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Last Comic Standing 2 – The Open Calls are Done!by Dale Sherman -- 02/17/2004
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Fans of the Last Comic Standing series are probably all aware of the open calls done in January 2004 for the second season of the program. Details as to the names of the comics who made it to the semi-finals are a bit vague due to constraints by the producers of the show, but we do have some exclusive details to pass on. First, some more details about how the open calls operated.
Los Angeles was the first stop for the open calls on January 13, and it became clear there that the people coming to try out were taking no prisoners in hoping to be one of the 100-200 people that would be seen. Several people arrived at the club in L.A. before dawn, with a much-talked-about five hundred or so people arriving, with only around one hundred getting in before the open call was through. Once this news hit, individuals in other parts of the country knew they had to arrive even earlier, up to the point where people were standing in the freezing rain before midnight at the open call in Boston, and hundreds stood outside the Punch Line in San Francisco the afternoon of the day before the open call there. There were also reports of some comics hoping for better luck outside of the New York/L.A. deluge of comedians by flying to other parts of the country to try out (as was actually suggested in one of our earlier columns in January).
Changes to “standing in line” progressed as the open calls continued through the country, with some attempts at giving people markers so they could leave and come back to the line and not have to suffer through harsh weather. A couple of the locations also allowed for nearly all those that stood in line to be seen by the judges (although many were cut off within seconds of appearing on stage), and while some participants still complained about the tryouts, many seemed satisfied that it allowed the opportunity to network a little with fellow comics and/or management.
As suggested in our earlier column as well, it was confirmed to us that those who passed the open call were judged again at the “free show” done for an audience the night of the open call. This not only gave the judges a chance to see how the comedians performed in front of an audience (instead of just 2 to 3 people in an empty building), but also how they did under pressure – which was considerable as many had awake for a day or so while waiting for the open call.
In all, forty-two comics were picked from around the country for the next phase of the contest. Some of those picked are names that are well known in the stand-up circuit, while others are obviously newcomers. The breakdown of comics per open call was as followed:
Los Angeles (Jan. 13): 14 people
San Francisco (Jan. 17): 3 people.
Texas (Jan. 19): 2 people.
New York (Jan. 22): 16 people.
Boston (Jan. 25): 3 people.
Nashville (Jan. 27) 2 people.
Chicago (Jan. 29): 1 person.
Tampa, FL (Jan. 31): 1 person.
All 42 will now move on to the Hudson Theater in New York on February 20 to try out in front of an audience (much like the first two episodes of LCS 1). Twenty of them will make the cut and go on to the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas the week after that for the semi-finals to dwindle it down to the ten that will be on the program. For those of you who are interested in going to either show, we suggest that you contact the places to see where and when tickets will be available. Those wishing to attend the Paris show may also want to be on the lookout the day before the taping to see about free passes (which was the case last year when free passes to the finale were passed out in the Paris Casino the day before the taping). Keep in mind that this is all informally mentioned and are not set rules to follow in order to get to the shows themselves, as changes may occur at the last minute.
That’s all the news for the moment. We hope to be back in two weeks with more details about how the New York and Las Vegas shows went. Meanwhile, be sure to check out Jay Mohr’s appearances on The West Wing, as well as Dat Phan’s appearance on that NBC program as well. Until next time, as Cub Koda always said, see you at the record bins
You can e-mail Dale about this column or his other projects at email@example.com. You can also click here to buy his book, The Urban Legends of Rock and Roll: You Never Can Tell, or any of his other books. You can e-mail Mike at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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