Last night my wife and I watched "Last Comic Standing" over dinner. Afterwards, I walked into the kitchen and prepared to do the dishes. When my wife thanked me, I replied “Right-on! Cha-cha-cha!” She laughed. I then thanked her for dinner “Great meal hon. Right-on! Cha-cha-cha!” She gave me an annoyed smirk. I took out the trash and when I returned to the kitchen she thanked me. My third “Right-on! Cha-cha-cha!” was met with a punch to the shoulder. It hurt. “Great Wayner, but what’s your point, ya wuss?” My point, smart ass, is that some things are only funny once, and they can move to irritating and then positively infuriating faster than you can say “Nanu-Nanu.” But enough about Tere Joyce’s performance, I’m getting ahead of myself.
You’ll recall that in last week’s episode, Tess had won a feature spot on the show “Extra!” This week’s show opens with Tess giving the “Extra!” crew a tour of the mansion. She plays the diva roll with hilarity, going so far as to introduce the other comics as her extras. After seeing her in front of the cameras, the other comics realize that her quiet demeanor in the house to that point had been designed to lull them into a false sense of security. Dave Mordal now believes that Tess is the scariest of the group. Rich Vos thought she was “on fire”, and Cory Kahaney described her as “the sleeping dragon.”
Apparently all the rats in Hollywood aren’t agents, as the comics discover a rat of the rodent variety living in their kitchen. Lead by Dave and Rich, the comics go on a quest to catch the pesky varmint. Dave attempted to smoke it out by puffing cigarette smoke under the stove. Tere tried to help, but even standing on a chair, she freaked as soon as she saw the furry little guy. Dave is interviewed in a bubble bath, discussing the rat. As the camera pans back, we see that there are candles around the edge of the tub – and Rich is in the tub with him. At least Rich isn’t completely naked – he’s wearing a hat.
Finally, Dave is able to trap the rat under a Tupperware container. He then says “Well Dat, uh, happy birthday. I know you wanted a dog…” The comics take the rat down the street and set him free. Of course, NBC is still going to get letters of complaint from PETA for feeding the rat unhealthy processed foods instead of natural grains; there’s just no pleasing some people.
Rich is ironing again. It seems that when Rich isn’t in the tub with Dave, he’s always ironing. He tells us “I can’t imagine what the next contest is going to be, but if you have to leave the house and talk, I’m sure I’m going to stink at it.” Well, prepare to stink Rich.
The first and only contest this week is for immunity, and is called “The Bringer Show.” One of the more humiliating aspects of performing is trying to distribute flyers trying to get people to come see your act, and that’s exactly what Jay Mohr has in store for the comics this week. They are each given different colored tickets. Their mission is to distribute all their tickets on Venice Beach in thirty minutes for a show that night. The comic who has the most audience members show up with their color ticket will win immunity.
Geoff Brown attempted to give tickets to some women reading a script. He tried to persuade them that in a few years he would be in a position to “green-light” a script like that, and they should come see his show tonight. After all that set-up, they showed him the tickets they’d already been given by one of the other comics. Dat Phan tried to get people to take his tickets even if they already had tickets of a different color, claiming that only the tickets with his signature were valid. Rich gave tickets to a woman and her boyfriend because she was hot and he wanted to see her again. Rob Cantrell tried to passionately explain to some folks that “Comedy is gonna save this country.” Dave told people “They’ll give you five bucks at the door if you give them this ticket.” Ralphie May tried giving tickets to homeless people and told them there would be free food at the club. Then he tells us “Most fat guys don’t like to go to the beach. Sand ends up in places you don’t want it to be. You’re putting on your pants two years later and a pearl falls out of your ass.”
That night at the club, the comics nearly outnumber the audience. Dat, Rich, Tere, Dave, and Rob have nobody in the audience with their tickets. Geoff, Cory, and Ralphie each have two people show up. Tess wins for the second week in a row, as with her ebullient personality, she persuaded five people to come see her perform. In addition to performing for the “crowd”, she also won a Beverly Hills shopping spree with a personal stylist. She tells a joke about waking up the morning after a night of passion only to find the new birth control patch stuck to her forehead. I have to admit, her humor and personality are starting to grow on me. Last week’s “eating grapes” diva shots of her are joined by scenes of her lounging in a silk robe in front of a romantic fireplace.
Next we find Tere crying at the mansion because Cory made her feel bad. Apparently, Cory has some crazy notion that if she’s doing a lot of the cooking that other people in the house should also pull their weight and maybe do some dishes. Tere tells us that Cory is a control freak and “she’s been high maintenance since Day One.” Tere, I hate to break it to you, but generally if someone cooks and cleans, and someone else hangs out at the bar or in the hot tub, the one that actually does work isn’t considered “high maintenance.” Tere vents about the situation to Dat, who listens quietly before finally suggesting that she talk to Cory about it. The spikey-haired one then gets mad at Dat for suggesting such a ludicrous plan of action. Dat defuses the situation by maintaining silence, and I file that away for the next time I annoy someone in my kitchen.
