Good evening everyone...welcome back to FORT's Last Comic Standing Forum. I see some familiar faces here tonight... That's so great. Everybody...give yourself a round of applause for supporting live comedy...
After last week's Bataan Death March of a recap, I didn't know if many of you would come back...but here you are...and here I am, so, let's get right into the show, shall we?
Oh...as always, remember...for those of you with cell phones...beepers...vibrators.. .washing machines...whatever you brought that makes noise, please shut them off now...for the benefit everyone here tonight trying to enjoy the show. Comedy only really works when you pay attention and it's hard to pay attention when the person next to you's celly keeps blowing up...and his ringtone is Sisqo's "Thong Song."
Hey, Keep It Going For Last Comic Standing: The pg13 LCS Recap
Episode Two: Who are THESE people? (Part One)
Last week, we had two hours of Last Comic Standing to absorb. This week, the fine folks at NBC have decided to spend the first hour recapping last week's two hour episode.
To be honest, watching that hour long recap was probably faster than reading my written recap of last week's show...am I right? Am I right?
Ooooh, tough crowd, tough crowd.
Since there's little point in recapping something that I've already recapped--especially because NOTHING DIFFERENT HAPPENED, IT WAS JUST SHORTER THIS WEEK, let me just add some information that I've come across since posting that recap--some behind the scenes information about what we saw last week.
Danny Morsel--the "combat dancer" who was the first performer seen at this year's New York auditions is actually a comedian by the name of Chris Coxen. Danny Morsel is only one of what he calls "Chris Coxen's League of Characters." I wonder if Chris has a schticky-ape/comedian character in that league...and if so, is he kicking himself for not beating Mel Silverback to the open "token simian comedian" slot?
Joe DeVito--is NOW A MEMBER OF THE FORT!!! YAY!!!
Luckily, I like Joe...but I promise you that if I stop liking Joe, the fact that he's a FORT member won't stop me from drowning that sweater-vest wearing freak in snark. Oh, I'll do it...
Don't test me, DeVito... Just keep being really funny and we're cool.
Pete Dominick--was given a red envelope and invited to go to the next round.
WHAT WHAT WHAT?
I know what you're thinking "I thought you said nothing different happened?"--and then you hit me with a frying pan because I lied to you...and then you expect me to kill Anne Ramsey...I know how this works.
No, they didn't show Pete getting a red envelope this week either--but he did get one when the event happened live. The fine folks over at Shecky Magazine reported that Pete was advanced to the next round, but that one of the conditions of moving on would be that he would have had to give up his daily shows on Sirius Radio--and that Pete decided to keep his satellite radio gigs and turn the LCS opportunity down.
What I find interesting is that Pete WAS mentioned by name and was shown performing comedy on the original longer first episode (although not in the shortened version aired last night)--but Canadian comic Brian Lazanik, who was also given a red envelope at the live event (in his case, the Montreal auditions) but did not actually move on to the second round...didn't get any coverage at all.
One of the funniest things that I caught in watching this recap show was the little dance that Sabrina Matthews does when Andi Smith is announced as moving on to the second round. And what I thought was something I found--that Ralph Harris listed his hometown as Value Village, CA...which would have been really funny...turned out to not be so funny when I saw that it was actually simply Valley Village, CA.
And, one last bit of news, evidently Chuck likes apples. I don't know why I know that...but I do.
LET'S GET TO THIS WEEK'S ACTUAL SHOW NOW, OK?
Last week, we were given two hours to check out the auditions in three towns. Tonight, we're being given one hour to check out two auditions. How much time will be given to each auditions' hopefuls. Oh my God...this is a story problem, isn't it? DAMN YOU, MATH TEACHERS!!!
Leaving the algebra out of it, the simple truth is...we're not going to get as many stories tonight...we're not going to meet as many people tonight...we might not get as many freak show montages tonight... Deal with it.
Hollywood, California...where dreams of stardom are littered on the streets like losing pulltabs on the floor of a small town tavern... This is where we begin tonight--at the Improv...and the line of hopefuls stretches for blocks and blocks... Our often-missing-in-action host, Bill Bellamy is working the line, getting them all rowdy--which, I'm sure, must make the neighbors of the comedy club just oooooooh, sooooooooo happy.
Bill picks out a girl named Jamie in the line. Bill thinks she's cute. Bill likes her smile. Bill wants her to win. Bill asks how long she's been doing comedy. Jamie says she's never done it before. Bill crushes her dreams. (Sorry Joe DeVito--but evidently the host gets to call dibs on dream crushing around here.)
See, here's the flaw in this year's "Let's just make this show exactly like American Idol...only with comedy instead of singing" plan. Comedy, unlike singing, is not something that you can be good at if you've never done it before--it is more of a developed skill than an innate talent.
Heaven help us if someone decides to do a medical reality show. America's Next Top Surgeon, or something like that...
