The Shawkshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies. Morgan Freeman, the film’s narrator, spent something like 3,000 hours (a number I created…………..just now) in a recording studio in West Hollywood (a location I created……..just now), going after just the perfect inflection to make the rooftop beer scene seem climactic, and to raise the tension in the scene where Andy Dufrane borrows a long length of potential hanging rope from that blonde-guy-who-was-mean-at-the-beginning-but-then-we-liked-him-later…..no-not-the-“don’t-drop-the-soap”-blonde-guy-who-got-beaten-later-by-the-really-BIG-blonde-guy-who-was-a-mean-prison-guard. Annnyhow, Morgan narrated his little heart out. He was even nominated for an Oscar. You may wonder what this has to do with comedy....and you would be correct to wonder. This recap itself leaves much to desire in the way of comedy, except via the comedians themselves, but the point is, the director/producers of that film decided to go the narrator route to capture all the drama, the tension, the spirit…of every scene. In tonight’s episode of LCS2, they have done the same…with John Heffron. Yes, little wirey John spends most of this episode in take after take, supplying commentary about the goings on. I'll tell you why. This episode...is thin. Thin on intrigue, thin on spiciness, and even thin on Tammy threats. So they clearly whored John to the good of the show, and spliced takes of his humor inside the kind of boring scenes you will soon witness below. Heads up: there's a lengthy shot of a sandwich in a frying pan. Yep. This is the kind of flavor you're in for. So they've added Johnisms. And the show…is better for it. I laughed, I cried, I was merry. As merry as the unneutered dog across the street from me. Well…maybe not that merry. I haven’t humped a trashcan or a yard gnome…yet. But I’m pretty damn merry. Let us begin!
First up is the return….of the King. I.e. Gary Gulman, who I will refer to as “the King” only temporarily, and in this sentence, just because he kicked Ant’s ass. And hard. He arrives back at the house, roller suitcase in tow, much to the chagrin of Tammy and Alonzo and perhaps even Kathleen. The second he walks in the door, all cheer, except for the aforementioned, while Gary turns to them and mimes fake tears in a taunt at Tammy. Alonzo thought the crowd would give it to Ant, and Tammy says Ant may have seemed manipulative, but he sure wasn’t manipulating her. Apparently, he will be missed. But not by Corey, who does a little jig next to Ant’s bed, looks delighted, and says, “bye, bye, Ant…YOU GONE.” Oh…he gone all right. Corey laughs and giggles and we see a close up of some chrysanthemums. Apparently this puffy flower is a symbol of Corey’s glee. And this shot is also your first trip into the land of NBC's attempt to spice this episode up. Because nothin' adds the spice like pretty flowers.
Next up, Gary, Alonzo and John are all on the patio/porch, discussing the taking of Ant’s now vacant room. John tells us no one wants it…because it’s haunted. And has bad heebie jeebies. He does indeed use the word “heebie jeebies.” As soon as he says it, the camera zooms the landscape of the castle, stopping on statues of cherubs and naked greek gods, and replacing their heads with the distorted, morphed, detached head of Ant. Ant’s head looks bitter. And deranged. I laugh merrily, and later in the show, during dog-feeding moments, find myself reminiscing of this scene fondly. Anyhow, I would have liked the head to speak, maybe like the great and powerful Oz, but ah well, you can't have it all.
Tammy tells us the vibe of the house is completely different now that the three big personalities in the house are missing. Which suddenly signals the arrival of a dog. Perhaps to signal the “new” big personality. All the peeps freak out, and Kathleen tells us she asked for one long ago. As the dog spends most of his time being fed by the various comics and/or probably sniffing things most of us wouldn’t sniff, I doubt he will do much to replace the intrigue of Ant’s Hatch-y manipulation or the madcap zaniness of Todd Glass and his fake knife infomercials. The dog is even less likely to offer his opinions on who should be ousted from the house. Unless necessary. I'm assuming he's gunning for Jay London, whose pet-like appeal offers him his stiffest competition. Jay ends up feeding him, though, which I think buys favors that Jay can use later. Kathleen says if she could get the dog to eat one comic a night, she’d be set.
