Welcome back, my little peeplets. My chicken is not amused. And if you haven't read anything else I've written, that will seem a puzzler. If you have...than that....will still seem a puzzler. But I digress. The point is, we're inside show number four. "The" show. The one where we find out the controversy. The big, meaty, manwich sized controversy. What is it? Is it that Todd Glass is on meds? That NBC has a hidden underground lair where they keep Joe Piscapo and Norm McDonald? Read on to find out.
We’re still at the hotel de Paris where all the comedians are abuzz about the night’s upcoming performances. Everybody’s nervous, John Heffron doesn’t know what he’s going to do on stage, and Alonzo uses about fifty different basketball analogies to describe what he needs to get done. He needs to “slam dunk” the performance. He needs to “get a hole in one,” he needs to “spank it, and make it say his name.” No, those aren’t all from basketball, and no those weren’t even all uttered from his mouth, but the short lesson today is that this is not a transcript service, so choice pieces of information will be displayed...and the least important details...will be tossed by the wayside in an effort to condense, inform, and summarize. Consider yourself coninformummarized. Is that a word? No. But it could be now.
In his swanky room, Jim Norton’s full up with his normal bit of sunshine. He doesn’t believe in that “positive affirmation” crap, and basically thinks everyone else around him is an idiot. The first idiot on arrival to his room is Peter Engel, executive producer of the show. He’s got some bad news for Jim……the earth is slowly losing it’s gravitational pull. Okay, not really. But as they both fictitiously float up towards the ceiling, Peter tells us that Jim has contractual obligations with other networks, and hence is too popular and can’t do LCS this season. Jim seems surprisingly calm and okay with this bit of info., and says that there’s no way he can make all the time commitments required of the show. He’s out, and both land softly on the carpet.
Peter tells us that because Jimmy poo is gone, we’re going to replace him…..with little chocolate mints. Or actually, another comedian. Suddenly we’re on a wild mystery ride of craziness as the camera tries to panic us. First we zoom off to Mark Pontrelli, the production coordinator of the show, and we get the panic-inducing footage of him in his cubicle, stressfully calling Jim Wiggins on speaker phone (because this call wasn’t planned for us to see AT ALL.) Jim answers in his Vadar voice with an old, slow, “helloo?” and Mark blurts out, “canyoubeattheairport in an hour?” Jim is freaked out, and then tells them he’s in Topeka, Kansas. Mark responds by going
apeshinuts and running off to the production staff as if just announcing an oncoming meteor. “He’s in Topeka, Kansas,” he cries agitatedly and breathlessly, as if a ball of fire is about to gorge the earth’s crust. Everyone else responds with the same panic, as if “wtf is Jim doing in Kansas?” Apparently Kansas is the tenth circle of hell, and they’re freaked and need him in Vegas TONIGHT.
Meanwhile, as Peter informs the rest of the comics about Jim being replaced with Jim, (he he, two Jim’s just to add to the confusion), Mr. Freak-out calls Jim (Vadar-voice Jim) and asks him if he can make it quickly. Yes he can, and when asked how he feels at that moment, Jim says, “stunningly lovely.”
The Moments to Enjoy Before You're Disappointed Later
It’s shoooowtime, peeps, and we’re back on stage with Jay Mohr, who gives us the run down again. Ten comics will perform, five will be chosen to make it into the house, and the celebrity judges will help them decide who goes. Ahem. The judges again are: Tess from last year’s LCS, Anthony Clark from Yes, Dear, Brett Butler, and Drew Carey. Let’s roll right on through the performances.