And what are you going to do for us today?
I was going to perform a splenectomy.
And, how long have you been a doctor?
Oh, I've never...actually...you know...even taken a class or anything...
All right, well good luck with your surgery today...
BACK TO THE SHOW...
We see a quick shot of the message board at the Improv...indicating that open casting auditions for Last Comic Standing began at 10am. Do you know how hard it is to make people laugh at 10am? Do you know how hard it is to make comedians laugh...ever? (Especially with your actual act--because comedians, believe me, will laugh like crazy when we see that a comedian has gone completely off the rails and is in major trouble with an audience...but to actually LAUGH--not just smile in appreciation, but LAUGH--at another comedian...at an hour where most comedians are still sleeping off the post-show omelet from the night before?)
Let's put the snark aside and congratulate EVERYONE who managed to make this nightmare scenario work for them.
Then again, I did point out that hardly anyone makes it onto the show from the open casting auditions, didn't I?
LOS ANGELES AUDITIONS
First up is Jon Reep. I'm going to GUESS that Jon wasn't there at 10am.
You know, there's something familiar about Jon, isn't there?
Jon's from Hickory North Carolina--so, it can't be that I've seen him around town or anything. He's got a boyish face...a charmingly disheveled appearance...and a southern drawl that would strip paint off a tractor at thirty paces.
He compares Los Angeles' non-smoking culture with how it was back home--where restaurants would have a smoking section...and a chain-smoking section.
He then suggests that you need to be entertained by the simple things in life--like the river. Jon says the word river like it had three or four syllables in it: REE-ih-IH-vuhr...rrrr... Something like that anyway. Jon also said that he's sure that a redneck invented the house boat.
"You know, if I could get this double-wide to float..." Jon imagines the redneck-inventor saying as he surveyed the glory of the reeihihvuhr, "...we'd never have to LEAVE the river. Go get my caulkin' gun!"
That's enough for the judges--Jon's coming back for the showcase.
After Jon, we get Alonzo telling us that he's expecting good things from the comics here...which can only mean that we're about to be see some less than good things. Crazy Magical Elves...don't you know that WE KNOW YOUR GAME NOW?
Maggie McCoy starts out promisingly...she's got energy, she's got a big Irish family, she seems to be setting up for something good based on her upbringing and her family's quirks--but then a geyser explodes and suddenly there's a volcanic eruption of noise where her words used to be coming from... There's really no explaining what Maggie was going for. Maybe a blond, Californian, Irish, female Sam Kinison--only without the jokes?
Needless to say, Ant is not impressed. Actually, I've noticed that Ant has been less than impressed with any female comedians so far this year. Evidently, they've got nothing to offer him.
Alonzo comes back for another interview section, where he talks about his love of a train wreck--how he has to watch every car go off the tracks. Evidently, Maggie's completely switched his expectations for the rest of today's auditions. Thanks, Maggie...the Magical Elves have a check waiting for you near the editing booth.
Joseph Neibach's roommate is black and thinks that Joseph is racist because he's got the master bedroom...and because Joseph tried to sell his roommate on eBay. Ant's jaw drops and he turns and stares at Alonzo...and that's funny to a comedian.
Dirty secret time. See, there's this dynamic in most comedy clubs--that when someone tells a joke with a racial component, everyone in the room looks to see if there's someone of that race in the room...and then they judge whether or not they can laugh at that joke, based on whether or not the person of that race laughs. If that person does, then the other people in the room feel it's ok for them to laugh, too.
...except, this time Ant didn't think it was funny...he just wanted Alonzo to be the one to tell Joseph that it wasn't funny.
Alonzo obliged, saying "I'm not offended as a black person. I'm offended as a comic."
Anthony Browning makes a funny face and screams. He gets nexted.
Julius Mogyorossy is in a Native American headdress and paint...and he introduces himself as Little Big Snake from the tribe of bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Ant asks him if he has any clean material. Julius thinks about this for a second and then admits that he doesn't. He gets nexted.
BUT! REMEMBER THAT...no clean material=nexted. It may come up on a test later on.
Lizzy Cooperman from Minneapolis is up next. She's got a less boy-ish version of the DeAnne Smith from the Montreal auditions "thing" going on--the young, indie-rock, nerdy hipster vibe is in full effect with Lizzy. She's seen in a post audition interview doing physical imitations of how each of the three judges were acting as she walked in--she said that she got a "warm, inviting smile from Ant"--which only means that maybe I was wrong about describing Lizzy as less-boyish earlier--and that Alonzo was sitting there, "very cool and dignified, with his elegant bone structure" and that Kathleen had warm and inviting eyes (suggesting that either Ant or Kathleen had split up a matched set of warm and inviting facial elements.)
The editors marry her imitations to shots of the judges looking exactly as Lizzy imitated them--proving that Lizzy is a very gifted physical mimic.
