Last Comic Standing: Season 6, Episode 11: The Five Finalists

So this is it? The last performance show? Did they cut it short for some reason? I guess it’s probably the fault of the Olympics. This season has been so unbalanced, I wish I had had a blog back when things were a little more stable. Oh well, it should only end up being two more posts, right?

They opened with a musical number as though it was the Oscars or something. Everyone’s doing the Jack Black thing lately, even Marcus! Marcus and Iliza got the most applause when they came up to announce that they were going to be the last comic standing.

Luckily we went right to the performances. Here’s my review of each comics in order of least-liked to most-liked.

Bill Bellamy doesn’t believe in punchlines? I never thought I’d be asking for them to bring back Jay Mohr.

Jeff Dye did a whole section on a board game, a man after my own heart. Who knew “Guess Who?” taught racism? I like him a lot (I’d be happy to see him win) and I smiled but I didn’t end up laughing enough to rate him high enough on this list. Plus he was mean to his parents. Who does that?

Ron G rocked the mohawk. I think that’s about all he rocked. He has really good energy, though, and he tied everything up in a neat little bow at the end, calling back all his previous jokes and impressions. He is technically very talented but he just doesn’t do it for me. So sad when they kick someone off the show just after they come off a performance!

Sean Cullen fell flat except for the Australian James Bond villain. That one short bit redeemed the whole act for me.

Adam Hunter always goes for the political stuff. He seemed nervous up there but I think he did really well. The jokes came rapid fire and they didn’t really tie together very easily, but it didn’t really matter becaue his energy kept it moving. I feel like everyone did well tonight.

Marcus gets his first real chance to perform on stage tonight, and he gets to go first. Hopefully that doesn’t mean people will forget his performance. Doing a whole music-themed set with some impressions and some standup seems like a great idea. A few more impressions would have hit the spot, but he did well as was expected.

Louis Ramey goes the patriotic route, he does a great redneck impression and he has them pegged. He doesn’t go negative, he’s even, experienced, and he finds a tone right down the middle: a consummate showman. Of course he made it into the final five.

Iliza Shlesinger represent! She started off on drinking games, which I don’t have enough experience with to relate to, but then she got into office culture and it was good. So smarmy! I think it’s to her credit that she’s the one on the show with the most balls. I’d be happy to see her win the whole thing.

Jim Tavare I had very expectations for. I think he met them, I’ve liked him since the very beginning, I like that he carries around a giant Bass and finds good and interesting ways to incorporate into his act. I laugh when he tells jokes. He’s in the final five and he’s going to WIN!

Vote for Jim Tavare!

All my last comic standing posts.


Last Comic Standing: Season 6 Semifinals Part 2

I’m late again! This time I was at the beach, and then I didn’t rush to the Tivo to watch LCS after I got home. I think that’s okay, though.

Let’s go straight to the competitors, again from those I thought were least funny to those who were funniest:

Stone & Stone:
They mainly did material they had already done. I didn’t laugh at it this time; last time was pretty good. The audience seemed to like them, as did the judges and Fearne.

Heath Hyche:
Very high energy, I can give him that. I didn’t know we had two prop comics in the competition, though. The audience seemed to like it, though the judges didn’t. I didn’t really care for it.

Papa CJ:
Relatively new to comedy, he did a lot of the same material he did at the tryouts. That’s probably not a good sign, but the new stuff was pretty funny. He also has the confidence, even cockiness, that good stand-ups often have. Fearne should have given him a harder time about that!

Dan Cummins:
Pretty good and I laughed; some people posted a comment on my blog saying he steals material, and a lot of people were searching for him. I don’t know if that bodes poorly. I like him when he’s up there.

Eddie Pepitone:
There was a lot of yelling on his part, and some laughing and smiling on my part. Self-deprecating humor can work well in some of the sequences they do on the show when you make it through, and he is a master.

Bob Biggerstaff:
“The world’s only push-up cummerbund.” Very laugh-worthy, and they always need at least one “fat guy” comedian on the show.

