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Last Comic Standing 4, Episode 3: Knocking Twenty to Five (and Still Twenty to Go)by Dale Sherman -- 06/07/2006
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It’s the second week of the Last Comic Standing 4 and already we have to adjust things as the official NBC schedule notes that the new episode this week is actually Episode 3. So what was that thing some of you probably saw an hour before Episode 3? A condensed version of Episodes 1 & 2 that aired in full one-hour slots last Tuesday and Friday on NBC.
Confused? Not if you’re a previous fan of LCS. NBC did such things during Season 2, where episodes were repeated all over the place and older episodes were condensed into new ones to prolong the season. Don’t be too surprised if you see the same this season, as NBC has to be jumping up and down about the ratings they’re getting for the show. The premiere episode on May 30th came in second during the first hour with a 4.8 and an 8 share. It then improved in the second hour (aka Episode 2) with a 5.9 and a 9 share. It also helped attract a 3.5 for viewers between 18 and 49 – the highest of any network that night – which is actually not unusual for the program based on previous seasons.
Episodes 1 & 2 were repeated on Friday, June 2, giving them second place in its first hour at 3.0 and a 6 share and then in third in the final hour with a bump up in the ratings of 3.1. As discussed last week, being second sounds great when your network is sitting in fourth most of the time. So NBC is no doubt happy to have the show back.
For those of you who did miss last week’s airings of the first two episodes and saw the replay before Episode 3, here’s what you missed: practically nothing. What mostly went away was material of Bob and Ross straining to get through comics during the casting calls, as well as some material by comics who did make the callbacks but did not advance beyond. Also, a lot of Buckstar was eliminated, which probably shaved a good eighty minutes from the running time there. It was odd, however, to see that the L.A. try-outs were left mostly untouched by the editors, while everywhere else was all “choppy-choppy” at the editors’ hands.
Episode 3 picks up with Anthony Clark introducing the show from outside the Alex Theater. After a brief look back at the previous episodes (y’know – for people who didn’t catch them the first three times they aired), the camera then swings inside the theater where Clark reminds viewers about what will be occurring on the program this evening: 40 comics have been chosen for the semi-finals, with judges and the audience picking a total of ten finalists who will then go to the “house” for the duration of the series. Tonight’s program will feature the first 20 comics, from which five comics will be selected for the house. Next week’s episode will showcase the other 20 comics and the other five finalists will be picked from them.
The three celebrity judges are introduced by Clark. They are:
Garry Marshall – Clark manages to leap from 1974 with Marshall’s creation of Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley to 2001 and the movie The Princess Diaries in introducing Marshall. With only ten seconds to spotlight each judge, perhaps that was all he could fit in, but it doesn’t really grasp the work that Marshall has done for American film and television comedy over the years. Perhaps the most important thing I could add that you won’t find on IMDB.com or in most places is a classic sitcom rule Marshall helped create during the years he worked on The Odd Couple: the five-step rule. This rule stated that for every five steps the characters walk in the program, there MUST be a funny line. This was certainly a step away from previous thinking in sitcom writing where comedy played second to dramatizing the plot; i.e., the laughter dies while the plot is set up. Instead, the emphasis is on the humor and making people laugh while telling a story and it really was an advancement in American television humor, thanks to shows like those that Marshall has worked on.
Tim Meadows – A beloved former member of Saturday Night Live (honest, ask people and they will remember him from the show), he had written for the program and has appeared in several moves and television shows since, including Tina Fey’s movie, Mean Girls.
Kathy Griffin – one of the judges on the show.
Moving on …
What? Oh, just kidding. She appeared in Dare to be Truthful and Shakes the Clown and even had a bit part in Pulp Fiction, for gosh sakes, so I can’t say anything bad. Wait. She was on Anna Nicole’s holiday special.
Moving on …
Okay, okay. Griffin is a comedian who has probably become best known for her ribbing of celebrities and herself in her many appearances on talk shows and in her own Bravo series, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. In fact, the first episode of the second season for D-List was to air opposite her appearance on LCS4 tonight. Nice of NBC/Universal (who own Bravo) to work out the schedule like that for her.1 2 3 Next-->
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