Which is good because Lizzy's stage voice is hard to listen to... It's extremely nasal and flat...and she modulates her voice with volume instead of pitch, it bludgeons you as you try to listen to her.
Lizzy explains that she's very broke and basically homeless, and that makes it hard for the guy who is stalking her. He imagines the guy stalking her calling her and saying "I know where you live" to which Lizzy replies "Great, I'll follow you."
My girlfriend is watching this with me at the time and asked me "Does EVERY female comedian do jokes about stalkers...or about problems with dating?"
REMEMBER THAT... It may come up on a test later on.
Lizzy continues to joke about her poverty--saying that "there's no difference between me and a heroin addict, except that I don't feel good."
It's a nice twist. I liked Lizzy's dark approach...and as long as I'm laughing, I don't mind an unusual voice. (see also, Bamford, Maria--who I love but my girlfriend can't listen to...) The judges agree...and Lizzy's coming back to the showcase.
We go back outside to the never ending line of wannabe's waiting in line. Our host, Bill, picks up a chick while he's out there--literally. Big E from Dallas, Texas is a little person...and she's funny. Bill describes her as the smallest comedian in line--Big E thinks that she's the smallest comedian ever...but that's not true. Tanya Lee Davis might be...but then again, I saw Doug Stanhope the other night...and I was surprised to realize that he'd probably fit in my shirt pocket. (Google 'em if you've never heard of 'em--although, if you've never heard of Doug Stanhope, you might want to buckle up...as that ride can get wonderfully bumpy.)
Next up is Stephen Glickman from down the road in San Diego. Lots of good comedy coming from San Diego. Stephen is wearing a black trench coat--proving that he's probably got an attitude...and indeed, he's big on attitude...and you can tell that the judges aren't immediately in the mood for someone blasting away on the stage. Remember--they started this at 10am...and your loud obnoxious friend usually isn't ever as funny as he is at 11pm at a Denny's or in a parking lot somewhere...
Stephen loves his mom, despite her having given him terrible advice...like don't take candy from strangers. Stephen says "Screw that. Take all the candy you want from strangers. Candy is delicious. What she should have said was 'don't have sex with strangers in their van.'"
That was a great example of the value of shock/surprise in comedy. The judges didn't want to laugh--but they didn't see the twist coming on that joke...and, the boys especially...and I'm including Ant in this one just for simplicity's sake...laughed out loud to that joke. A follow up joke in a similar construction about his dad wearing dresses earned Stephen enough of an appreciation for actually dragging out laughter from them to earn a spot in the showcase.
Both Ant and Alonzo can't stop talking about how much they like that crazy guy. It's momentum like that which just might help the next performer, who in this case is Dan McGowan from Denver Colorado. A big guy in a bowling shirt, Dan suggests that they get things going with some music...and here's an old song. Dan then bangs a stick against a rock and makes guttural noises.
It's a funny stunt--obviously, beating a stick on a rock WOULD be an old song... In this context however, Dan gets cut off early by Alonzo and consigned to the freak show bin. Ant and Kathleen want to hear more of the song. Perhaps they'll want to capture it and identify it using VCast technology...or didn't the folks at NBC think about every possible product placement the way that the Magical Elves seem to when doing Top Chef?
Alonzo explains his quick draw decision saying "A rock and a stick...and that was it. I knew you couldn't top that."
Next up is Iva La'Shawn from Springfield, Ohio. Iva's got crackheads in her family and Iva recalls a time where one of her crackhead relatives calls the house, wanting money for a piece of bologna. The set-up alone cracks up Kathleen Madigan--she CACKLES and puts her head down on the judges table. Ant and Alonzo wait for Iva to pay this premise off...which Iva does with a series of very funny act-outs... There's a comparison that could be made to Debra Wilson from MadTV with Iva--but the ludicrous nature of a crackhead needing bologna is enough to keep Iva away from a sketch comedy show for the moment, and send her on to the showcase in Last Comic Standing.
The line is still stretching all the way to where the lava flow that Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche protected most of us from started...so, we'd better see some more comedians.
Dante is next. Dante, who like Prince, Ichiro and Ant feels no need to have a second name, comes to us from San Diego. As I said before, a lot of good comedy coming from San Diego. Dante talks about being an actor in movies so bad that they come out on DVD while they're still filming them. That's all Ant and Alonzo need to declare Dante hilarious and move him on to the showcase.
We're then introduced to Chad Lehrman from Tuscon, Arizona. Well, Chad does the introduction... It seems like Chad forgot to do his act...because his introduction, where he describes his act and how edgy of a comedian he is, seems to keep going and going. When Chad pulls out a flyer from a previous show that says that he's edgy--that's when the judges stop him. This is a clear case of a comedian needing the time honored "Show, don't tell" advice.
