It's official: Last Comic Standing auditions are suspenseless. Over the course of the first New York audition day, we got to know a bunch of comics who were all passed on to the showcase. There were also a few brief montages of weirdos: The costumed one and the one where the comics were just like Jeff Dunham only without any thinly veiled racism. Almost everyone else was funny and almost every one of them made it to the semi-finals. There was very little will-they, won't-they.
(Well, just a little for me personally, as I once again found myself rooting for a hometown boy, Jared Logan. He's devastatingly funny, though I can understand that in super-short showcase format he might not come across as succinctly. But thanks, Last Comic Standing, for giving him some screen time and including his also hilarious roommates Nick Vatterott and members of New York duo Team Submarine.)
Without much need to set up the judges, the comics got top-billing tonight, save once again for some amazing Andy Kindler zingers. Many of you brought up last week how the show seems to be casting even more established comedians, and tonight made that point even more blatant. Mike DeStefano, complete with mafia-like set-up clip, made it on, even though he's been headlining The Improv clubs all over the country. Alycia Cooper, Kurt Metzger, Tommy Johnagin…I know they're not, say, Aziz Ansari, but most of the guys and gals have respectable comedy careers already, right? Remember in season one when Jim Norton was deemed "too established" and was kicked off? I've completely lost the sense those earlier audition episode held, that I was witnessing something totally new and undiscovered, and that now was the time to cast my vote for the dark horse contender. It took Craig Robinson pointing out the forthcoming audience voting to jog my memory that such a thing even will occur.
A part of me is thankful for the change, which came about gradually over the last few seasons. The only thing worse than bad stand-up comedy is mediocre stand-up comedy. At it's best, stand-up is the illusion that you're having a casual conversation with an extremely witty and smart person, and mediocre stand-up is the equivalent of getting stuck talking to someone's friend's coworker when you show up to a house party really early. That guy who covered the microphone with his mouth to do his ventriloquist act? I died, because it was so miserable and desperate. But the rest of the dummy acts, with their subpar jokes and lackluster delivery—it's all very hard to stand. Obviously I'd bet 99 percent of the comics who audition are in that category, so that's all we see. (Except when they all declare themselves the last comic standing while in line.) It's difficult enough to set yourself apart from your competitors and express a distinct point of view in just a few minutes, let alone in a high-pressure televised audition setting. I'm just saying, well, Last Comic Standing could stand to scale back it's reality show-ness—which focuses almost exclusively on the suspenseful aspects—and just let the comics do their thing.
Once again, the stuff that worked, did so effortlessly. I'm already putting my money on Kurt Metzger, who opted smartly to stick to extended singularly focused bits—first a takedown of those "Cash 4 Gold" TV ads, and next the surreal event of finding out about Michael Jackson's death on the day of his own father's funeral. I could have done without Alycia Cooper (too obvious), but thought Jamie Lee's material twisted and turned nicely—like her little aside about how her cat-caller had really weird posture. And Tommy Johnagin had me at "The comedy starts…now."
Let's keep this train a'rollin, shall we?
- I'll be covering this show from here on out, so…yeah! (I mean, what else are you going to watch?)
- Oh, the naked guy: So forgettable a gag.