John Heffron is up first, and gives us the scary bit of information that he’s going to improv his entire set. Holy crap. I remember when I winged (or is it wanged??? That...just sounds....wrong. And dirty.) a speech once. I wrote it in the ten minutes prior to getting up to the podium. It was a “demonstration” speech. I made a puppet from a sandwich bag. Yeah. Really. A sad puppet. The puppet...and the speech = both lame. So I’m panicked for Jim as I get a quick Spinal Tap premonition and I picture John's name in the future, “John Heffron…and Puppet Show. “
On stage: he starts off slow but gets better and better as he performs. His first few jokes are about poorly done home haircuts performed with the same orange handled junk drawer scissors used to cut pizza and poop off the dog. Then fires up with a hilarious bit about kids in the store, and how they walk like they’ve been in the dessert for forty years. He bounces around on stage all bendy and slumped and agonized, and says it would be great if if you could do that at work during a meeting, “ohhh…when is it OOOOver!!” I laugh, (despite seeing this piece of comedy performed by someone else about ten years ago), and John gets a standing ovation while Jay Mohr feels compelled to SING “Standing oooovaaaationnn!!”
Marina’s up next, and talks about her act in a very percussion-like way, it’s got to have rhythm and pace, and she needs for her life to change.
On Stage: She does bits about loving to do comedy but can’t pull off a tough crowd like the showtime at the Apollo crowd. She’s apparently not sassy enough. She finishes with complaints about her ex-boyfriend, a Haitian man who complained about her comedy and apparently puts a curse on her that she mimes via blowing fictitious dust off her hand.
The Judges – Tess was totally psyched that Marina made fun of “sistah’s”, and Drew wants to know if the Haitian guy ever watches her act, Jay says, “Let’s bring him out!”
Meanwhile, we flash backstage momentarily to see footage of producers panicking at the ninety-minutes-to-showtime marker, and Jim Wiggins is still at the terminal. People…are..FREAKED. Will he make it? Oh will he? Something tells me....yes. Just a gut feeling.
Dan Naturman is up next, and makes me laugh almost continuously. First, just in his interview alone, he talks about doing comedy for eight years and showcases his messy, small, apartment, calling it, “early American crackhouse.” He started out doing open mic nights, and despite going to law school, decided to go into comedy because...well sports wasn't going to happen, and he wasn't the hot dude, so this was his way of constantly getting attention.
On Stage: He does bits about getting gift certificates instead of cash, and he just doesn’t understand the concept. When he first received one, he jokingly said, “I’ll try not to spend it all in one place,” and then tells us, “it turns out I had no choice.” Then he talks about how tight money is and that he’d rob a bank, but doesn’t want to be sent to prison because although, in his eyes, he’s not much to look at, he’s pretty sure that he’s got some big full lips that the prisoners might enjoy. And he finishes with, “I don’t mind the sex so much, it’s the cuddling that’s a problem.” Dan, understandably, gets a standing ovation. The judges laugh, the audience roars, and all is right with the world. Or so we think.
Sue Costello says she has a rough year and begins to weep. Apparently her beau of seven years moved out on her suddenly, but that little twist in her life plan actually made her stronger, and convinced her to take risks...like this show. She's pleased with how far she's come.
On stage: She’s afraid of getting older, and doesn’t want to live to be 104. She thinks all people should be shot in the head at age 70. She then does bits about having a lazy eye as a kid, and does some physical comedy by demonstrating it in a very Hunchback of Notre Dame way, and also does a bit of River Dance after talking about how Latino girls have the sexy moves compared to the Irish.
Todd Glass is backstage telling us about how he really, really, wants to win, and we see footage of him running around to various people with questions. “Did we make out once?” he asks Kerri Louise, “Did we make out once?” he asks a random hotel clerk, “Did we make out once,” he asks Kathleen Madigan, who doesn’t miss a beat with, “Just once?” And finally, “Did we make out once?” he asks…..Jay London, insisting that Jay may have been a blonde at one time. Todd tells us he looooves being silly as we see footage of him all over the furniture, and tells us that he thinks serious people should die. Or actually, just work at IBM.
On Stage: He's forgotten his entire act, until he comes up with his "what if" game. I.e. like, “what if you just walked into a gym and just started smoking?” He finishes with bits of his father's facial expressions while smoking, i.e. as if he's wincing in pain. And then ends with the still-inexplicable coment about being kicked in the uterus.