Now, to Chad's credit--I can see what he might have been building up to...a bit of "meta" comedy...doing comedy about doing comedy. I see that in the alt-comedy scene all the time. But this wasn't the time to try that out...not in front of judges who have to sit through hours and hours of freak show montage material in between the pre-scheduled audition slots for the pros that actually have a chance of making the show. And it wasn't time to try to argue his point of view when Alonzo is pointing out the obviousness of the "you can't say that you're edgy, you have to be edgy" school of thought. And it CERTAINLY mock outrage at being shut down so quickly by telling the judges to get the hell out if they can't handle what Chad was bringing...
Kathleen, Alonzo and Ant oblige Chad by leaving the room... That's what I call showing and not telling.
...and with that, it's time for a commercial break!
(While some of you race to the restrooms, the rest of us will ponder the first of this week's “Joke of the Day.”
The set-up of the joke was “What do you give a pig with a sprained ankle?”
The punchline:Click to see Spoiler:Oinkment
My girlfriend got that one...
If you liked that one, here's one I just wrote:
What do you put on a sheep's boo-boo?
Click to see Spoiler:Baaaaaaaaactine
Now, tell me...which of those jokes was more worth a dollar? Am I right? Am I right?)
And we’re back…
We're Concrete Blonde ("Still in Hollywood")...and our first comedian is Alycia Cooper. Alycia is from Maryland--and it might be a good time for another dirty secret.
Dirty secret...sort of. Acutally, I just wanted to point out that there's no regional restrictions for where you choose to meet up with these auditions. In fact, there's some strategy involved...do you go to the bigger cities where there's more competition but also more invitations to be handed out...or, do you travel to a smaller city where you might be more memorable but there are fewer slots from which to move on from?
Remember that both Ralph Harris and Sabrina Matthews who advanced from San Antonio are based out of California...(and the other person to advance from San Antonio's auditions was originally from Wisconsin by way of St. Louis...so, NOBODY from Texas made it from the Texas-based auditions...which, I'd have to imagine if you're from Texas, has to irk you at least a little bit, right?)
Alycia seems to suffer from a condition we might call genericness.
She does a joke about airport security being tight. "I canceled my health insurance because they're giving Pap smears down at the airport." Alonzo laughs--but there's this feeling that airport security jokes have been soooooo done.
She then goes into material about how she's frustrated with trying to date...and the editor stays on a shot of the three judges, who had looked so hopeful after the Pap smear joke...and we watch their hope fade and their faces fall as Alycia goes into a joke about dating a homeless man...
Ant hides his face behind his papers...and then he stops her dead. He, of all people, wants something more original. Kathleen thinks that Alycia is great--but she's been standing up for almost every female performer who hasn't totally bellyflopped. Alycia wants to argue her point that she's got more material and I swear that she started bringing up that she'd been waiting an hour outside--which I flinched at, because you can't argue your way funny...and you can't sympathy your way into the showcase...
Ant says that she'd better bring something at the showcase or it'll be on Kathleen. (Which is an empty threat--there's no chance of Ant ever being on Kathleen, is there?)
Alycia, in a post audition interview, thinks that Ant's toupee is on a bit too tight.
Well...hell, girl...if you're going after the AntMat--you got MY vote to come back to the showcase, too! Rock on, Alycia Cooper...rock on! You're all right!
Peter Prins utters another phrase that is bound to clench buttock muscles in every real fan of comedy--"Do you guys like impressions?" Rarely, if ever, does anything funny and inspired follow those words. In Peter's case--and can I say that looking at Peter here, that Dr. Frank N Furter's creation has really let himself go?--his impression is that of an Irish alien--an extra-terrestrial that is of Irish origins. It's a pretty surreal concept...but one with precious little chance to pay off well. Peter puts something on his head and talks through a child's toy to give him a robotic voice and says "Take me to your leader...and give me a pint of Guinness."
Now, here is where I understand the frustration of the judges. This guy...waited however many hours...to get the chance...to do...THAT. ?!?!?!
Alonzo asked him "Did you really think that was going to work?"
Peter replied by saying "No."
And that, my friends, is why I advise my comedian friends--if you can't get a pre-arranged audition slot...if you aren't going to be one of the people that the judges are going to take seriously...what's the point of waiting in line for hours amidst the "I'll do anything just to get on tv" people that at least Joe Rogan had the karmicly heroic ability to make them eat bugs...you know?
Ant takes the opportunity to welcome us to a quick-edited Freak Show Montage. Mostly, we get weird noises, odd act-outs...I think I saw a comedienne I recognized--Perla from Portland, was that you talking about "the schlingy-slangy-ding dang?"...but the montage is mercifully (for everyone involved--the good comedians trapped in the montage and those of us who love comedy and don't want to see a fat guy throwing himself around an empty comedy club floor) short.