Jackie Kashian:
She ended with “there’s more to that” and I definitely would have been willing to hear more. I didn’t laugh out loud, but I respected that finally, a white comedian could do a whole set making fun of their parents.

Iliza Shlesinger:
When she’s on the stage telling jokes, I’m laughing. I don’t think she did anything funny, though, in the interview beforehand or after with Fearne. She could be a fierce competitor in the house but maybe not a funny one.

John Evans:
I laughed, and I don’t just think he’s funny I liked him too.

Esther Ku:
I didn’t know what my expectations here were. She has sort of a combination of the Asian family humor I liked from Dat Phan and “I’m a cute girl and I know it” I liked from Amy Schumer. She is definitely funny. Fearne gave her two thumbs up.

He didn’t do any impressions! This is quite surprising, since they’re his strong suit, but his set was pretty good which shows important range. I didn’t laugh out loud but I respected it. Then he did his Walken on the way out! Fearne and the judges made the same conclusions as me.

Louis Ramey:
He did wall-to-wall jokes, with no relief, and most of them landed. Again, a couple times he repeated material from the tryouts, which seems a little strange, since he has so much experience and probably a huge repertoire.

Pete Lee:
He always makes fun of his own name! But at least it’s in a different way, not a repeat of material. I laughed a lot during his set, really enjoyed it.

Mary Mack:
Hooray! Funny and fun. I liked her just as much here as I did in the tryouts. The judges say she took too long to get out the first joke, but I think it was worth the wait, just to establish her stage presence.

Sean Cullen:
Great set! A funny and well-sung song and some jokes beforehand that I don’t even remember after the song. It really only had a couple of jokes in it, but they were good. He reminded me of an old-timey bard.

Jim Tavaré:
Great performance! I laughed the most of any and I think it’s pretty amazing that he can do that with a Bass on stage in a tuxedo.

This weeks comics were more consistently good than last weeks, in my opinion.
I would have been happy if all the girls had moved on. As it is, only two did. I would have also liked to see 7 or 8 move through from this group rather than only 5. I don’t know how they divided up the group into 16s, but they didn’t do a great job!

Anyway, the comics they chose to move on, as you can see, I am much happier with than last week. Given the little I have seen, I think I will go with Jim Tavaré to win it all. That being said, whoever I usually predict to win goes home about 4th from the end. We’ll see if my record continues.

This is the last time I can choose someone who should have gone forward, because the eliminations will be in 1s and 2s from here on out. I’ll choose Mary Mack, because I have a crush on her.

All my last comic standing posts.

Last Comic Standing: Season 6 Semifinals Part 1

This week: a semifinals episode, where half the comics are eliminated. This is the first of two two hour episodes, so we get four full hours of semifinals! I hope they are acceptably funny. Richard Belzer and Steve Schirripa (I remembered how to spell that from the last time he was a judge!) are back, having made the trip from New York to Vegas. Bill Bellamy was not on the top of his game warming up the crowd; reminded me of back when Jay Mohr was the host.

I’ll go over the comics in the order I thought they were, least funny to most funny. I came up with this order before I saw who got to move on. Comics who moved on are in bold. I also mention when the comics got to talk to Fearne or the judges.

Adam Hunter:
The pretty boy was very high energy, and seemed a little nervous. He went for a series of rapid fire jokes, one after the other, with not really very much transition. In the interview before he went on, he was very cocky He got a judges comment and an interview with Fearne.

Phil Palisoul:
He has a good personality and solid material but I didn’t really laugh.

Ron G:
Most of his set was him doing a funny voice, which was funny, but not super funny. I didn’t laugh.

Jeff Dye:
Many of his jokes got applause more than laughter; I think he did some pretty good physical comedy on exercise machines. He got an interview with Fearne.

The Meehan Brothers:
These guys do something totally different every time, which is respectable. They can think things up. I didn’t laugh at all, though, in the end.

Shazia Mirza:
Another instance where she got some applause as well as laughs for her jokes, and she did the rapid-fire delivery as well. It seemed like she was a little nervous. Fearne interviewed her and she seemed very nervous.