Where Reservoir Dogs Was Filmed
It’s challenge time, and as we await the wisdom from the plastic gypsy, Alonzo pumps weights and Tammy bench presses a gnome, which you KNOW makes me happy. I have renewed respect for Tammy. Or maybe it's just the gnome-love talking. Yeah, I think it’s the gnome love.
Kathleen is responsible for grabbing the fortune this week, which signals a new low in the writing on the show, as the clue simply reads, “get ready for your toughest challenge yet". It could have just as easily said, “challenge four” or “this is a small white card.” Both…fascinating. No worries of Survivor like poems here, I'll tell you whut. I'm going to add a poor quality clue-poem of my own, well, because I felt like it. I'm no Plath, but I know how to rhyme my "eee" sounds. *cue banjo pickin' music*
Who will be their toughest crowd?
Some cops or gangs
T asks out loud
Alonzo looks for signs of jails
While Corey's guess
Is battered fe-males (you really have to work to get that to fit, but hey, I DID write this in .03 seconds. And it shows.)
Anyhow, everybody pops on the school bus and speculates in the manner above, only without rhyme. But that would have been cool. They all zip through downtown LA and start zipping past scarier and scarier neighborhoods. Kathleen is certain they have to be hilarious while selling crack. I like this idea, but find it unlikely, as no one laughs harder or more easily than a crackhead.
Soon they arrive at their destination. A desolate area with no trees, dirt yards, and huge fences with razor wire. Standing on the sidewalk in front of said fence…….is Jay Mohr….surprisingly unharmed. He looks so out of place in this shanty-town area, that I’m imagining huge-ass body guards just off screen whose presence has probably been the only thing that prevented Jay from being held down and spray painted orange by hooligans. Yeah, I used the word hooligans. Not sure the bloods or the crips would like to be known as such, but there you go. Jay tells them that they’re here to perform in front of the toughest crowd ever, and that everything has been a cake walk up to now.
Soon they pop into a very Pop-eye building. Why Pop-eye? Because there was an episode where Olive Oil gets this tiny tent; it’s small and dingy and about the size of a hula hoop, but when Pop-eye sticks his head inside, it’s this enormous palace with lush draperies and giant cushions. The same thing happens here. Outside, the building is awash with stains and dirt , but inside, they’re in a giant red velvet room with lush fabric, deep purple carpet, and gold tassels on everything other than Jay Mohr. They look around bewildered before Jay says, “let’s meet the audience.” Suddenly a very Raggedy Ann looking man-clown appears as if from nowhere and screams, “Who wants pizza?” The drapes open, and a huge flood of screaming kids run through the room. There are approximately 3.5 million of them, and the comics’ eyes say, “oh sh**.”
Children of the Corn
Kathleen tells us if she had to wear a clown outfit, she’d be leaving the show immediately and letting NBC sue her for a million dollars. None of the other comics look pleased either. But Jay tells them it’s for immunity, and they all must draw a licorice stick out of a bucket to determine the order in which they’ll perform. John Heffron, narrator extraordinaire, tells us that whoever gets the longest stick is bound to win, because kids are itchy and jumpy and will only remember the last person on stage. He mimes what the kids are NOT doing, i.e. writing out little evaluation sheets going, “oh yeah, I liked him, no I didn’t like him.” Etc.
Candy assorted, Jay Mohr pops open a gaudy trunk full of costumage, like butterfly wings, hats, wigs, a chicken suit, and the like. Actually there is no chicken suit, but hey, let’s add the color. You know how much I like chickens. And gnomes. And elves. Anyhow, they all pick through the clothes hesitantly, while Alonzo tells us that being a clown is one step away from being drunk in a Chuck E Cheese costume. I wonder if he knows of what he speaks. Jay is unthrilled to be stuck with the butterfly wings, yet he somehow clutches them protectively. I don’t know, Jay, perhaps the wings will jazz up those overalls.
The clown returns to introduce the comics, and tells the kids that they’re about to see seven of the funniest people all day. Which is a funny statement, since they will be the ONLY people the kids will see all day. And funny? Um………hmm.