That brings us to Sean Rouse. I've met Sean. Sean is very funny--but he is definitely an acquired taste. If you saw Dave Attell's "Insomniac Tour" show--with Greg Giraldo and Dane Cook--you saw Sean (you also surely saw Tanya Lee Davis, mentioned earlier in this recap...but that's not important right now...and the remainder of this line can be filled in by any fan of the movie "Airplane!")
Sean isn't telling you that he's edgy (Chad!)--he simply is... His extremely deadpan style is married to a uncontrolled sensibility about what can be (and will be) talked about.
Dirty secret--Sean once held the record (unofficial record, I should say) for having "walked" the most people from headlining a weekend show at Seattle's Comedy Underground. He still holds the record for having "walked" as many people as he did...the fastest... Again--Sean's brand of comedy...not for everyone... Doesn't mean he's not funny--just means that YOU might not think he's funny.
Tonight, he goes into a very dry and long set-up regarding college basketball coach Bobby Knight. Not only is the punchline bleeped--but his mouth is digitally blurred. That's right...the joke is so dirty, NBC won't even let the deaf laugh at it.
Now...class... Pick up your pencils, we're going to have a pop quiz.
QUESTION: Can you advance in this show if you don't do clean material? Yes or no?
No looking at each other's answers. Krom...I'm looking at you. Eyes on your own work.
OK, pencils down.
Sean gets advanced to the showcase.
Guess we were all wrong.
Well, luckily, I grade on a curve.
(Specifically, Scarlett Johannson's curves, if you must know... HELL-O!!! Hey, I'll be here all season...try the veal, it's delicious...don't forget to tip your waitstaff, they're workin' hard for ya...)
Next up is Sarah Colonna... Sarah's got some tv credits--she's done a Comedy Central Premium Blend back in 2001, she's been involved with a couple of Shannen Doherty shows...
This audition, she has the misfortune of being another female comedian who does material about being frustrated with their dating...after the judges have all gotten tired of that particular approach to mining comedy...on this particular day of auditions.
What's odd about this...is that ANT is the one laughing at Sarah. Alonzo and Kathleen have their chins in their hands, looking bored (which must have made Sarah soooooo excited about continuing to do her act for them.) Ant, having been so demonstrably dismissive or, at the very least, disinterested, in many of the other female comedians...is digging Sarah's self-deprecating (or, some might say, self-flagellating) performance here.
Ant loves her, Kathleen is on the fence. Alonzo says "it's the dating thing again"--so Kathleen asks for a joke that's not about dating.
I have to imagine how weird that would be--to have prepared what you wanted to do for this opportunity...and then to be told "do something entirely different" and to know that it has to be good or else you're going to miss the chance to move on.
Sarah chooses to talk about having grown up in the South. Again--Ant is loving her...and Kathleen and Alonzo aren't impressed. Not to keep quoting a major music act like Seduction, but "it takes two to make it out of sight"--and Ant is only one vote. Alonzo votes no. Kathleen is hemming and hawing--until Ant points out that she took her direction and did a joke that wasn't about dating.
I can't say that I, personally, thought Sarah's joke about going home was terribly strong...but I give her the benefit of the doubt for the pressure of being put on the spot like that. Kathleen might have agreed--she'll at least vote yes to allow Sarah to come back for the showcase. Alonzo jokes that Kathleen rolls over easy...and I refuse to make the obvious joke about that.
Then, they interview Sarah after she'd barely scraped by the audition, and she talks about "the power to reach millions of people" being an amazing opportunity. When did she become Sally Struthers and what message is she putting out to these millions of people? The fact that you were barely funny enough to be given a chance to be funnier later?
Again--go with the traditional answer: "World Peace"--I'm sorry, I mean "making it to Last Comic Standing would be amazing and life changing" and leave "reaching millions of people" out of it...
...well, that's it for the Los Angeles Auditions...time to start the Showcase!!!
First up is...HEY!!! It's Bill Bellamy! He's...wow...look at that jacket he's wearing. Super shiny olive green...with golden yellow pocket accent. I'm not saying that's pimp attire, but if Katt Williams comes anywhere near you, Bill...y'all better duck behind somethin' fast.
Bill explains that 50 Cent is a hero to him. "50 Cent got shot nine times...and lived. I had a cousin, shot once...in the ankle and he died," Bill said. "I went to my cousin's funeral, went up to the casket and I was all 'You ain't huuard, you ain't HUUUARD."
(Dirty secret--I actually had to explain to my girlfriend that Bill was saying "hard" in a thuggish sort of way... On the other hand, she DID get the earlier Joke of the Day answer correct.)
Time for Bill to vanish again...and time for those chosen for the L.A. Showcase to shine...
We go backstage--there must be 100 comedians getting ready to go up...but because we've got less time here in LA than we did in New York, Montreal and San Antonio last week...we're not likely going to meet anyone who we haven't already met. Fine with me--makes it easier to recap...but shame that people did well in their auditions and made it to the showcase and can't even be mentioned in my recap (much less on national television) for their efforts.