Jay London thinks he’s a dark horse. On stage he has more fun with word play, i.e. “you know why cows are mad? Because nobody tips them.” He worked at Bed, Bath and Beyond, in the beyond department. Etc. etc
The judges – Jay gets yet another standing ovation, which at this point, convinces me that even my sandwich bag puppet would have gotten a shout out. Jay Mohr says that if the judges don’t ask questions, Jay London will just pop out more one liners, and Jay does, “it all started when my dog received free rollover minutes.” Jay Mohr tells us he’s known Jay London for ten years, and tells us about how Jay would leave people in his cab with the meter running, while he ran in somewhere to do a set.
After a brief commercial, we come back to see more footage of the Jim Wiggins race, and by that, I don’t mean some race in which Jim, himself, takes part. I.e. there is no footage of his leg tied up to Jay London’s, bumbling along with a wobbling spoon and an egg. At least not yet. But the show…it is young. Anyhow, Jim is filled with absolute glee to be there.
Tammy Pescatelli phones up momma, and talks about her dad’s recent open heart surgery. Apparently all is well and she’s ready to get on that stage and bring on the comedy.
On Stage – Her first joke of the night is about her extremely harsh treatment of a man who comes up to her and asks, “hey, can I get a waittress?" and she answers, "I don't know, you're bald, you're fat, and you're middle aged, you'll be lucky to get a dish washer.” Ouch. The rest of her set centers around her Italian family and Kobe Bryant’s wife’s ring. She’s apparently willing to find her own man dates if he buys her that kind of ice.
Alonzo Bodden tells us he used to drink and smoke crack while we watch footage of him on his motorcycle...doing neither...unless he hides it well. He has no idea how he finally got there, but knows he’s dang good at this.
On Stage – He does bits about how ridiculous camping is. “I’m going to work all year to pretend I’m homeless?” And talks about how stereotypes are true, but hey, at least all negative stereotypes come with an opposing positive stereotype. He talks about the bad stereotypes pinned on black people, and says it’s a-okay, because they’ve got the big "sausage" rumor.
Judges: Tess wants to know if women approach him because of the “size” myth? Alonzo doesn’t miss a beat and holds up his shoe, “there is no myth, this is a size fourteen here.” Tess and Alonzo flirt and make eyes at each other while nearly ripping off their own shirts. My mechanical chicken is amused. And surprisingly, that’s not a euphemism.
DC Benny takes us home to his wife where we watch him consume tasty looking shrimp goodness while telling us that a month apart from his beloved would suck rocks. This sweet couple spends all of his non-comedy time together, and although she thinks it'll be challenging too, she knows it'll be good for his career.
On Stage – Benny does some hilarious bits that seem slightly poorly timed, about living in Brooklyn and how nobody cares about the homeless. He says you could be the most jacked-up homeless guy with no arms and legs, just a head with an eye patch and a speech impediment and some guy would still come along and kick the head, “yeah, but how’d you write that sign?” He then talks about mistaking a heroin addict for a Tai Chi master and finishes with an Indian rap. The audience doesn’t laugh much, and we see Benny run off stage telling us how brutal it was and how his timing was off. Tammy consoles him.
Jim Wiggins has juuust gotten off a plane and finally enters the arena on a tiny little sleigh. Okay, not really, but his long white beard gives him that Santa look, if Santa were a short little hippy with a Barry White voice, “What’s up my babies? Who’s been baaaad?” Santa hasn’t had time to change, and we see the producers fumble with him pre-performance, while he tells us that all he needs is an audience.
On Stage – Jim’s voice is even more gravelly than normal, and he sounds as if he’s Phlegm Man 2004. Which kind of sounds like a superhero…but potentially one of the least popular. He let’s us know right away that his voice is screwed up because he hits the tequila bottle. He talks about how he’s laying on his back at the pool…..because that’s the way he fell, when a cop busted him for wearing a thong. “Apparently there’s a front and a back to those things.” He finishes up with jokes about tricking Japanese tourists to play “the elevator” as if it were a casino game. “Look..I got two again!” He also received standing ovations from everyone.