Up first is John Heffron, sporting the name Marmaduke Stink, a black beard, and some kind of skunk hat. He hops out on stage all bow legged and makes the kids laugh…….for about two seconds. Their attention spans soon wane and John calls back to the fellow comics, “good luck back there.” He tells the kids that he makes them smell bad things, which does nothing for the hard core audience. When he asks them to yell out suggestions of things that smell bad, the kids give him blank, vacant, stares. In the end, he says he’s going for pure psychology, and tells the kids that after every performer, they must yell skunk about a million times. Kathleen listens backstage and thinks he’s unstoppable. And John finishes by making me chortle by saying he would never want to be in front of that many kids again trying to make them laugh, and says, “it just reminds me of how underpaid you teachers are.” Amen, my wise and wirey little friend.
Out next: Gary Gulman. His stage name is Simon cheese and he sports a propeller hat and a mouse nose. He bombs by doing Simon says, and ends up feeling vulnerable to eviction from the house. He thought Simon Says would be unbeatable. It is not. He ends up sacrificing pride by doing prat falls.
Jay London: kids laugh right away at "Freddy the Flame" who’s a weird mix of tinkerbell and scary-dude-who-talks-to-himself-on-the-subway. He doesn’t have the pop cans tied to his ankle or the twitch in his shoulder, but the dude still looks freaky to the kids. He disperses safety tips about not lighting matches in the forest, while the kids appear weirded out. Very quickly, the kids go from blank stares to Lord of the Flies in about three seconds flat and start booing him and chanting skunk over and over again. One particularly adamant six-year-old spreads his arms wide, grunts and growls and does an angry set of thumbs down motions. The look on his face reminds me of someone, and I have flashbacks of the villain in the Karate Kid. I almost envision him saying, "sweep the leg!" He doesn't. Narrator John says Jay’s act is a little too heebie jeebie, and that he’s certain Jay’s used that voice on a 900 number somewhere. His act commences with Jay Mohr’s face hidden behind his t-shirt, embarrassed for his friend.
Tammy Pescatelli gets three seconds on screen. She’s Blue Hoo with a blue wig, and tries unsuccessfully to stop the kids from chanting skunk. They chant. Scene ends. There is no camaro in this scene, so the kids...they are safe.
Narrator John tells us he thought the people with kids would have a leg up, but apparently he’s wrong, and says over Corey’s act, “what does Corey have, like a 100 kids? Ten he sees?” Corey finishes his bombalicious segment by asking some kid what his parents do, and the kid answers, “scream all night.” Ohhhhh…yow. A very cringey answer.
Alonzo’s up next as some kind of genie and he works his little heart out while Kathleen tells us it’s hard for him, because he doesn’t get outside of himself too often. Alonzo falls on the floor, and proposes to a little girl who promptly replies in little kid honesty, “no”. Alonzo says he has newfound respect for clowns, and I have newfound respect for daycare workers everywhere.
Kathleen is last and comes out with a little green hat as Lucky the Leprechaun. Her fellow comics are stunned with what a great job she does, getting the kids to all leap over an enormous pencil, while they all run around with glee. When she’s done, she says she needs a nicotine patch. I don’t smoke, but after this, I'm ready to start.
In the end, the kidlets each put a sticker on the comedian they think is the funniest. The screaming kids run up and heartlessly squirm away from comics begging for stickers, and slap them on people who are considered cool enough for the day.
In the end, the tally is:
Gary : two
Jay London: two
Kathleen wins and gets jazzed she has immunity. As far as she’s concerned, she wants to entertain babies next week. The younger the better. Along with immunity, Kathleen wins a four course meal with two people from the house which she has to choose right then. She picks Corey to pay him back for the Aspen trip, and Gary because she voted for him last time.
Big Appetites and Minimally Interesting Plots
Up next is whole lot of nothing interesting. People eat, grilled cheese gets made, and basically a bunch of filler is had. But since I’m committed to bringin’ it all to you live, here it goes. First up is dinner out on the town for Kathleen, Corey, and Gary, while the rest of the housemates sit back and griddle up home cookin’ and intrigue. At the restaurant, Corey orders three to five meals while single-meal-eating Kathleen and Gary look on. I’m not sure what all he orders, but I know there was shrimp involved, short ribs, a couple of chickens, and a pair of ski boots. At the house, Jay decides to make grilled cheese sandwiches for all, and everyone’s shocked and amazed that the cave man makes fire. The grilled cheese looks tasty and gooey, while John tells us that Jay only looks like he wears pelts and shoots squirrels. Jay finishes his sandwich making extravaganza by making a cut the cheese joke that impresses the apparently easy mark, Tammy.