God’s Pottery:
They only have time to perform one song in the sets they show on the show. It’s hard to judge them just based on the one song but I don’t know if they will fit in well with the rest of the show. Judges comments: they never break character, which is respectable but a little creepy. They got a Fearne interview.

Andi Smith:
I’d go see her in West Virginia! Smiles all around but no laughing. She does the low-energy thing pretty well and she’s fun. No interviews!

Drennon Davis:
Lots of smiling from me, no laughing. He’s very much a personality and I respect anyone who can pull off a whole chorus and verse of a fake rap song. Fearne interview.

Paul Foot:
I didn’t want to like him, because I didn’t really like his set on the international show, and he comes off a little cocky, but I smiled throughout. He did alright. The judges talked him up, as did Fearne.

Lioz Shem Tov:
As a prop comic, it feels like he’s a bit of a long shot, has to prove himself. He might not have that much material, it appears, as I think we’ve seen the turtle before. No laughs, but he made me smile consistently from beginning to end, which was also the judges comment. He got judges and a Fearne interview.

Erin Jackson:
Produced some laughs, she has a very laid back personality. I think she would do well writing and starring in her own sitcom (it’s too bad NBC took that prize away this year, but it figures since none of the other winners ever got theirs). Again, she’s from DC so she has a hometown advantage for me. She got a Fearne interview.

Winston Spear:
I don’t remember seeing this sort of act from him before, the sort of nervous and strange footwork and posing. It worke for me, though. I laughed. Winston got to talk to the judges and they gave him somewhat negative comments which was unusual.

Erin Foley:
I would consider her very sardonic if I am right about what that word means. She was the fourth comic on stage and the first to make me laugh out loud.

Dale Jones:
A southerner with a little bit of a similar sensibility, though a little less crazy, won last year. He very much has an interesting personality. He definitely produced a guffaw or two from me during his set.

Dan Naturman:
Very funny, he produced some laughs in my case. He has kind of a Maxwell Smart delivery which I appreciate, and it’s timely!

Obviously the judges and/or producers did not agree with me at all! How very sad. Three of their selections were in my bottom four picks. I hope America is as disappointed as I am! If they choose this poorly next week, too, I might have to stop watching!

It seems like they went for diversity and charisma over funniness, which is pretty common with this show. They selected no females, though, so expect to see at least two females move on next week.

Four of the five winners got an interview with Fearne; eight out of sixteen performers did, so it seems like a Fearne interview is strongly correlated with being selected. We’ll see if that holds next week.

All my last comic standing posts.

Last Comic Standing: Season 6, Episode 4

Alright, hopefully I will get this post finished the night the show airs for the first time. Maybe we can even make it a regular occurrence. I watch on Tivo, and tonight watching it mostly live made me realize how many commercials there are. So many! Also, the Incredible Hulk bugs during the show didn’t help with that problem. In any case, the comedy is probably worth the commercials, but if you don’t have a Tivo, I recommend it.

I don’t really understand the little box they put the comics in. I think they did it last season during the show for voting, but when they do it in the auditions nothing really funny ever happens in the booth. They show those short tiny montages but they are not very becoming, in my opinion. I think they should probably just drop it.

Okay, so this week we’re in Minneapolis first. Our judges are Kate Flannery and Brian Baumgartner from The Office. Did anyone else think that there was some sort of soft focus filter on the interviews with Kate Flannery? It was almost like a Barbara Walters thing. I found it jarring given how clear the comics are shown adjacent to the interview.

Dan Cummings made another vegetarian joke! He struck me at my very heart, talking about vegetarians who maybe sometimes cheat a little bit. Like the vegetarianism joke in Episode 2, I didn’t find it funny, but that doesn’t mean someone not offended by it wouldn’t. In any case, Cummings pretty much won me back at “Chocolate Squirrelador.” Maybe. We’ll see how he does in Vegas.

They ended up choosing three guys in Minneapolis. Is that the first time this happened? After next week’s final audition episode I’ll try to post a list of people going to Vegas so I can find out. As to who should have moved forward, while watching the episode and before they chose the winners here, I wrote down “Doug Mellard might win the whole thing. And I love his hair.” (These comedians and their MySpace!) I think I’m going to have to say that he should have moved through.

