Okay, I realize the fourth season of Last Comic Standing actually started last week, but I missed it because I was on vacation and our cruise ship didn’t get NBC. And while NBC was kind enough to do a one-hour recap of last week’s two-hour extravaganza, recapping a recap is too meta even for me. Besides, trying to do a funny recap of a show that’s actually supposed to be funny in the first place is harder than you’d think; fortunately, a lot of tonight’s comedians just weren’t that funny. Speaking of which, it’s time to meet this season’s host…
Anthony Clark (of Yes, Dear fame), welcomes us to the historic Alex Theatre in Los Angeles. Yes, the Anthony Clark. Evidently, Jim Belushi was too busy. He promises us tonight’s show is going to be “a lot of laughs”, but judging by the look on his face, it looks more like he’s promising us a lot of the Cherry Pepto dance. Still, even that would be funnier than an episode of Yes, Dear, so count me in. During the opening credits, I noticed that the show’s original host, Jay Mohr — despite not being involved in this season — still managed to get a Consultant credit. Funny thing about Jay Mohr: I liked him better when he was Denis Leary.
Hey, did I mention that tonight’s competition is in the historic Alex Theatre in Los Angeles? Just once? Then I’m still one behind AC, who’s already mentioned it three times in the first 90 seconds of the show. I guess that’s to be expected, as we all know mentioning the historic Alex Theatre in Los Angeles is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
A quick explanation of how the show works: Tonight 20 performers will battle it out for the first five spots in the LCS house. Next week, another five contestants will be selected. The ten lucky comedians will then live together and have a weekly joke-off to see whose comedic kung-fu is the strongest. That person will win an exclusive NBC talent contract, a standup special on the BRAVO network, and, most importantly, the title of Last Comic Standing. And we’ve all seen how well that’s working out for Dat Phan.
Judging tonight’s show are the hiLARious trinity of Garry Marshall, Kathy Griffin (yay!) and Tim Meadows. No, seriously. Tim Meadows. Each comic gets three minutes to perform. Once the three minutes are up, the mic is turned off, whether they’re in the middle of a joke or not. Further proof that Anthony Clark ain’t nuttin’ to fuck wit.
Our first comic is Vargus Mason. His set is a bit schizophrenic: it starts out talking about how hard it is to be a “sensitive brother” before segueing into a series of strange faces and voices. He wonders why people listen to the crazy voices in their heads and not the normal, sane ones. I wonder why he didn’t listen to the voices telling him to write better material.
Next is Kira Soltanovich. She seems a bit manic, and points out the “Hebrew situation” going on with her face. Hebrew situation? Oh I get it, Jews have big noses. Next, she talks about moving in with her boyfriend. He’s Irish-Catholic, so she’s worried that if they get married, she’ll have to convert to alcoholism. Wow, two jokes in and two ethnic stereotypes. Will she hit the racial hat trick? Nope, she ends safe with a bit about dolphin sex. I didn’t even realize dolphins had nipples. Yawn.
The nose knows.
Theo Von is up next. Or, as he was known on MTV’s Road Rules, Theodor Capitani Vonkurnatowski. Poor Theo. If only he hadn’t been booked on every season of Road Rules he might have had the opportunity to learn the first rule of comedy: be funny.
Jackie Kashian’s father is a traveling salesman, and that’s where she gets all of her material. Some of it’s actually pretty good, but Tim Meadows really seems to like her, so she has as much chance of winning this as a CTU hard perimeter has of stopping its intended target. Smell ya later Jackie!
The next comedian, Chris Porter, looks like a hairier version of my friend Exner from back home. And just like Exner, he hates French people, which makes him doubleplusgood. Unfortunately, just as he’s building to his big payoff, his three minutes run out and they cut his mic. Talk about jokus interruptus. I hope that doesn’t hurt his chances, as he’s been the funniest so far.
Meet Roz, our first one-named comedian of the night. Roz appears to suffer from the same voice modulation problem as Will Ferrell’s Weekend Update character. Her set revolves around her day-job helping prostitutes work on their resumes. Parts of it are a tad predictable, but still funny. I bet she goes on, as she has great hair.
Next onstage is David Huntsberger. His act is all about the Pope. Next…
Saleem is a black man married to a white woman. Oh boy, I hope he riffs on the differences between black and white people. That stuff never gets old. Actually, he talks about trying to find ways to bring up the fact that he has a white wife into conversation. It’s pretty funny stuff, but I’d like to see if he has any other material.
Doug Mellard is another short white guy in the David Huntsberger mode, with one major difference: he’s funny. His timing and delivery reminds me a lot of David Spade, but I won’t hold that against him. Primarily because he doesn’t have Spade’s hair. I hope he makes it through.
Lord of the Dance.
Josh Blue has cerebral palsy. This is great, because I’ve been jonesing for some good CP humor ever since Geri left The Facts of Life. What do you bet he wins the “Capital One Studio Audience
Sympathy Vote Favorite” prize?
Matt Fulchiron has the laid-back delivery and fucked-up nose of a Wilson brother. He’s not bad, but I don’t think he has the stage presence to get to the next round.
Josh Wolf has three kids! And kids are expensive! And that’s why he needs to win! I hate this guy already. He ends with a bit about an uncircumcised penis, but having never seen one myself, I don’t know how funny it is. EdHill?
Nikki Glaser is 21 and goes to school in Kansas. She looks like a female Ann Coulter. But unlike Ann, she’s funny on purpose. And despite her resemblance to America’s favorite conservative trannie, I like her. Anyone who starts off with a date-rape joke is alright by me.
April Macie, a hot, cynical and bitter redhead is next. I honestly don’t care if she’s funny or not; she already has my vote. Which is a good thing for her, because it turns out she’s not that funny.
Despite all his rage, our next comedian is still just a rat in a cage. Yes, it’s John Roy, tonight’s winner in the Billy Corrigan look-alike contest. He’s funnier than a Smashing Pumpkin lyric, but that’s a pretty low bar.
Wild Willy Parsons looks like a biker and spent nine years in jail. He has two kids and he wants a house, only he hasn’t figured out how to steal one of those yet. Two words, Willy: Ken Lay. He also earns bonus points for sporting a Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush t-shirt. I hope he makes the cut, just for the intimidation factor alone. Can you imagine how much more fun Season One would’ve been had Wild Willy shared a room with Dat Phan?
Tig Notaro, who reminds me of a cooterized Steven Wright, is up next. She delivers a good set, but she really shouldn’t be allowed in this competition since she’s already has her own special on Comedy Central. There are other comedians who need this more than she does. Take Modi Rosenfeld, our next comic, for example. He tells us he really needs the break that winning would give him. Turns out what Modi really needs is material. Although I do wonder how he knows what compressed sand from a camel’s ass tastes like.
Joey Gay is tonight’s last contestant. He lives over a funeral home in Brooklyn. “Can you get any hungrier than that?” he asks. Great, zombie humor! I already love this guy. He’s a weird amalgamation of Howie Mandel, Adam Sandler and Gilbert Gottfried, which is actually a lot funnier than it sounds. I think he’ll make it to the next round as well.
After the break, AC introduces this week’s winners: Chris Porter. April Macie. Joey Gay. Roz. And Josh Blue. And just as I predicted, Josh also wins the “Capital One Studio Audience
Sympathy Vote Favorite” prize. You just know he’s going to blow the $1000 on midget porn. I would.
So what do you think? Are the first five the right five? If not, who should be there instead?