Dante says that he's got a three and a half year old kid...and the grand prize of $250,000 would be college for her--he says that he needs it. His wardrobe--a too-tight t-shirt and jeans--and the fact that he didn't bother to shave for his big network television opportunity--says he needs it too.
Sarah, forgetting about her opportunity to reach millions of people for the moment, recognized that she didn't impress Alonzo during the audition--so, she's putting pressure on herself to impress him during her Showcase set. Here, Sarah, is your opportunity to reach ONE person...one person who controls your potential to reach millions of others. Good that she sees this going in...
LOS ANGELES SHOWCASE
Ant tells us about the Capital One Audience Favorite. Kathleen introduces the comics, starting with Stephen Glickman.
Stephen opens by confessing that he was molested as a child. Evidently, Stephen's material very focused on that particular issue--considering his jokes in the audition were on a similar theme. Stephen, however, corrects himself, stating that he was molested BY a child. Again--a shocking subject married with a neat twist. If you're going to do material like this, Stephen's showing how to do it and get laughs from it.
Next up is Dwayne Perkins.
Hold on a moment. I don't remember any Dwayne Perkins from the auditions...
(I do, however, remember Dwayne Perkins from being on "Faking It", from being on Conan O'Brien and from his own Comedy Central Presents special. Dwayne Perkins is really funny.)
He does a great bit about his friends know that he doesn't drink and say that they're cool with it...but they keep telling him that he's going to drink that night. He then switches the scenario around to if the same would be true if he were lactose intolerant. It's a funny bit and his voices and actions are perfect.
Unfortunately, the entire time he's doing the bit...I keep thinking to myself. "Hey, Dwayne...would you walk two steps to your left...up to the person in the front row of the audience who has propped her feet up on your stage...and will you punch her right in the face...for me? Would you do that?"
He doesn't. Shows you how little psychic clout I have in this industry. Dag.
Dwayne twists the scenario one more time. "Yo, I know you're diabetic and all that...but tonight...SUGARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"
No doubt, Dwayne's funny.
Lizzy Cooperman is up next. I can tell because my glasses are pressed right up against my eyeballs from her first word.
"They say the jobs you have in your twenties prepare you for your future" Lizzy explains. "I'm a dishwasher in a bar. That means I'm preparing myself to be a really good housewife for an alcoholic."
Backstage, we see Thea Vidale. You know, I'd been wondering when we'd see a large, sassy African-American woman... You know, this year's Roz...this year's Tess...this year's Ant...
Thea Vidale, however, is no joke. She's been around forever--her 8x10 is on the wall in every comedy club I've ever worked. She had her own sitcom--called "Thea!" SHE WAS A WWE STAR, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! (She played Mama Benjamin--Shelton Benjamin's mother, back in February and March of 2006.)
She is serious as a heart attack about her showcase set...she's not playing around, she's not joking with the other contestants...she's got her game on.
"I have children," Thea announces to the crowd. "I don't like 'em. Obviously, as a parent, people think you like kids--I...DON'T...LIKE...THEM."
We don't get to see much of Thea's act--which might be a good sign for Thea, if you follow the theory that "the people that advance aren't shown doing their A-stuff"
You know, at many comedy clubs...they add a comedian's name to various menu items. We're about to go to a commercial break, so I'm going to look over the menu and order something that sounds really tasty... Hmmmmm...should I go with the Tammy Pescatelli Meatballs or the Ralphie May Salad? Well, I'll think it over the break and decide. We'll be right back!
John McClane has done a lot of amazing things in his life. He jumped off the Nakatomi Tower...and lived. He ejected himself out of an exploding airplane...and lived. He survived the breach of a damn and launched himself thirty feet in the air on a plume of water that shot him up like a ball from a cannon...and lived.
But I'm watching the ads for "Live Free or Die Hard" and I can't quite shake the sense that it isn't going to be as realistic as the first three films.
I've placed my order--I decided against going with the Dat Phan Family Surprise or the Michael Richards "Stick-a-fork-in-it (it's that thick)" Bundt cake... I'm sure my order will be up soon--but we've got a show to recap here, right?
Backstage, Sean Rouse is checking his set list...Alycia Cooper is nervously going over her act...Jon Reep talks about how he hopes that when the time comes, he can pull something out of his butt.
What...like a HEMI?!??!
THAT'S WHERE I'VE SEEN HIM BEFORE... He's the "Hemi" guy from the Dodge truck ads!
Dude...enough with this Blue Collar Comedy style stuff--just go on stage...yell "Has it got a Hemi in it?" and you're gold, baby! Solid Gold! America LOVES anyone they recognize from commercials...ask Rebecca Gayheart or Ali Landry! Ask Jim Gaffigan! Ask the Geico Cavemen (who are getting their own sitcoms next season--I'm not kidding.)
Jon, perhaps sensing my psychic suggestion, begins his showcase by saying "I know what you're all thinking...and the answer to your question is...'yes'--I work out all the time."
