Quick Take: Last Comic Standing, Week Three
They had me at Andy Kindler.
Review: Last Comic Standing, Week Three
(S0703) Every season, I vow to never watch Last Comic Standing again. It's a no brainer perfect concept for summer reality fare in theory of course – competition based around standup comedy, funniest dude or dudette wins, done and done. But somewhere, each and every time, something seems to go severely wrong. Atrocious judging decisions, boring comics, boring hosts (remember the deer-in-headlights guy, who was from the sitcom Boston Common, I think?) poor reality TV editing/stunts/shtick, and on and on.
But because I love me some good comedy and a good competition (and… let's face it, there's not a lot of new shows on at the moment) I gave LCS another go round. And I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.
Typically, the early rounds have been tedious at best with flashes of the funny. I like that they've honed things down to a more manageable number of episodes for the early rounds, with auditions focused solely on New York and LA (where all the comedy wannabes head to like Mecca anyway, right?). Also a huge improvement: replacing the early round judges – who worked for The Tonight Show during early seasons – with some truly funny comics who added greatly to the mix in the early going.
Let me stop right here and say that I love Andy Kindler dating back to his appearance on the old Dr. Katz show on Comedy Central so was overjoyed to see him as a judge along with Greg Giraldo and Natasha Leggero. Kindler himself brought the funniest line of the third episode during what should have been a terrible moment, a product placement spot for the new animated feature Despicable Me, starring Steve Carell. A guy dressed in some kind comic/alien outfit stands up on stage in front of the microphone as though to audition by says not a word. The character is dressed in some kind of odd getup and after an awkward pause Kindler deadpans, "Normally I'm not an overalls guy but those gloves really pull it together." I found this amazing so if you're like me, you can congratulate yourself right about now.
Adding Craig Robinson as host also seems to be a good thing in that he doesn't try to do too much (see: Bill Bellamy) and relies mostly on his laid back drawl to add a sly comment in here or there. And his catchphrase to "be about it" has some potential to be catchy, quite frankly.
So, that brings us to the comics themselves in this second edition of the New York auditions. The quality all season has been much much higher than usual so that puts things on a good course, and this episode was no different. The one guy who really stood out to me was Mike Vecchione, who brought a style of intense tough guy with a huge looping quirky twist that was very on point and funny. I hope and pray that his stuff is "accessible" enough to the voting audience but I vote this guy as hilariously funny from the jump. His aside alone about being into fencing outfits as you can disavow yourself from a murder and pretend to be a bee keeper "cross pollinating these bitches" was killer stuff.
I also very much enjoyed Kyle Groom's style and delivery, very polished and very funny (whereas "very polished" can often imply bland but not uncomfortable to watch). His bits about "Kyle" not being a badass name on the streets ("You mean the guy in the glasses?") and about how wearing glasses doesn't necessarily mean you're smart, just that you can't see well, is great stuff.
There's a typical falling off from there but I was genuinely surprised at how many of the comics I had some interest in (Adrienne Iapalucci falls into this category with her strange and compelling deadpan style) and how many of them the judges pick to move on (typically I'm pulling my hair out at the end of the early auditions). I was slightly unhappy that Zed, the "standup from the future," wasn't allowed more time but can understand how the "shtick" factor (Kindler fans will get that one) needs to be kept to a minimum. Jordan Rock, the 19-year old brother of mega comic legend Chris Rock, auditioned and I totally agree with the judges that he has potential but needs more honing before competing on this level.
I think the semi-finals should be very interesting, and after that I'll be very curious to see how the finalists are handled: do they all live in a house, do they have to go through "wacky" competitions to prove their comic mettle, or do they simply go on stage and battle it out?
Video: Last Comic Standing, Week Three
Catch the comic action in full on Hulu, while available:
Recap: Last Comic Standing, Week Three
The judges hold their last round of auditions in The Big Apple.
From Around the Web: Last Comic Standing, Week Three