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Published on June 7th, 2010 | by Sharilyn Johnson

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Last Comic Standing: Engage Foolish Optimism

To this day, somewhere in my parents’ garage in Winnipeg, sits a box full of VHS tapes containing the entire first season of Last Comic Standing. I maintain that season 1 was fantastic. C’mon: Rich Vos and Dave Mordal in the bathtub? The Dat Phan hide-and-go-seek debacle? Dat’s laugh charts? All classic. And while the audition rounds weren’t without their imperfections (how could they not pass Eddie Pepitone to Vegas?!), naysayers would eat their words once we entered the Buck Star era.

The show devolved, and has now presumably evolved back into something better than ever. Hell, if Andy Kindler – who did a solid 20-minute chunk of anti-LCS material the first time I saw his State of the Industry Address – can be on board as a judge this year, then I can certainly be on board as a viewer.

I say all this a full hour before the premiere, which I shall liveblog below. Yes, taking advantage of modern internet trends. In another 5 years it’ll dawn on me to use Twitter for this purpose (speaking of which, DOES anyone know which is the show’s official account? @Lastcomic7 or @nbclastcomic?).

Be back here at 8pm eastern for the viewing party. BYO refresh button.

Ready? Let’s go…

Yes Craig, I think we WERE wondering how it happened. Points for self-awareness, LCS.

Lunatics in line are still part of the festivities, hopefully the white fuzzy coat is the worst of it.

I’ve said it before: Kindler has the BEST laugh in the business. Love it.

Parade of judges past the lineup HAD to have been awkward. For the judges.

Ah, judge bios! Something that didn’t have quite the entertainment value in season one. (“These guys book Leno.”)

Hate the guy in the bear suit already.

First guy is good, seems nervous. Gas joke could’ve been tighter for audition purposes, but the improv with Andy is going nicely. (New material tonight? Ha.)

I like that we can hear the crew laughing. Intentional? Probably. But I like to imagine it isn’t.

Three auditioners in and we already have a freak. I guess some things HAVEN’T changed.

Ah Laurie Kilmartin! Someone I recognize, finally. I’m not LA-savvy.

I love how obvious it is that they all know her.

(first commercial break: Rogaine, Old Navy… seen this all before! Very hacky.)

Bear suit guy again?

Hmm, Fortune from Belmont… might love her, might hate her. Passed her, but I think she’ll need more polish.

Marc Ryan’s kinda cute, too bad he doesn’t have material?

“Some of the people who come in are just crazy people.” – Giraldo. Gee really? Cue the montage.

Ah, the half-this half-that montage. This is more of a public service announcement more than anything else.

Kevin Small, with a bait and switch that almost worked. Oh, and he has a hook! Watch out!

Cathy Ladman! Holy shit. Haven’t seen her in ages and she looks AWESOME.

David Feldman: a name I know, whose stuff I haven’t seen. Hope this will be educational.

Craig Robinson audition bit, so great!

(commercial break 2: time to pimp this shit on Twitter.)

And there’s the white fuzzy coat for a THIRD time. Where’s bear suit guy? I miss him.

Guy Torry, another “name” name. Congratulating the judges on their new job is now my favourite moment thusfar. Was the close call warranted?

I always love meta shit, but I think the rules stipulate no dogs allowed.

Taylor Williamson has almost a Fatel air about him. Innocent-but-pervy thing happening there.

Commercial break philosophizing: is NBC going to stick any of the full-length auditions on their website? Since things are presumably “different” now, can we trust that things haven’t been manipulated as much as past years?

We’re back! Time for the L.A. semifinals, or whatever they’re called.

Fortune’s “Precious” reference is pretty good. Enjoying this set more than her initial audition.

Rob Delaney – am i allowed to point out he’s cute? Fuck it, only so many of us bloggers are chicks, it should be allowed.

Lil Rel is back, still head to toe greyscale. Can’t say he’s the strongest so far, but may be castable?
Kevin Small is dying, like we didn’t predict that. Says he’s only been doing standup since November (I think)? Goodness.

Laurie Kilmartin, aka Miss Shoe-In! Mommy material with an edge? I didn’t know this was possible — more, please.

Jacob Sirof scores decently with religious material. Risky move for the occasion.

This is it! It all comes down to this! This is why they all got into comedy: so they can be on a reality show!