Back at the uninteresting restaurant scene, the producers choose to focus in on Corey’s table manners, by showing his surprise at receiving one of his dishes and asks the waiter, “is this what I ordered?" The scene commences with a big, rippling lipped belch ala Barney on the Simpsons. Okay, there was no rippling lip, but really, this is ALL that happened at the restaurant, peeps. Back at the mansion, we flash back to an exciting shot of the grilled cheese sandwich sizzling in a cast iron skillet. The cheesy orange color is offset by the rich tones in the pan, and it is a thing of beauty. Unexcited by sandwich beauty? This is all they’ve given us, folks.
Eventually, some minimal intrigue happens as Tammy takes her food outside and promptly tells John that she’s ready to vote out her sandwich maker. I’m sure the highly exciting sandwich-making scene was displayed so that we would feel betrayed by Tammy’s consumption of said food while skewering it’s maker. Instead, we are unsurprised. John says all his future votes will be based on who he knows he can beat, and that’s as much thought as he’s putting into it. Unsurprising again, Jay joins them, Tammy tells him they’re discussing the vote, and then tells us in her mafia ways again that nothin’ is coming between her and what she needs to do for her family. She’s makin’ that final five even if it involves stuffing bodies into trunks. Whoever is in her way, needs to move, and we see Jay forshadow with, “someone’s head is on the chopping block.” NBC spares us the little graphic of Jay’s head spinning separately from his body.
Continuing with the most uninteresting bit of plotting EVER, we plow through the next morning, and in fact, the next entire day with relative speed, spending only a few moments on Gary’s nerves about making it to the final five, and how Corey will vote for whomever he thinks he can beat. With a small stick.
Yada yada let’s get to it. Soon, is the scene that I don’t understand, really. Okay, in a nutshell, Tammy, Alonzo, John and Corey all sit around the campfire while Tammy tells them she’s voting for Jay and they need to as well. None of them agree, and because of this, she suddenly says they’re not ballsy or real men. I……..don’t get it. She says she doesn’t understand why they’re afraid of Jay London, and I don’t understand why he’s the powerhouse that she says needs to be taken down. I.e. apparently to her, voting for Jay is the big move that proves they're men. Alonzo tells her not to get worked up, which she promptly ignores by calling them motha f*ckers and says she doesn’t give a sh*t. Sweet, loveable, girlie girl that she is. She ends up running off to Kathleen, who inexplicably agrees with her, and says the men are just hiding. Wait a minute……..how? Jay London, while entertaining, is not necessarily considered the strongest comic in the house by most of his fellow comics. My only thought is that they refuse to vote for him based on his sweetness, and THAT’s what makes them pansies in Tammy’s eyes. I think.......whatever. Kathleen finishes by telling us that the only alliance she has is with Tammy, and would help her in any way she could. Which means that someday, she could be stuffing bodies into the back of a 1977 camaro. Why the camaro? I don't know...there are just some cars out there that scream "dead body inside" and the camaro is one. Plus, Tammy has that Jackie Brown vibe. Yeah, I'm not sure it was a camaro in that film, but hey, I'm pulling that one right out of thin air.
Up next, it’s time for the voteathon. Only two more people will be sent packing via house vote. You know the drill. You don’t’? Ahh nuts. Okay…everyone pops into a photo booth and picks a comic they think they could beat in a challenge. The person with the most votes, goes up in the head to the head comedy duel that night. Their opponent is their choice, selected from those that fingered them.
This night, the vote is all over the place. Almost no one seems in an alliance, as willy nilly, votes are cast for Jay, John, Tammy, Corey, Gary, and the new dog. In the end, Corey and John Heffron giggle about voting for each other, and Gary and Jay London have two votes each, making it a tie, which means they automatically go up together in the head to head. Poor Gulman is up for a second time in a row.