Then, we arrive in Nashville, where super-promoed judges George Wendt and John Ratzenberger preside over the scene. Some of the celebrity judges have a good rapport and others not too much. The Office actors in Minneapolis and the 30 Rock actors who presumably work together and know each other closely tended to have a better rapport, it seemed. You would think Norm and Cliff would have this also, but it seemed like it wasn’t really there. They may not have had time to show it, but the way they were hyping that pairing, I think they would have done so if they could have.

Mary Mack was so very cute! Is her accent real or is it a put-on? Either way it sells the act and I will root for her for quite some time if I can. It’s very strange, because all three of my favorite comedians from Nashville made it through and I don’t think that happened any other time. Erin Jackson, from my hometown of DC, was one and Dale Jones, with his high energy shrieking and bouncing off the walls, was the third. I was all ready to proclaim one of these people the comic who should have made it through. I had to go back and review who else was there to pick someone, which I think is a good sign. I’ll go with Pat Godwin. It was pretty bold that he could get to to the showcase solely by singing Bingo. And he deserved it, too!

There was only one duo this week, and it was, perhaps coincidentally, also the only act they decided to air that would have fit into their “worst auditions” sequence last week. Are Minneapolis and Nashville just behind the times? It seems like duos and trios are what’s fresh and new in the comedy world! It’s okay though, I’m down with the old school, especially when the judges choose correctly like they did here.

Next week is the international showcase! They’re actually pulling comics from countries where they speak other languages this year, which should be interesting. Last year, some of the best comics, including my pick for who should have won, Matt Kirshen, came from over the sea. I am looking forward to it!

All my last comic standing posts.

Last Comic Standing: Season 6 Episode 3

I’m late again! I know, I know, but I do have another excuse this time. My tivo failed to tape the first half hour of the show, starting at 8:30 instead of 8. I don’t know if this was a screwup on their part or mine. Actually, I’m pretty lucky that I got anything at all because my power was out all the previous evening from a pretty bad storm and my cable went out at 11 Thursday night, so it sneaked through between those two outages.

If I wasn’t committing myself to write these reviews, I would have just blown off the missing first half hour, but I need to give you, the reader, a full and informed opinion. I got the first part of the episode through *ahem* other means, so I’ve seen the whole thing now.

Before we get into the auditions for this season, I’d like to note the “best of the worst” top 10 countdown that aired throughout the episode. Some of these auditions were pretty bad, but they included the alien warrior comedian, who I thought should have actually gotten a shot in my review of the first episode. Interestingly, all of the other comedians who got into “best of the worst” didn’t really do standup: they danced, or boxed, or fumbled about the stage, but they didn’t tell jokes with the certain rhythm and cadence that the alien warrior at least understands how to do. So, I’m ambivalent. He probably shouldn’t have been included in this set, but more screentime is probably always good when you’re a comedian, right?

Okay, on to the auditions: first we are dropped into San Francisco, where French Stewart and Josh Gomez are the judges. They started strong: Jason Downs, the first comedian, made me laugh in the first 2 minutes of the show. The second audition, however, was billed as the “most shocking audition” of the show.

I didn’t find it that shocking.

This “most shocking audition” basically consisted of a stand-up cursing and being belligerent, and the judges doing their best to respond while saving their own faces. It seems to me that their clever ripostes were the interesting part of the whole thing, but nothing about it was all that shocking.

Overall, San Francisco was a pretty strong group. You could take your pick from those who made it through to the evening show and end up pretty strong. When everyone is good like that, I mostly end up being biased towards the pretty girls and the nerdy guys. For example, last season I was rooting all season for Amy Schumer and Matt Kirshen. I think the producers generally agree with me on those criteria, too (the producers select the winners, not the judges, right?) Will Jeff Dye wear that flourescent shirt all season if he makes it through?

Since it’s my thing to choose someone who didn’t make it through who I thought should have been given a chance, I’ll choose Jesse Case. I was going to say Sky and Nancy Collins, the duo from Orange County, but they introduced themselves using the same material at both auditions, and usually that’s a bad sign. Also, they reminded me of the “two douchebags” sketches on SNL.