Again, I've got NO psychic clout here at all, do I?
Jon flexes one of his ::cough:: guns and lets a man in the front row touch it--if only for a second. He calls his bicep "100% All-American pale beef patty right there." He does the crab pose and declares that to be "special sauce." He turns and wiggles his butt at the audience and calls it "sesame seed buns."
We're not talking the height of intellectual discourse, people...but I bet fans of Larry the Cable Guy are eating it up with a spork right about now.
"Do you like bagels?" Jon asks the audience. Jon lifts up his shirt and forms a circle with his hands around his belly button--and damn if it doesn't look like a bagel.
Waitress? Cancel my order of the Jon Reep Bagel, ok? Just bring me something I can actually stomach, ok?
We cut from Jon's bagel to Alycia Cooper, trying to tell a Dick Cheney joke. It's a perfectly serviceable joke...but it remains totally contaminated by genericness--which was the concern about Alycia from the auditions. She was supposed to "bring it" for the showcase, if you remember (and if you don't remember...scroll up and re-read it...because it's there) and I'm not certain it's getting "brung."
"Dick Cheney peppered him with pellets" Alycia imagines the news report about the Vice-President's quail hunting accident going. She then imagines the same scenario if it had been Jesse Jackson having shot Rev. Al Sharpton instead of Dick Cheney and his lawyer buddy. "Jesse straight emptied the clip on Al. Damn near shot his perm off."
It got a laugh from Alonzo...but would it be enough to help her move on to the next round?
Dante is up next. He has a friend who is in denial about his size. His friend had come over to his house, sat in a chair--the chair breaks. Dante's friend yells, as the chair is breaking underneath him, "It was a loose screewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!"
Dante is so seamless in how he goes from describing a premise to vocalizing the characters in the scenario... He seems very natural and unselfconscious on stage.
"My friend is all 'I'm big boned.'" Dante continues, getting frustrated at his friends lack of self-awareness. "I've never seen a fat skeleton! Ever walk into science class and go HOLY MOLEY, THAT'S A BIG SKELETON."
Speaking of skeletons, you don't want to see what Sean Rouse's hands look like. He's got rheumatoid arthritis and his fingers are bent in unnatural ways. No wonder he's as darkly mooded as he is...and I don't even know if "mooded" is a word. (It didn't come up as wrong in my original spell check, but maybe SpellCheck was just as confused as I am?)
Sean points out how great his doctor was, when his doctor told him "Son, remember, it's all about attitude. You're not dying of this disease...you're living with this disease... Until it kills you. They you will be dead from this disease."
That made me laugh...but I could understand if it didn't make you laugh.
I'd be concerned enough about Sean's condition to demand that they let him advance in this competition as his Make-A-Wish, but somebody used that trick LAST season, didn't they? If Sean advances, it's all on him and his ability to generate laughter from uncomfortable places.
Speaking of uncomfortable places, Sarah Colonna is up next...and she's got some pressure on her...because a lot of politicking from Ant went in to our seeing her at all in this showcase...and neither Kathleen nor Alonzo are all that enthused about her having made it to this point. It doesn't start promisingly as she makes a rookie mistake in not clearing the mic stand away before she begins her performance...and she has to take a moment to move it out of the directly line between the camera and her face.
I'll give Sarah this...she didn't throw away her good dating material just because she had to do "something other than that" just to get a weak pass from Kathleen to make it to the Showcase. She felt it was her strongest stuff going into the auditions...and for the showcase, she was doing her strongest stuff.
Sarah describes her friends asking her if she kissed the guy she went on a first date with. "Yeah," Sarah admitted, "A couple of times...while we were having sex. Would have been kind of rude not to, don't you think?" It's a solid joke--a good twist of expectations. Ant, still Sarah's biggest champion, is laughing to beat the band. They show Kathleen clapping and smiling--but I can't tell if that's a genuine smile or a "I'm on camera and I don't want to seem rude to another female comedian who I might work with in the future" kind of a smile.
We get one more look at Thea backstage--and in a post-performance interview. I know that she doesn't like kids...I'm worried that she doesn't like anyone...or anything. I'm going to stay away from Thea...and it makes me sad that the talk is that this year won't involve the comics sharing a living quarters...because you KNOW that kind of energy is what compelling reality tv shows have been built around. Holla.
Time to break some hearts and crush some dreams...and hand out a few red envelopes...
LOS ANGELES RESULTS
There are an amazing amount of people on stage for as few people as we've seen on this show. I see brilliantly deadpan comedienne Tig Notaro on stage, not being name checked or featured... I think I see Craig "The Lovemaster" Shoemaker in the background.
