No Ant? That's fantastic! Maybe I'll watch the show this year.
No Ant? That's fantastic! Maybe I'll watch the show this year.
It'll need more than no Ant to win me back. Start with funny people and a feeling that it isn't rigged and we'll talk.
The thing that bugs me about this show is how people are voted off. I wish the viewers were the ones voting instead of the people at the comedy clubs. Seems like the funny ones always go first leaving the duds to win it except in the case of John Heffron who was my favorite and actually won.
there was an article in the Minneapolis paper last weekend pretty much indicating that the casting is rigged again this year, despite having "guest judges" in all of the audition cities. There were auditions in Minneapolis and the judges were reportedly "not in agreement" with the selections that came out of that round. Bummer. Less stunt casting, more funny people.
here's the article: Comedy show is no laughing matter
Comedy show is no laughing matter
By NEAL JUSTIN, Star Tribune
May 16, 2008
Comedy is serious business -- especially when it's destined for network television. Attending the Minneapolis auditions this past winter for "Last Comic Standing," which kicks off its sixth season Thursday, offered an opportunity to see some of the best stand-ups in the Midwest, but it also provided further proof that "reality TV" usually turns out to be a bogus label.
During the night's performance, which spotlighted the 18 "best of the best," the audience was bullied into clapping until their hands hurt whenever prompted, a common practice at the taping of almost any TV show, although in this case the crowd had paid to be in attendance. Most studio audiences provide wild, artificial enthusiasm in exchange for getting to watch the stars for free.
The front two rows were filled with gorgeous women and it was apparent that professional models had been brought in to goose up sex appeal, a trait most Minnesotans abandon in subzero temperatures for bulky, sensible clothing.
When host Bill Bellamy flubbed the name of one contestant, taping stopped and Bellamy told everyone to endure another take. "It'll be beautiful on TV," he promised. When one of the three winners was announced, the comic accidentally walked off the wrong end of the stage, forcing another do-over, in which he mimicked his "look of surprise."
But these can be chalked up as misdemeanors compared with the most glaring crime: The judges don't have the final word.
The big twist this season is that different celebrities are playing "talent scouts" in each audition city (New York and Tempe, Ariz., are featured in Thursday's 90-minute premiere; the date of the Minneapolis session is not yet known). It's a neat idea to have established stars like George Wendt and Richard Belzer selecting the 32 comics who would be competing in Las Vegas for a chance to be among the dozen finalists. But it doesn't quite work that way.
Following the Minneapolis auditions, judges Brian Baumgartner and Kate Flannery, stars of "The Office," went behind closed doors, presumably to come to a consensus.
When they returned after more than a half-hour of deliberation, I was stunned by their choices. So was Acme comedy club owner Louis Lee, who has some of the sharpest ears in the business.
Turns out they weren't working alone. The two admitted afterward that producers played a significant role in making the final call and that they were frustrated that some of their favorites were passed over.
It's not that NBC fibs about additional input. Each episode clearly points out that producers may have a say -- but this tidbit is buried in the credits and only the most astute viewer will find it.
I have nothing against a veteran TV producer playing judge. But why not have that person or people front and center instead of hiding behind some curtain?
It's been a tough few months for those who want to believe everything they see. We know now that Bear Grylls, host of "Man vs. Wild," sometimes takes up cozy quarters when we're led to believe he's sleeping in snake-infested jungles. We know that the "American Idol" judges sit in on rehearsals to better prepare their "impromptu" comments. We know that "The Hills" is as choreographed as pro wrestling.
Maybe I'm nitpicking. These tweaks are nothing compared with the quiz-show scandals of the 1950s. But I do think it's time to reserve the title of "reality" for only the purest of documentary shows. The rest belong in a new category: Tainted TV.
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© 2008 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
I looking forward to seeing this one comic named Iliza Shlesinger who has a bunch of videos on Youtube and this great character named Candy.
There's nothing new in that article and it really isn't any different than any other reality tv show. The show IS cast by producers and the celebrity talent scouts (this year, all of them have some connection to NBC shows, past or present) aren't the sole arbiters of who goes on and who doesn't. I can't imagine anyone being terribly surprised by this, especially not people who are fans of reality tv.Quote:
Originally Posted by LG.;3007640;
Let me tell you the process that we went through at the San Francisco auditions this year.
I agreed to audition for this show, knowing what I know about it and feeling how I feel about it, for ONE REASON ONLY. I was offered a "guaranteed audition slot". There's no reason for anyone who doesn't simply want to "act/look foolish and get on tv for a couple of seconds" to stand in the open call line--you're not there to be seen, you're there to be part of the Freak Parade montage that starts every audition show.
Even being offered a "guaranteed audition slot" wasn't enough to make me automatically say yes--I had to think about it. I took the slot knowing that it wasn't going to be a real opportunity--but, I wanted to continue to be on the list of comedians who get to be on lists like this... I want to be considered for these opportunities, now and in the future, and if you decline...you might get left off the list for something else, next time.
AND, I know that this industry is cannibalistic. The same producers and production assistants that work on this show will someday be working or coordinating other shows--and even if you're not right for THIS project, it's good to have your name considered and your face seen so that it sticks in the back of people's heads for next time.
That's how I convinced myself that it was a good idea for me to say "yes".
