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Last Comic Standing 5, Episode 13: One of These Things Is Not Like the Others…by Dale Sherman -- 09/06/2007
One of these finalists just really stinks.
Can you guess which one is a loser?
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Just a mention that Jay Mohr not only has another article up on the Fox Sports website, but you can also see an eight-minute-plus video of Jay doing his report here!
We’re back with what can now be officially termed as the Bataan Death March of Comedy, with the four remaining finalists – Gerry Dee, Jon Reep, Lavell Crawford and Amy Schumer – already on-stage as Bill introduces the show. In the audience are fans with very suspicious-looking signs. Y’know, it was cute the first couple of seasons when the signs showed up in the audience, because it looked like the audience members were bringing homemade signs into the theater. Now they’re starting to look a little too professional and it has nowhere near the sense of fun it once did.
Besides, it’s not wrestling; it’s a comedy show. If people like your act, you want them to laugh and applaud, not passed-out from breathing in marker and paint fumes from their signs all day.
“Man, I killed tonight! Sure, no one laughed, but did you see the signs for me? Some even had glitter!”
As with last week, Bill marches the four offstage so he can do a quick bit about the cheapest and best paternity test ever made and then bring out Harland Williams for a quick set. Or, as the closed-captioning would have it, “Pauley Williams.” Harland isn’t a contestant, but is there to add in some stand-up because evidently there isn’t enough to spread around with only four contestants left. He begins with a bit about talking in his sleep, and moves on to sex, airport security, and getting pulled over by the cops. He is funnier than any of the finalists, but he holds up at one spot like a comic who has a twenty-minute spot would do instead of one that only has 3-5 minutes. This creates an odd dip in the momentum of his set that he never quite gets beyond. Just goes to show why comics who have worked longer gigs are not necessarily the best comics for short three-minute sets.
Bill, sitting in the audience, stands up after Harland is done and five random audience members stand up with him in confusion; sitting down red-faced when they realize that they were not supposed to be giving the standardize standing-ovation that NBC wants the audience to do for everyone. One of the funnier moments in the show, actually.
An interview with LCS4 winner, Josh Blue, is next and he talks about doing five shows a week now and having a much larger fan-base. Josh comes out and pretty much destroys the place with a fine set that starts off with him thanking the producers for having him back to “defend my title.” He goes on to talk about how his right hand does things that he doesn’t know about, feeling obligated to use handicapped items at restaurants and stores, and how his handicap screwed up the last election. After he is done, Bill asks him a few questions, but Josh runs off by saying that he wants to stop talking as, “I’ve already won again.” Truer words were never said. Ironically and unfortunately, thanks to having Harland and Josh eat up some time on the show, they also proved what a rather lackluster group of four we have left on the program this year.
With the two special guests done for the night, Bill brings out the four finalists to announce that the first comic to move on to the final three next week and to perform first on the program is Gerry Dee. He won first last week as well, for those counting. To do something different, a video is shown of Gerry being sent back to his old job as a waiter to see how he does. He’s shown playing off of his coffee-pot joke from a couple of weeks ago (putting regular caffeinated coffee into the decaf coffee-pot) and getting stiffed on a tip after fumbling around while trying to get his orders out.
Gerry follows up the video with his set for the week. He covers the differences between men and women when they drink and drive and finishes up with the very set that he did for the women in the “speed-laughter” challenge. At the time of the challenge, he stated that it was a set he knew was one of his best, so it is understandable he would fall back on it here. Problem is that he seemed to run out of time and ended up having to cut himself short before what I believe would have been his planned “wow” finish. So, he did fine, but it appeared he choked a bit near the end as well. That could hurt him.
The second comic picked to return next week is Lavell Crawford. He was also the second comic picked the previous week. If the voting is going to fall into those lines, then it appears that the final two will be Lavell versus Gerry. Just saying. Lavell is shown at his old job of being a crossing guard and it’s a cute little skit. His set is about going to the doctor, diabetes, and dieting. He repeats a joke about diabetes and his mother from early on in the season and fumbles a bit after laughing at his own joke near the end of his set. He also curses a few times along the way. While I enjoyed him more than Gerry this week, I believe that the repeating, the cursing, and the fumbling can all work against him when the votes come in this time around.
Finally, the third comic to move on is Jon Reep. Amy Schumer got the least votes this time around and will have to leave the show. They keep her on-stage for a look-back at her time on the show, which helpfully reminded me I needed to take out some trash. So everyone gets something out of that.
I would hope that this finally drive a nail into the coffin of NBC and the producers picking comics for the show that are never going to win just on the basis of “a type” instead of whether they are funny or not. Amy does have some potential, but that can only grow through hard work over time. Amy was nowhere near ready to appear on a program that ate up her ten minutes of mildly decent material and left her scrambling for crumbs in her outings on-stage. Oh, she may have reworked some cute old gags in her challenges, but when given the chance to prove her stuff in the past two weeks of sets lasting just a few minutes, she showed an international audience a comic who appeared to have made it only by sheer luck instead of through any talent. That’s a shame. A shame for her and what it will eventually do to her career, and a shame for the audience as they got stuck with a comic who wasn’t ready while hundreds of others that SHOULD have been there didn’t get a chance. Of course, we’ll probably see the same thing next year as well, but once you’ve pulled the same rabbit out of the hat a few times, the trick gets tired and hopefully NBC will see that they need to move on to other ideas to keep the audience interested.
Jon Reep has a video of himself heading back to his old job at a service station where it is clear he doesn’t really know what he is doing. The guy running the place tells the camera that they all hope he wins, “because we don’t want him back!” Reep talks about the prejudice he faces as a Southerner living in L.A., what makes people “characters,” and his policeman father demonstrating the wrong way to handle a gun. I felt Jon was the best of the three tonight, with at least some mildly fresh material based on his own experiences that seemed much more original than Lavell’s or Gerry’s sets.
Will Jon be able to get everyone in Hickory to vote for him or will the juggernauts known as the voters for Gerry and Lavell knock him out of the running? We’ll find out next week when the final three go at it to become the final two, while Greg Proops (listed in the captioning as “Greg Poops”) and Kathleen Madigan perform. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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