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Last Comic Standing 5, Episode 6: Purgatory, aka The Semi-Finals Part Oneby Dale Sherman -- 07/19/2007
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About two weeks ago I was told by my dentist that I needed to have a wisdom tooth extracted and an appointment was set for me for July 11. The problem, of course, was the fifth episode of Last Comic Standing aired the night of the planned extraction and I knew that I would be in no mood to review the episode. Of course, I could have moved the appointment and delayed the extractions if I wanted to review the show. Thus, I had to make a decision: I could either watch ANT once again or have a tooth extracted.
So I want to thank Wesley Rice for taking over last week while I was recovering from the extraction. I finally watched the episode last night and it looked like a pretty good group of comics there. I’m not sure why Tempe got nearly a full hour while exciting locales like London and Sydney only got a half-episode each, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
This week starts the semi-finals with half of the thirty-two comics that made it past the showcases around the world vying for one of five finalist spots. To be honest, after dragging the show out for five episodes already, and with episodes six and seven being devoted to the semi-finals, they could even wrap things up right here. Of course, instead, we’ll then have the finalists battle it out for home-viewers to vote on in the remaining two or three weeks of the show. Interesting change in the format, as it does give the show a bit more of a flow, albeit losing all the appeal of having the comics in a house – which was the original focus of the program when Jay Mohr first presented it to the network. Then again, after seeing how lousy the house was in Season Two and Four, perhaps this is all for the best.
Bill Bellamy comes out to a standing ovation at the Alex Theatre to start off the show by announcing the setup for the sixteen comics that would be appearing that night (although no mention of getting a microphone cut off as per a favorite part of Jay Mohr’s usual speech for the semi-finals). He then introduces the talents scouts who would be judging that night, the usual three of Alonzo Bodden, Kathleen Madigan, and ANT. ANT interrupts Bellamy’s intro by proclaiming himself sexy, which made me wonder if maybe I had another tooth that could be extracted. ANT’s proclamation is followed by Bellamy introducing the final – and guest – talent scout for the judging, Tom Arnold. I’ll go out on a limb and say that I actually like Tom Arnold, so I had no problem with him being there. I was surprised that they didn’t even give him a chance to speak before jumping into the competition. Tom looked a little ill or ill at ease there, however, but that could have been having to sit next to ANT.
But I kid.
Bill starts off with a funny bit about the difference between childproofing today and in the past before introducing the comics. Each comic during the show does a little interview segment before going on, but let’s face it – they all pretty much said what any of us would have said in the same situation, i.e. “It’s great to be here… I hope I do well… this could lead to bigger things… etc.” While that is all nice to hear, I’m going to avoid going into details about the interviews because it really didn’t make much of a difference as to how the comics performed in front of the audience. Well, with maybe one exception, as we’ll see.
Instead, let’s just jump right into how the comics did:
JOHN CAPARULO – had made it in Tempe with a comedic persona as a dumb guy. He does a bit about liking butter and how fast food used to be fun to eat. He’s only meager in the semi-finals and doesn’t really jump-start the show.
DEBRA DIGIOVANNI – won out of the (I’m a Dreamer) Montreal competition with a ditzy, crazy and hyper act that she continues on the show tonight. She starts with how she hates skinny women and I have to admit that I vegged out as it is such a tired premise. She moves on to talk about her crazy ex-friend, but I just lost complete sight of her act and it was over before I could really concentrate on her rambling again. I’ll admit defeat in catching on to what she was talking about, so I may have missed something that really gave her a wow set there.
TOMMY JONAGEN – had won the Capital One Audience award in Tempe. He repeats some material from the earlier show about not liking to fight and then builds on it with how he ended up third in a fight with a guy. He’s okay and definitely a sign of things starting to get a little better.
DANTE – won the Capital One Audience award in L.A. and hammered us over the head about “needing” to win for his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. He does the same here in his interview before his appearance and then DOES IT AGAIN when starting off his routine. It all leads into doing horrible impressions of the most over-used actor-impressions-ever for a bit about The Wizard of Oz. There’s no other way to say it, if this had been Season One, Two, or Four, Bob and Ross would have been talking over a clip of Dante in a “terrible impression” montage and never seen again. Just scratch-your-eyes-out bad.
But he has a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. He gets a standing ovation. He’s impressed by this. Anyone that has followed the show knows, however, that the audience is instructed to give every comic a standing ovation once they finish. Hey, not dissing the guy, but that is how the show works and it’s not something special.
JOE DEVITO – was one of the better comics in the New York competition. He talks about looking like the Verizon Guy and sex. He’s okay, although not as good as in the New York showcase we saw in an earlier episode.1 2 Next-->
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