WASHINGTON (AP) — As it turned out, Sameer Mishra provided more than just comic relief at the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee. He ended up winning the title.

The 13-year-old from West Lafayette, Ind., who often had the audience laughing with his one-line commentaries was all business when he aced "guerdon" — a word that appropriately means "something that one has earned or gained" — to win the 81st version of the bee Friday night.

"I don't know about comedy lines, but my parents have been telling me since the beginning that I should always stay calm, cool and collected," said Sameer, who likes playing the violin and video games and hopes one day to be a neurosurgeon.

Sameer, appearing in the bee for the fourth time and a top 20 finisher the last two years, was a crowd favorite throughout the tournament. When told one of his words in the semifinals was a dessert, he deadpanned: "That sounds good right now." He rolled his eyes and muttered "wonderful" when told that one of his words had five different language roots.