Last Comic Standing: Tempe
The bad news tonight was that none of the comedians had the 80's comic uniform on: jeans, skinny-tie, and sports coat with the sleeves rolled up. I would have liked to see that.
The good news? Well, tonight's episode was actually kind of enjoyable...
Before we get to the nitty-gritty this week, I'd like to address a few issues people have had with my reviews:
1) Jay is a bitter comic who is jealous of the comics on Last Comic Standing. Yes, I am bitter, but it has less to do with my current career situation than it does that Kristy Thompson never wanted to go out with me in high school. My problems with the show are not related to the comics (I'm friends with many of them and am rooting for them) or my own absence from it (I never tried out for it so I don't know if they rejected me or not). I get angry each week because I feel that, at least in the early rounds, the show does not do a very credible job of presenting stand-up comedy to the audience.
That being said, I realize how annoying it might be for people to have to hear a professional constantly throwing his hands up during a show and screaming "that's not how it would happen!" I imagine it would be nearly impossible to watch House with a doctor or a porno with a pizza delivery guy. So, I'm going to try to do less complaining about how chopped up and ridiculous the early rounds are.
(I do feel a bit better that I'm not alone in my feelings about the show -- Patton Oswalt has a very funny and reasoned justification for why he hates the show in this week's AV Club interview.)
2) Your not reviewing the comedy of the comics feels like a cop-out. Yeah, yeah, I know. My bosses here at TV Squad have mentioned the same thing to me. As I've said before, I don't want to turn this into a weekly "That wasn't funny" column because having been a professional stand-up for nearly five years, I simply can't stand when someone makes a pronouncement of WHAT IS FUNNY as if they were watching God when you told the joke and He wasn't laughing.
I realize, though, that as we move into the latter rounds, I'm going to have to be more forthcoming in my opinions. I'm a little nervous about it (comedy gods and karma and all), but maybe it'll be healthy for me. After all, my relationship with my wife improved when I started communicating openly with her instead of saying everything was fine and then setting fire to our wedding pictures.
3) These reviews are too long. I'm sorry! It's not my fault! They gave me a forum to write whatever I want! Then they didn't edit me! I'm a ego-centric narcissist with good typing skills! I'm not made of stone!
But seriously, at least when it comes to comedy, I usually have a lot to say. I'm sure that if I had a little more time I could edit my bloated paragraphs into witty bon mots, but ever since I broke up with my old girlfriend Evie Garland, I've been hard-pressed to be able to stop time.
I am accepting applications to be my intern, however. If you like hard work, being yelled at, no money, and scalding hot coffee being thrown on you in response to a negative comment I received on my Clay Aiken post, shoot me an email and join the team!
Now, on to the review:
I really liked the fact that we got some breathing room this week. Spending an entire hour on one audition round rather than the previous habit of cramming two in per hour really opened up the show to allow for what it should be built on: stand-up comedy. We got to see more of the comic's sets and that's a good thing.
It also seemed like they cut back on the two most annoying aspects of the show: "bad comedy montages" and the judge's confessionals. So far as the former is concerned, I've already mentioned that a lot of them are suspiciously edited (taking one bad moment out of an otherwise good set) and are, I feel, out of place and disingenuous for a show where most of the comics that are moved through to the semi-final rounds are pre-screened anyway. As for the latter -- I just think the judges don't have any say in who gets moved forward, no real personality (it really says something when not a single one of them has the charisma of Randy Jackson, let alone Simon Cowell), and almost nothing constructive or interesting to say. You would have thought that three comics that made it deep into the show and are (at least in the case of Alonzo and Kathleen) funny and respected comedians would have at least one or two pithy put-downs. Alas, no.
I was a big fan of four comics tonight:
John Caparulo. He got the audience award and deserved it. I thought he did "blue collar comedy" the right way -- with knowing irony.
Dave Landau. He was very funny despite the fact that his shirt was so blue that my TV almost exploded trying to render the color properly. I was very disappointed he didn't make it into the next round. He had political jokes, but they weren't left-pandering (how do you get an applause break in a hip New York club? "Bush is stupid!' Yay!) I hope he gets something out of his four network minutes.
