http://tv.zap2it.com/tveditorial/tve_main/1,1002,271|88879|1|,00.htmlOriginally Posted by Zap2ItLOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - Aside from a brief (and spot-on) impression of "CSI: Miami" star David Caruso -- which he says is better in person anyway -- Jay Mohr was all business Friday(June 18) in talking to reporters about his NBC series "Last Comic Standing."
That's because he's defending the show, not just promoting it.
Wednesday's (June 16) episode of "Last Comic" featured a controversy over the selection of the show's 10 finalists. Judge Brett Butler walked out after Mohr announced the final selections, and cameras caught her and fellow judge Drew Carey afterward, complaining that their picks didn't make the cut.
"I call bulls***," Carey said at the time.
Both comedians made their feelings public after the show taped in March, saying they believed NBC chose finalists who would make for better television when they're thrown together in a house, rather than simply the 10 funniest people.
Not true, Mohr says now: "The judges' wishes are the first, second and third thing we respect when we go into the room to pick who gets on the show. The first thing we do is say 'Who's on all four cards' ... and those people automatically go," he says.
The four judges -- Carey, Butler, "Yes, Dear" star Anthony Clark and former "LCS" finalist Tess -- were told to pick 10 comics each to advance to the finals. Clark wrote down only four names; his picks matched with those of the other judges, so those four comics moved on (Mohr and NBC both decline to reveal who the unanimous picks are). Carey, Butler and Tess also agreed on three more contestants, bringing the number of finalists to seven.
Mohr says the judges split their remaining votes among 11 comics, which forced the producers to step in and fill the remaining three slots.
"So how do you rectify that?" Mohr asks. "You have to choose behind closed doors who was the funniest the entire way through. Who's given you nothing in interviews and testimonials and just had the best set of their lives that one night in Las Vegas, and who's been funny the whole way through, in all the interviews and during their stand-up.
"The judges' wishes were respected a lot more than they'd like the public to believe."
Mohr had no hand in choosing the finalists; instead, executive producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, along with some NBC executives, made the final call. Their choices incorporated the judges' opinions along with what they had seen for the duration of the early rounds, including time spent offstage.
"[Carey and Butler] didn't see the people being funny throughout the audition process," he says. "There are people who may have been on their cards because they had the best set of their entire journey, and maybe of their entire careers, that night in Las Vegas.
"What they don't know is that person might have been a complete dud every single other time -- they're just not funny [offstage], and that comes into play a lot. It's who's been funny all the time."
Mohr doesn't know why the judges weren't fully briefed on the selection process, and in hindsight, he thinks he might have taken more time to explain the procedure better ("Last Comic Standing" used the same selection process last year with no controversy).
"Maybe I'll shoulder some of that blame," he says. "Maybe I should have explained to them that in the even you only pick seven of the 10 unanimously, we'll, as they say in boxing, have to go to the cards."
edited to add-By Rick Porter