The unofficial tally: Standing ovations for Jim Wiggins, Jay London, John Heffron, Dan Naturman, one of the ushers, my lunch bag puppet, and overall….everyone.
Crap and Fan.....Merge
Jay Mohr wastes no time and launches right into the results. Everybody’s understandably nervous, and many mention how they don’t want to go back to the apparent hell hole of a life they’ve been living prior to LCS. And the the winners are……………..*drum roll* Alonzo Bodden, Tammy Pescatelli, Todd Glass, John Heffron, and Jay London.
But oh wait this is sooo not over. The second the “un” sound on “London” is announced, we flash to Brett Buttler’s little face twisting into a silent rage. She and Drew exchange looks as if to signal that the meteor that the producers had panicked about earlier has indeed landed. Brett gets up from the table and walks off while Jay Mohr grabs his face on stage and gasps, “Brett!”
Backstage, Terri Louise watches the announcements on closed circuit TV and says, “Holy Bleep!! Dan Naturman didn’t make it?” No he didn’t, and no we don’t know why. Yet. Everyone’s stunned.
Peter Engel, executive producer, is standing backstage in the tiny little hallways cluing us into the fact that the celebrity guest judges feel upset because they feel like their votes were discounted. Brett cries to the comedians backstage and says that if she knew what it was going to be like she wouldn’t have participated in this crapfest. She says her votes were thrown out, and this is a travesty to comedy everywhere. We thought that might have been Buck Star, but apparently…this is it.
The drama is heightened when Dan Naturman acts in a very Sean Penn-like way, and angrily pushes the camera that’s following him out of his face. The camera doesn’t relent and it stalks him no matter which way he turns his head, until he semi-yells, “I’m not doing an interview! I’m not participating in this show!”
Immediately Drew's backstage, saying that this whole thing is bull caca, only using the word that rhymes with sit, and bit, and lit, and hit, and shi....ohhh, ya almost got me there. Drew says that he and Brett and Anthony, i.e. three out of the four judges, did not vote for the peeps that got on the show. The other comedians stand by watching the chaos unfold. And even though this casts a hideous light on NBC, they know a good episode when they see one, so they continue to stab themselves in the foot with a sharp, pointy, pointy-thing, and continue to show footage of Drew angrily calling out, “bull bleep!”. He doesn't like being used for his face and thinks his presence there is pointless.
Just about the only people that don’t seem ticked are Tim Young, who says that if he were producing the show, he’d do it the same dang way, and Peter Engel, the executive producer, who is seen whispering quick explanations to Drew that we get to see via subtitle. Unluckily for Peter, they are all in English. Apparently, there are more people voting than just the celebs. Drew says, “more than us four?” Peter whispers as if he’s telling Drew he’s got an embarrassing rash, “shhh…yes, it’s the celebs and the network people AND the producers…and do you have any ointment or salve on ya?” Apparently, it is indeed NOT only up to the celebs, it’s instead up to eight people, most of which are NBC executives. Drew is even more pissed, and let’s his angry little Dilbert head spout off more bull caca’s.
Peter let’s us know that what the celebs didn’t realize was that the selections were made in conjunction with the network and the producers, and that the celeb’s job was only to judge their Vegas performances, whereas the NBC peeps got to see them three or four times, getting a better sense of who these peeps were. He closes with saying that the night of comedy was so splendid, that it's a shame all the drama took place. In his mind, they've got a great trail mix of people together. And no, I'm not going to compare the comedians to the various goodies contained within a trail mix. Right now, anyway.
Next week: the ten comics finally move into the craziest Elvira-looking house imaginable and compete in comedy challenges, relaxation exercises (well..they don’t COMPETE in the relaxation exercises…i.e. nobody’s trying to out-meditate each other), and soon challenge each other to a comedy duel.
The elf needs caffeine this time. email@example.com.