Dirty secret--Craig was in a film called "Totally Baked--A Pot-U-Mentary" that also starred Alonzo Bodden. It's moments like these that, in the past, would have lead to charges of how the show is rigged and that only friends of the producers or the judges or the janitors are getting in the house. Perhaps the Magical Elves have finally pulled that rug out from underneath this show once and for all...and all of the Last Comic Standing dishes are still on the table?
Bottom line...we're not going to see as many of those whose hearts are about to break...or get the chance to wonder why their hearts were broken while others dreams remain uncrushed. We've got our eyes on only a handful of hopefuls, and let's see how they do...
Alonzo announces the names of those who move on from the Los Angeles auditions to the second round (which are in Hollywood...which is not as much of an exciting trip than it was for those in New York, Montreal or even San Antonio. That's like a bus ride...granted, it's a three hour bus ride...but still...)
The first name called...Thea Vidale.
No real surprise there...but still, Thea reacts like her moving on is shocking... She's excited, she's jumping up and down.
The real surprise...the shock, really...is that her bra can handle the turbulence of her jumping up and down. Thea even had to calm her girls down for fear that they were about to make their own national television debut...
The second name called...Sean Rouse.
It's an edgy pick. I'm happy for Sean. I'm hoping that America gets a chance to hear enough of his jokes, beyond what'll need to be bleeped, to find him as funny as I do.
Third name called...Dwayne Perkins.
Fourth name called...Sarah Colonna.
Wait...what? In the name of Mel Silverback, what's going on there?
Have you noticed a pattern--that in almost every city, a pleasant looking but under-experienced female comedian does passably well and still advances to the next round?
I'm not criticizing Sarah--I've already pointed out that she's done Premium Blend, she's got credits and experience...and I'm not criticizing Amy Schumer or Andi Smith...(and the fact that DeAnne Smith didn't make it from Canada seems to contradict my point...but then again, doesn't Jane Condon's advancing come right back and make my point all the more?) There's just this feeling that I'm getting that this is a producer's pick--to make certain that there's variety in casting? Or is it a writer/storyline coordinator's pick--to make certain that there are compelling storylines to share? Or is it Kathleen's pick--to make certain that the show isn't dominated by energetic young men the way that comedy shows can sometimes skew?
I have no dirty little secret to share here--simply the gut reaction of a longtime viewer and your humble recapper.
Time for the audience pick...and Ant gets to read that...which I remember him doing last week...which makes me wonder if he's specifically assigned to this task--suggesting that there's a connection between Capitol One and Ant. "What's in YOUR wallet?"--Why, it's Ant...of course!
Well, at least what purports to be his hair, anyway...
The winner of the Capitol One Audience Choice is...THE HEMI GUY--I knew it, I knew that--what? He didn't win the Audience Choice Award?
Dante??? Dante won the Audience Choice award. Hmmmm...ok. I can see that.
Alonzo takes the mic back and announces that this next name will be the last person to advance from this showcase (unless there were others that were invited at the show and not broadcast--but we'll have to find out about those things later, won't we?)--and the sixth and final person to move on is...Jon Reep
SEE...I told you that the Hemi Guy would move on! He just wasn't the audience's choice...
Well, what do Los Angeles audiences know about reeihivuhrs and calkin' guns anyway?
Everybody who won is happy, everybody who lost is trying to put on a brave face and vowing (like Alycia Cooper) to come back stronger next year.
Jon Reep is on his cell phone "I'm looking forward to some good...makeout...sex..." he says, before explaining "Yeah, that was my brother."
Next, we're off to Sydney Australia...and if what Bill Bellamy is showing us is half-way accurate, it's going to be non-stop Freak Show Montage from Barbie to Wallaby.
HEY...look at this...the waitress just brought around the Mike Birbiglia Quesadilla that I'd ordered... Yummy. Let's go ahead and take a commercial break then, huh? See you back here in just a moment.
(While some of you ponder the marketing genius who would name a Quesadilla after diminuitive Italian-American comedian Mike Birbiglia, the rest of us will ponder the second of NBC's “Joke of the Day"--and specifically why it's called "Joke of the Day" when every week they give us three of them on one day. OH MY GOD, IT'S ANOTHER STORY PROBLEM!!!
The set-up of this second joke was “Why did the cowboy buy a dachshund?”
The punchline:Click to see Spoiler:He wanted to get a long little doggy.
My girlfriend got that one, too... Well, she DID go to college AND law school...so, she's smart.)
By the way, the Mike Birbiglia Quesadilla--that was a real menu item from a comedy club that Mike and I once worked. He liked the idea so much that he asked his fans to demand that Applebee's add it to THEIR menu. That plan...didn't go so well. Even the comedy club has since renamed their quesadilla. We don't go back there anymore...
And I can't tell... "The Singing Bee"--fun summer entertainment good for a few laughs...or another sign of the decline of our civilization? It's a puzzler, I tell you.
And let's go ahead and jump to the next reply as the pg13 Recap of Episode Two of Season Five of Last Comic Standing continues...