Moving on to Toronto, host Bill Bellamy starts us out dressed in a mountie costume. Isn’t that illegal? Impersonating an officer of the law or something seems like it would apply. The judges in Toronto are Dave Foley and Richard Kind, who seem to do a decent job.

Only two comics are selected from Toronto, just like last week in Houston. It also looked like they didn’t have too many people at the showcase, I guess how many they select must be based on how many solid comics they found. Everyone in the crowd is so upset when they announce they are only choosing two, and I think the audience at home feels the same way.

We had some more duos and even a trio today. I wonder how many multiple-comic groups they are going to let move through to the challenges. It seems like it could be hard to design challenges where a duo wouldn’t have an advantage over a single comic, so my guess is they will only let one duo move through. I think we have three going to Vegas so far, if I’m counting correctly, so we shall see if my prediction holds out.

Brian Lazanik successfully made an archeology joke. I give him mad props for that. Derek Forgie is immensely high energy and if he played that character on the show, he would get pretty annoying pretty fast. I figured the producers wouldn’t let him get chosen for that very reason, but later in the show they did an interview with him and he wasn’t in character, so my theory went out the window. But we can always blog about these things, right?

I know I talk a fair piece about the duos but I think that the Williamson Playboys should have moved forward. Some people might not care for the musical acts, but the show seems to be willing explore that space a little more this season and I would have liked to see them move through, at least to Vegas.

I’ve sort of fallen into a pattern here and I worry I won’t know what to write about when we get into the actual house and challenges part of the show, but I had strong opinions last season and hopefully I will this season as well.

All my last comic standing posts.

Last Comic Standing: Season 6, Episode 2

I’m running a little late on this one (well, a lot late), but I did finally get to it after coming home from Iowa. I think I should be all over this weeks episode the day it airs or the day after.

Anyway, this weeks episode included the auditions for Los Angeles and Houston. It was two hours long, instead of the hour and a half of the first episode, and I think that was merited. It makes sense that Los Angeles is one of the strongest towns to find comedians, and all of the folks they found there should have made it on.

I don’t know if it’s a general trend in the comedy community or just a quirk that this season the show is highlighting, but there were yet again duos who were given a voice on the show. Neither made it to the semi-finals, unlike last week, but one did make it to the audience audition. Dos Spanish Flies were pretty good, a little reminiscent of Tenacious D, in my opinion, and that’s a compliment in my book. Does anyone who is more versed in comedy know if duos are the new hotness?

I kind of want to understand more about how the editors and producers choose which comedians to highlight with their own special video introduction. It seems like the people who get them usually don’t move on very far, though not always. I wonder if these are people the producers think might be up and comers but who the judges aren’t particularly interested in. I also wonder whether they shoot those introductions before or after the comics perform before the judges.

The judges in Los Angeles were Oscar Nuñez and Angela Kinsey from The Office. I think they did a pretty decent job of picking the best out of this group, and a very good group it was. It seems like Oscar was a little more discerning than Angela, but they seemed to always come together and fundamentally agree. I think there were more good comics in the Los Angeles group than in the other three groups I’ve seen the auditions from combined.

Especially impressive in Los Angeles were the female comics. They should make a Last Comic Standing just for women and stock it with everyone who showed up to this audition. It was a beautiful sight. Two of them made it through, but the judges opted for a more diverse cast to fill out the selection.

To continue the tradition of pointing out which comics I think should have moved through but didn’t, I’m going to have to go with the ladies who didn’t make it. If I wanted to be consistent, I’d choose the card-carrying Star Wars geek, Jacob Sirof. But, I just loved these comics so much, I’m going to have to go with both Amber Tozer and Ruby Wendell. They just blew me away.

Los Angeles was so good that the show devoted 1:12 out of a 2:00 show, leaving only 0:48 for Houston. The hosts in Houston were Alfonso Ribeiro from Fresh Prince and Neil Flynn from The Fugitive and the new Indiana Jones movie (and, oh yeah, Scrubs). Houston also got the short shrift with only two comics moving on. I think this might have been justified, I only wish a few more from LA could have been selected.

