her culture.