They’re all doing pretty decent. Purposely edited to seem that way anyhow. We’ve seen that trick in past seasons.
Feldman with a Palin joke that doesn’t seem overdone. I dig it.

Amy Claire is funny, and I think SUPER-castable. I predict we’ll see more of her.

Race jokes, Hitler jokes… I’m liking the lack of self-censorship.

Guy Torry didn’t win the crowd over as heartily as the judges predicted. Again, that’s according to the edits.
Shane Mauss with a Seinfeldian lilt off the top, but doin’ very well.

In past seasons, this is where the judges would go backstage to be told by the producers who they’re moving forward.

Hour #2, beer #2, coat of nailpolish #2. Exciting night for me.

Included in the group moving on: David Feldman, Shane Mauss, Guy Torry, Taylor Williamson, Fortune, Laurie Kilmartin (duh!)…. Lots of people standing on the stage who we never heard a peep from all show. Token adorable old lady?!

Day 2 of Los Angeles. These guys have to stand in the pouring rain all day, and they don’t even get to see LaBamba in a Popemobile for their troubles.
Rachel Feinstein, yay! Lovin’ her.

Mike Herbert – Giraldo layin’ down law #1: acknowledge your freakish appearance off the top. Could be the funniest guy in the world, but if he doesn’t know THAT, ya can’t even consider passing him.

Another parade of freaks. I guess it must be done. OH, and bear suit guy is back. Thank god. I was worried.

Paula Bel, representin’ the childfree movement. Great persona.

Super impressed with the volume of kick-ass females on the show tonight.

Chip Pope, setting up a fun B-52s parody. (Is there any other kind of B-52s parody?)

Christela Alonzo, “want to die” right up there with the best lines of the night.
Chris Fairbanks with the save on the flub! Suddenly I’m craving soup.

Skippy Greene. I don’t think I can even comment on this. Giraldo presumably appreciates it for the meta factor, but these hastily thrown-together novelty acts never work.

Second showcase time! Chip Pope starting things off with a Target joke possibly inspired by Improv Everywhere.

Paula Bel, grabbing hold of the crowd like the judges predicted she would.

Jimmy Dore. He’s this hour’s Laurie Kilmartin.

Christina Pazsitsky doing well – I’m on the fence with my prediction on her.
Tiffany Haddish HAS to go through. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone exactly like her, which i can’t say very often.

Rachael Feinstein kickin’ off the evening semis. Mom material going over slightly better than the sex talk.

Jonathan Thymius takes Kindler’s earlier wardrobe note, and arrives in a sparkly smoking jacket. Killing with the understated delivery. I might just love this guy.

Enjoying Christela Alonzo’s resume-lying premise. Lovely writing job.

Judge deliberation already? These 2 hours have flown by. (Ok not so much, but still amazingly watchable.)

Among the day 2 winnahs: Rachael Feinstein (that was a gimme!), Chip Pope, Paula Bel, Christela Alonzo, Jonathan Thymius. Wow, Tiffany Haddish and Jimmy Dore left behind?! Go figure.

Fin.

Alright, folks, that’s it for the liveblog. Hope you all found it as tedious as I did! I think I’ve earned beer #3.

In summary, though, a vast improvement over past seasons of LCS. I may be biased due to my opinion that Kindler makes ANYTHING better, but I honestly didn’t find any part of the 2 hours unwatchable. That’s a vast improvement. See, if we just waited long enough, NBC was BOUND to do something right. Goodnight, everyone! Enjoy the rest of the series.


About the Author

is the author of the book Bears & Balls: The Colbert Report A-Z. Called "one of the city’s most discriminating comedy critics” by NOW Magazine, Sharilyn has been covering comedy for longer than she cares to admit. She served as the comedy reporter for Winnipeg's Uptown Magazine for five years, and was the host of the radio show Laugh Tracks for three seasons. Her work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press, The Apiary, and on CBC Radio's national comedy programs LOL and Definitely Not the Opera.



2 Responses to Last Comic Standing: Engage Foolish Optimism

  1. Joe says:

    Marc Ryan is currently filming another television show that starts airing in September – he couldn’t actually do Last Comic, so he just went up for fun. Can’t wait to see the new show!

  2. Sharilyn says:

    Ah, good to know! Congrats to him.

    I think “for the experience” is the best reason anyone can have for doing the LCS auditions, no matter what the situation.

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