One set from Houston that I didn’t identify with was Mark Agee’s. It might be that I identified with it too closely, as he spent the whole time making fun of vegetarians, of which I am one. Other than that, he seems like a funny enough guy, he just chose a topic that I found distasteful. Andi Smith, one of the winners in Houston, seemed really really familiar to me, and I don’t know where I’ve seen her. Apparently she’s been on comedy central a few times, so that could be it. The other winner, Bob Biggerstaff, made me laugh out loud consistently with his final set. I think it was the funniest of the first two episodes, and I hope he goes far.

It’s difficult to choose who should have moved on from Houston that didn’t get to. I think Danny Rios definitely has a character and a shtick that I can respect, so I will go with him. Apparently his MySpace page plays music, though, so watch for that if you’re at work.

Again, hopefully I can get this weeks episode watched and posted about a little earlier than I did the last two. This season seems to be shaping up to be pretty good, though of course you can never tell this early how it will look in the endgame. I think I will at least enjoy seeing the comedians who have made it through in the semi-finals.

All my last comic standing posts.

Last Comic Standing: Season 6, Episode 1

I may be a couple days late on this one, been trying to keep busy but I finally caught up with it on Tivo. I generally am a big fan of Last Comic Standing, I’ve watched 3 out of the 5 seasons already aired, and it’s one of a very very few shows on television that can make me laugh out loud. In the summer, it’s pretty much the only thing my Tivo records (so if you have recommendations for other summers shows, let me know.)

LCS is really two different shows. Like American Idol, there first is a series of auditions and celebrity judges making the cut and selecting the semi-finalists, and then there’s the competition itself which is a series of challenges followed by a head-to-head stand-up competition. I like both aspects; the auditions are generally pretty funny, but can be frustrating, and in the competition you really get to see people’s personalities and root for them.

To speak to this specific episode – it included the auditions in New York City and Tempe, Arizona. I’ll speak to the results of the competitions but I want to make clear that since the producers of the show don’t show us all the competitors (even those that make it to the evening audition in front of an audience), there might be some real gems that we didn’t even find out about.

In New York, the judges were Richard Belzer and Steve Schirripa. It was a little strange because two pairs of comedians got tickets: one was a set of (identical?) twins who have an interesting shtick that consists of both of them talking over each other and then doing jokes where one makes fun of the other. If they have a lot of material, they could go far.

The other paired-up comedians were a duo who pretend to be stereotypical happy innocent Christian evangelicals and perform songs from that viewpoint. It may just be a coincidence that two pairs were chosen, but it seems like the people who end up getting picked are the ones who are not necessarily the funniest, but have the most interesting personalities or backstories. Esther Ku reminds me a lot of Dat Phan (mostly because all her jokes seem to be about her Asian mother).

The New York comedian who I thought most deserved to move on but didn’t get to was Dan Curry (MySpace seems to be the place for comics). They only showed him telling two jokes but they were definitely good and made me laugh out loud.

The judges in Tempe were Fred Willard and Kathy Najimy. I don’t know exactly why they choose Tempe to go to, but I think a lot of the comics come from Las Vegas. They seem to have found this season’s impressionist here in “Marcus,” who was quite good, as well as the pretty boy (not to denigrate the comedy of Adam Hunter, which I haven’t seen enough of yet to judge).

They probably should have selected Rob Little, the happiest comedian, but I think having selected God’s Pottery, the Christian folk duo from New York, they were afraid of ending up with two (technically three) happy-happy people in the competition. That’s too bad because I thought Rob Little was pretty good.

The comedian they didn’t even give a chance to that they definitely should have was the Alien Warrior Comedian. He didn’t even make it to the show with an audience, but I think another set of judges may have given him a fairer shake. Kathy Najimy seemed a little more put off by him than I think was merited. I’m a Trekkie though, so his shtick appealed to me a little more than others perhaps.

I plan on keeping up with the show this summer if I can, but I’ll probably be on vacation next week so my post may be fairly late, if I end up doing it at all.

All my last comic standing posts.