For your scorecard, the votes are:
Corey: John Heffron
As they pack, Gary is frightened because Jay is endearing and sweet, and audiences find him as cuddly as the Snuggles bear. Jay, on the other hand, looks out over the balcony at the twinkling lights of the city and listens for coyotes. So…an average Tuesday. He says that coyote sounds are messages at night, and hawks and hummingbirds are daytime messengers. He doesn’t know if he’ll be back to see this terrain again, and I feel a bit melancholy watching the little painter man wax nostalgic.
Your Cat Hates You
Up next we’re at the Last Comic Standing theater again and Jay opens with more of his comedy. He jokes about hating cats, and says that if a woman asks on a date, “do you want to come in and meet my cat?” he thinks, “you’re close.” The audience takes a few minutes to pick up on the joke, but eventually the laughter swells. He talks about how he doesn’t like cats, because cats don’t like him, and in fact, they don’t like you either. In the end, he finishes with jokes about how different dogs are, and that when you take out the garbage, you come back to the house with a freaked out dog acting like, “whoah, don’t do that, I can’t tell time, how long were you away??” More dog jokes about checking on you while you're on the toilet, annnnd he's done.
Soon it’s time for the big showdown. In prep, Gary says that Jay is a wild card and could bring the house down at any time. He says Jay’s had a difficult life and has overcome a so much, he’s almost rooting for him. In his own dressing room, Jay says he hopes to get a technical knockout ala Raging Bull right off the bat, while a poster for LCS falls on top of him. He jokes that it’s good energy, and that everything is dropping on him tonight.
Jay’s up first and spends his entire routine on one liners and self-put-downs. A select few from my non-transcripting self: He's self-employed, he manages his own hair. He gets all his hair care products at Petco. He told his dad he wanted to be a musician, his father bought him a blunt instrument and told him to knock himself out. He named his private part “pride”. I.e. it’s not much, but at least he has his pride. He spends most of his act with small bits of laughter, punctuated by him constantly moving around stage and telling people the pain will be over soon. The audience doesn’t liven up until he gets into some more spicy sex jokes. I.e. his girlfriend has crabs, so he bought her fishnet stockings. After sleeping with his girlfriend, he asked her if she wanted breakfast in bed, and she said that one pig in a blanket is enough. The audience laughs, all enjoy him, and he exits.
Gary’s out next in a bright red shirt while the girls in the audience immediately cheer and scream as the camera flashes over their delighted faces. He does bits about being afraid of heights, which started with the ropes in gym class. He says you’re encouraged not to run in the hallways, but hey, walking to the gym and climbing 850 feet into the air is a good thing. In the air, you’ll be really tired, but will have the safety of a tiny thin blue mat on the ground. More jokes on impending nad endangerment for boys via the knot at the end of the rope, and how your hands will be ablaze in fire if you slide down too fast. He then launches into jokes about the speedometers on the side of the road and how likes to speed up while passing them and get the high score. He finishes with hilarious jokes about the Pill, and how we ALL know what Pill he means, “there’s a pill out there that cures polio. That’s not the pill. Take one and you don’t suffer from disease, take another and you don’t have to buy condoms. THAT’s the pill.” He finishes with a hilarious bit about the super cool candle snuffer invention. Thank God for that. All hail the golden age of the candle snuffer, gone are the days when you had to tediously blow them out. All are merry and he finishes strong.
Finally, the results we’ve all been waiting for. As Gary and Jay stand nervously on stage, Jay tells us that the winner…with 89 percent of the vote..is…Gary Gulman!! He’s stunned while Jay looks broken as only a little cave man can. As Jay leaves the stage, Gary tears up and tells us that Jay has been nothing but a gentleman and kindly and seeing him go home…well it just tears him up inside. Jay leaves the stage disappointed and sad, telling us it’s a devastating loss that will only make him stronger. He tearily tells us he had the greatest time of his life, and he hopes to see us all again. We all sniff and sigh and the lights go dim, along with the small little Jay part of our hearts.
Next week: *little blonde girl’s voice* They’re baaaack!! Yes!! The ousted comics come back, and Bonnie McFarland is shown laughing maniacally while Jay tells us we have a huge twisty twist in store. Oh yes, we will select the five remaining comics, but there is something else in store. Buwahahaha!!
Busily making grilled cheese, firstname.lastname@example.org