Whoa, we're already at the finals? As much as the show jerked us around there at the beginning, it sure did get to the point fairly quickly. I guess without any children's birthday parties to entertain, these comics are sticking to just comedy, and I couldn't be happier. Great sets for everyone all around tonight; let's get right to it:
- Roy Wood Jr.: His set was solid, but I still feel like he's best when he lets his premises really settle with the audience and grow naturally. Last week he had a killer routine about a weird McDonald's run-in, and the longer he stayed in that world, the more exponentially powerful the punchlines became. This week was just as silly and whimsical as his other stuff, but he brushed a lot of his lines away quickly, moving on to other things. He had something promising about his uncle, which turned into some comments on Mississippi, then being single covering for his married friends' lies. He spent more time on that last point, but even that felt like it wasn't enough time. I wanna see more; too bad it's the end. Plus, what was up with all the "polite applause" the camera cut to?
- Tommy Johnagin: Slowly but surely, Tommy Johnagin is drawing us into his world, and he keeps getting better and better. The set-up of accidentally going into a gynecologist's office at 13 is funny enough, but what sold me were the constant asides that pepper the story with details. He filled out the form and admits, "sure, I had to skip over a few questions," and later says he was scared to admit he didn't know what an OBGYN was because "I was scared I would look stupid." The jokes are a hell of a lot more fun when we're already on his side, and this set best represented his ability to do that effortlessly.
- Myq Kaplan: Myq is a deconstructionist comedian, but it took until this final week for him to really let that freak flag fly. He took the topic of sexism and flipped it around in his mind, spending the entire set coming at it from every conceivable and inconceivable angle—the 19th amendment and the misogyny of the term "man hole", to name a few. Plus, line of the night: "Who's going to vote next: Furniture? Horses? Other things that I own?" And yet again he's the only comic to call out the other performances and let things be in the moment. Top notch comic all around.
- Felipe Esparza: Eh. I'm not really sure what to say about him anymore. I'm really starting to see the strain this competition has put on him; a lot of his funniest stuff came out very early, and he's left with bits without much to them. He works best when the jokes play against expectation, like his last quip about women comparing him to his much better looking gay brother: "What a shame." Everything else though? His dad put an oven knob on the TV, so Felipe's favorite show growing up was 300 degrees, a "hot show." And his mom cooked with lard so he joked about having a heart attack as a kid. When he embraces the weird, Felipe can be awesome, but there's not much more weird left in him.
- Mike DeStefano: I know we joke about how the producers have been secretly pulling for this guy from the beginning, but has he ever not gone first or last? Sneaky. In any case, I didn't find him as boring this week as I normally do. The material hasn't gotten much better, it's still essentially very little set-up for very little pay-off (and at least one "can you hear me now?" line…). But I can see why he's still around: He's perfected his onstage persona and is a bit more polished than the other comics. As a joke writer, though? Not for me.
Oh hey, and Ron White…nevermind.
- "It's the most important performance of their lives." Until next week.
- David Letterman inspired Tommy Johnagin. Surprised NBC didn't bleep it out for Jay Leno.
- "I won the pool: Yes, he is Jewish." I love Andy Kindler.