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Last Comic Standing 5, Episode 11: Owing the World another Apologyby Dale Sherman -- 08/23/2007
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Too bad I can’t say the same about LCS this week. We are now down to the five finalists and they are to compete against each other in four-minute routines. Only one will be leaving after the voting is done, which makes me wonder why they even bothered with challenges and earlier head-to-heads. If the procedure is to slowly reduce the number to drag out the number of episodes for the season – which I don’t believe is really necessarily, but no doubt the producers are contracted to give NBC X-number of episodes – then why not have all ten compete with one or two leaving each week? That would have been a better and fairer challenge for the ten than just hoping you’ll win over the models from Deal or No Deal or pleasing the yahoos at the medieval-themed Denny’s.
But that’s all in hindsight. We’re stuck with these five comics as our finalists. Since I know some of these haven’t made much of an impression on viewers, here are the names again of the finalists:
The show begins with Bill bringing them all out on stage at the Wilshire Theatre so they can then leave and Bill can explain the rules. It is here that Bill mentions how viewers in the U.K., Australia and Canada will be watching and voting for their favorites. That’s right, NBC and the producers of LCS have spanned the globe and made television deals so that people in other countries can vote… for one of five North Americans. I bet that’s probably going over well in the U.K. and Australia (although it may help boost Canadian Gerry Dee’s numbers thanks on national pride; because we know just how devious Canadians are, after all). At this rate, however, we might as well have let North Korea and Brazil vote as well.
After Bill does a bit about Bill Clinton; which runs dangerously close to an old bit by Chris Rock but thankfully dodges that to head in a different direction; Bill introduces Lavell Crawford. In a pre-set interview, Lavell says, “It is MY time!” Evidently he meant nap-time as he comes out for his set and seems to be in dreamland while he drones through his material. In fact, I would hazard a guess that he was reading cuecards, as he just stares out into the camera-lens for nearly two-thirds of his act. I realize that he is big and probably can’t move around a lot, but he was like a statue for most of his time on stage. After talking about his earlier job at Happy Burger and “Slavery and Jose,” he finally breaks away from the monotony while discussing a job as a crossing-guard. It’s funny, but too late in the set to really have an impact and Lavell leaves the stage having been a big disappointment this week.
Jon Reep is introduced with a bunch of clips from earlier sets that appear to be edited as “The Worst of Jon Reep.” It was like the editors had read my earlier comments on gags Reep did that I didn’t like and bunched them all together in one unhappy place. Ironically, Reep starts off with an amusing little stunt to pull on people talking in public on their cellphones. He finishes up by hitting on standard “good time” material about beer, which is perhaps not earth-shattering in its hilarity, but at least pleasantly amusing. Having him mouth along with Bill as Bill reads the cuecards telling viewers where to call to vote for him helps as well. So far, Lavell is falling behind after just one other comic, thanks to a good set by Jon Reep. And remember – I’m saying that about a comic that I came into after his try-out performance not liking, so that’s just shows how much of a turnaround I’ve had on the guy after tonight’s performance.
Ralph Harris is shown doing his grandfather act that helped push him through the semi-finals. He thanks the crowd as he begins his set, which is about an aunt with flabby arms and a rather long bit about a drunk uncle. It is character-driven material, which is what Ralph does best and, while the drunk uncle bit perhaps dragged near the end, showed Ralph in good form. Of the five, Ralph certainly seems to have the best abilities to move on as an actor in a comedy series than some of the other finalists.
Amy Schumer comes out next to ramble on about a lot of things without ever getting near a joke. As if humor is like poison-ivy for her – something to sidestep as you move along. Instead, she would name a topic and get some mild recognition laughs from the audience (“Ha, ha, yes, Queens. Oh, yeah, tans. Mmm-hmm, guys with no money, OH!”) and then name another topic, as if she could coast on setups by letting the audience provide their own funny resolutions. In actuality, she was just boring. In five season of LCS I have always tried to find something worthwhile about each comic, but I’ve finally been defeated in that endeavor – Amy just flat-out blows. What a waste of a slot for a real comic on the program and a waste of a chance to see a funny women comic at that. Instead we got Amy.
Finally, Gerry Dee wraps up the show by first talking about getting decaf for a customer and then wedding gifts. The waiter bit seemed a bit confused at times, but the wedding gifts material worked well and was evenly paced. I can now see for sure that Gerry’s wobbling back and forth and his slightly drunken nature on-stage is just his persona (and/or, as my wife suggested, a way for him to pace his material out the way he thinks works best). While I’ve never had much to say about Gerry earlier in the season, I have to say that he came off the best of the five tonight.
So, how would I rank them? From top to bottom:
We’ll see who goes next week when we knock ‘em down to four, while two special guests will make appearances on the show. Until then, remember to keep a little Klaus in your hearts!
Dale Sherman, a regular RNO contributor, is a writer of six music-related books that are available in bookstores and through Amazon.com. Dale also writes the weekly television recaps for WWE’s developmental promotion, Ohio Valley Wrestling, at their official website. For something more offbeat, you can also check out some of his writing at his new home site. Email Dale at email@example.com
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