Greg Warren. I get the feeling that there will be two camps on the "No Neck Nick" routine. People are either going to hate it because it's repetitive and weird or absolutely love it because, well, it's repetitive and weird. I fall firmly into the latter camp. I'm a sucker for anyone who deviates from the standard stand-up script and I get the feeling that Greg Warren is going to be that guy. I'm anxious to see if the rest of his material is as different and funny as the stuff we saw tonight.
Chuck Roy. Anybody that can work an Alabama reference into his routine is okay in my book.
A couple of other notes before we get out of here:
-- Ant told Ryan Hamilton that Ryan was "the strangest-looking person that he has ever seen." A mean and slightly hacky comic would probably say that upon hearing this statement one can only conclude that Ant doesn't own a mirror. Since I am neither mean nor hacky, I won't be saying that.
-- Why do reality shows spend so much time previewing what we're about to see next? I mean, they filmed something like seven thousand hours of tape... howsabout letting us see a little more of what you actually filmed instead of constantly previewing what we'll see after the break or what's coming up next week?
Things were especially bad tonight. The last fifteen minutes had about two minutes of actual content in them. Joe DeVito's joke about "enjoying the little things, like the moment right between the first kiss and the pepper spray" was brilliant and very funny, but did we need to see it twice in the previews for next week? I'm sure I'm not alone when I say, please, LCS producers, you have tons of stand-up recorded and all the appropriate releases signed by the comics: SHOW US THE STANDUP! Even if they ran the full five minute set of the audience winner in the last segment, I think that would have worked as a better inducement to watch next week's episode than the heavily edited preview.
-- Is there any more superfluous job than the host of Last Comic Standing? Bill Bellamy couldn't be any more mailing this in than if he just filmed his intros and outros on his webcam. Do you think Down Town Julie Brown is screaming at her agent right now that she's just as qualified as Bill is to be hosting the show (in that she's a washed up former MTV personality and can speak English, which are, apparently, the only two requirements for the job)?
-- Did NBC really interrupt last week's show to give us fireworks? Is there anyone out there that is watching fireworks on TV? And if you are... why? Are the people that watch fireworks on TV the same ones that dive out of the way when they see a film of a train coming at them? Do they "ooh" and "ahh" at the fireworks at home the same why they do at the live shows? Are the suicide rates for people who watch fireworks on TV higher than the nation's average? Dammit, I need to know! This is the most intriguing question of the entire summer so far as I'm concerned.
-- I think we need an official moratorium on comics opening their show with, "I know what you're thinking, I look like <insert outlandish juxtaposition of two celebrities here>." It just reeks of something that you write after attending a comedy workshop. I found it interesting tonight that the producers chose to show us one comic stopped and sent home for doing a "I know what you're thinking" joke, then showed us Ryan Hamilton opening with almost the same joke to start his semi-final worthy set. Did anyone else catch that?
-- This is just a personal pet peeve... could women comics please stop talking about how much they hate skinny women? I realize that if you're a slightly overweight female comedian this might be a particularly rich vein of humor to mine, but really, seriously, please, it's enough now. We get it. Skinny women are vapid and concerned only with their looks and how those looks are perceived by men and when slightly overweight female comedians initiate conversation with them, they often have to set them straight with some slightly bitter, but ultimately dead-on bit of folksy wisdom (often ending in some sort of diminishing nickname like "honey" or "darling"). It's hilarious! But surely there are other things to talk about. Surely!
-- As always, for a different point of view, be sure to check out Shecky Magazine's coverage of tonight's episode here.
Okay gang, that's about enough for this week. I fully expect to upgrade this show from "difficult to watch" to "slightly less difficult to watch" next week when we get good comics performing longer sets. I'm actually looking forward to it and that's a good sign! As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments.
|Evening at the Improv||18 (39.1%)|
|Caroline's Comedy Hour||2 (4.3%)|
|MTV's Half Hour Comedy Hour||4 (8.7%)|
|HBO's One Night Stand||19 (41.3%)|
|Other (List in the comments)||3 (6.5%)|