Next we’re treated to several of the comics chatting about the show. Cory accuses Dat of being a “poser” because he doesn’t want to be a stand-up comic, he wants to be an actor. Uh, Cory, did you know that if you win this contest, you get a contract with NBC, and with the exception of this show and the opening and closing moments of some “Seinfeld” episodes, NBC doesn’t show stand-up? Did you realize that many successful comics actually aspire to be actors? Robin Williams. Jim Carey. Steve Martin. Those posing bastards.
Dat goes on to reveal that before this contest he was living under a desk. In what appears to be a kinder, gentler Rich this week, Vos tells Dat that if he wins the competition he’s going to buy Dat a bigger desk. Dat then reveals that he has a journal in which he takes notes about his shows. Seems like a normal enough practice. But not only does he know that he’s done 1,079 shows, he has charts and graphs, detailing every act, every joke. Each square in a graph represents one second of a joke. He shows us research he’s done that shows that he gets 3.6363 laughs per minute. The other comics are a little creeped out. Dave points out that if Dat left the journal in a restaurant the Secret Service would investigate, because it is just a little too disturbing.
That night we’re shown footage of the comics scheming for votes. Even with the hushed conversations subtitled for us, even with the grainy footage having arrows superimposed over it with names to identify who is talking, I really can’t make any sense of their conversations. If I wanted grainy black and white footage, I’d watch the surveillance camera at the 7-Eleven. Less spy-cam and more jokes, please.
Finally it’s off to the voting both so the comics can cast their votes. You’ll recall from last week that they are supposed to vote for someone that they think is less funny than themselves. For the second week in a row, Tess thinks she is funnier than Dat. Last week Rob voted for Tere because she couldn’t do the "removable thumb” trick, so this week Tere votes for Rob, then actually fails in her attempt to prove him wrong. Rich claims to be funnier and a better cook than Tere. Ralphie says “There can only be one black man in the house” and votes for Geoff. Who? Oh yeah, I’d almost forgotten about Geoff. In return, Geoff votes for Ralphie. Cory says that last week’s vote was based on who was annoying, but this week’s vote is based on who does the dishes – and with that votes for Tere. Dave votes for Tere because she voted for him the previous week. Dat says “I don’t know why I’m doing this” and votes for Tere. Tere responds to Dat in anger with an expletive, and I make a mental note not to follow Dat’s example the next time I’m annoying someone in the kitchen. For the second week in a row, Rob comes up with what I think is the funniest voting comment: “Last night I had this dream about this big, spiky monster” so he votes for Tere because of her spiky hair. So, with five votes, Tere will be forced to win a challenge or be sent packing. She chooses Cory as her opponent.
Tere cries and tells us that “Everything I succeeded on is gone because these five people don’t think I’m funny.” Uh, Cory, don’t you might want to wait until you’ve actually performed and lost to Cory before you go admitting defeat like that? Trying to put on a brave face, she tells us “It’s the Superbowl, baby, and I’m the underdog! How great is that?” I can’t help but think that perhaps Custer at the Little Bighorn is a better analogy for what we’re about to witness.
Both women prove to be good sports, as they sit together on the bus ride to the comedy warehouse. Jay introduces them to the audience, and Tere goes first.
Admittedly Tere’s performance was probably the best we’ve seen from her in any episode of the show. I start chuckling, but by the time the third “Right-on-cha-cha-cha” escapes her lips, I’m just annoyed. I’m not a comedy expert, nor do I claim to be, but I had a couple issues with her performance other than the dreaded r-o-c-c-c. First, she made reference to “El Pollo Loco.” Fortunately for her, they’re taping the show in California, but I’m wiling to bet that the majority of the people watching on TV didn’t understand the reference to a regional fast food chain. Second, she said that she wasn’t an airhead, she’s just “oxygen challenged.” Maybe I don’t understand the concept of an airhead, but I thought it meant your head was full of air, in which case you’ve got plenty of oxygen.
Like Dave Mordal the week before, Cory Kahaney’s set got off to a slow start with the audience, but gathered steam as it went along. She joked about her husband being a sports nut, and how the last two minutes of a football game take forever. “Where can I get one of those two-minute clocks for my bedroom?” got a huge laugh, and she was off and running. Tere had told us that she thought that she was different, while Cory is like a lot of other comics. I admit that there are a lot of comics that talk about their families. However, a lot of successful comics have joked about their families, but nobody remembers what happened to the dude from Flock Of Seagulls. Not that I’m saying Cory is going to go on to be the next Roseanne or anything, but she made me laugh more than Tere did.
As the audience votes for their favorite, the comics all agree that both Tere and Cory had very good sets, and it is going to be close. That makes me feel good, because honestly, after seeing the audience react to both of them, I thought it was going to be close, too. But when the vote is announced, Cory trounces Tere with 80% of the vote. Tere boards the bus to wish everyone good luck, then departs with “I’m glad I’m leaving.” A word of advice to anyone that thinks they might ever be eliminated from a reality TV show; don’t try to tell us you’re glad you’re leaving – we won’t believe you.
The show closes with a short tribute shot of Buddy Hackett, who had been a judge on the first show; Hackett passed away yesterday at age 78.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go ice down my shoulder.