The plan was, those of us with guaranteed audition slots would show up...skip the line...be seen by the celebrity talent scouts doing up to 2 minutes of comedy (and, we'd seen that it could easily be far less than 2 minutes if a celebrity talent scout comes up with a witty putdown)...and perhaps move on to the night show. My audition time was 4:40pm. I felt it was a little late in the day--you know that the scouts get bored with seeing comedy after the first couple of hours--but I had friends who had audition times of 6pm...so, it could be worse.
And then it got worse--because after we'd all made our arrangements to get to San Francisco, we got word that they were adding another "level" of auditions...a pre-audition in front of two producers...and only the people who would make it through that level would get to be seen by the celebrity talent scouts later in the day. And my new audition time was 9:30am.
My non-refundable airplane ticket didn't get me into San Francisco until 1pm, of course.
So, despite knowing that I had no shot of making this show...a show that I didn't know if I really even wanted to get on...I'd already spent $1600 on plane/hotel fees. (And $1600 for a working comedian is a TON of money...)
Now, before I complain about this unexpected layer of auditions, let me tell you that it was worse for the people who came to just stand in line and hope to be seen. They had production assistants walking the line, asking them if any of them had "crazy costumes" to go home and come back wearing...which isn't all that weird since they'd put ads in the local papers weeks before the audition asking for the crazy and the wacky to come and pack the audition line. And then, suitably wacky and crazily costumed performers would be pulled out of the line in groups of six. A production assistant would point at each of them and say "give me your best joke" and that production assistant would give them a "yay" or a "nay". That's right, while I could hope to do two minutes...they were being judged on one joke, chosen on the spot...with no preparation for that being the way this would work.
And, we who had guaranteed auditions could convince ourselves that what we wanted to do was to do our best material--WHO KNOWS what those production assistants were looking for...because, remember, these audition shows generate their "humor" by serving up crazy wacky losers for the celebrity talent scouts to shoot down...
And even if they got a "yay"--that just got them to where I was...
Of course, I got there first...because my audition time was among the first of the day. We filled out forms, we were given numbers, we were put in line...and shoved, in order, onto a cold stage in an empty comedy club...in front of two producers... I was 6th.
I did my full two minutes. I got to do every joke that I'd gone in wanting to do (although, to this moment I question my choices in what I decided to do--having gotten all caught up in the "I could actually make this LCS thing happen" dream instead of "make an impression so that you're considered for other shows futher down the road" which would have been the smarter play) and I wasn't cut off.
At the end of it, one of the producers smiled, held up her hand and said "Very nice... Thank you, but we're going to say 'no' this year."
And that was it. It might have been 9:35am...and my Last Comic Standing dream was over. (I'm no Buck Star, people.)
Almost all of my friends were joining me in the loser's line, waiting for our moment in the "I know I'm funnier than" booth...YES, they did these interviews AFTER our auditions--so, when I saw how it was being portrayed on the videos currently up on NBC.com where people did the booth BEFORE their audition in New York, I was surprised. Either that's pure subterfuge or it is one of any number of things that they started doing differently from the beginning of this year's process... A number of my friends got cut off rather quickly, so I felt there was a minor victory in getting my entire planned set out.
Two of the people who auditioned before I did (#1 and #4) were said "yes" to in their morning audition...which meant they had to come back in the afternoon...and do the same thing, two minutes--I don't think they said whether or not to do the same two minutes or not--but this time in front of the celebrity talent scouts...who didn't arrive on set until deep into the afternoon...and then, it so happened that those two people were among the few of the people who were passed on to the night show...where they would do four minutes of time in front of a packed comedy club audience and then hope that they'd be selected by the producers to move on to the semi-finals show...
...BUT, even if you get picked that night to move on to the semi-finals show...that didn't mean that you DID...actually...move on... It turns out that even after getting a red envelope at the night show at an audition site, you could still not be invited to the semi-finals show... Perhaps the producers had over-selected one "type" and they simply made one last cull before the semi-finals occurred. (Look for these people to be nearly completely edited out of the show--you don't want to have to explain why the people who did well and were selected were simply dropped from consideration in a way that has nothing to do with the comedy competition they're supposedly running.)
It will be interesting to see how this gets edited together...and now that I've gone through it myself and I've got friends who have made it to various levels of the competition, I can compare notes...
But honestly, the comedians aren't being fooled by the thought that "Hey, as long as I can make French Stewart like me, I'll make the show!" We know that it is about the producers and we know that they're looking for specific things--things that may or may not have anything to do with our actual "comedy". (If it was about the comedy, people wouldn't be selected with a two minute audition in an empty comedy club. This is simply a reality tv show--and they cast for the same things that any reality tv show casts for...comedy is simply the Macguffin.)
So, feel free to watch this show...root for the people you think are nice, growl about the people who seem to be jerks...enjoy what the editors come up with as far as storylines and humorous moments--especially this year, that they've got a house to play in again...and don't worry about whether or not it actually means anything when they say that they're looking for the funniest person.
I agree with you 100% Adult Beverage. My only condition to watching this year is if the COMEDIANS are funny!!! It was so dreary last yearQuote:
Originally Posted by Adult Beverage;3002571;
Well, it seems that no one watched the show--as there was no thread started for...or posted in...for tonight's debut episode.
I saw lots of people I knew... ;)
I watched and came here to find a thread also. I love the audition shows because I make note of names to watch for in my local comedy club. There is really no other way to know the who is who of comics.
pg13, please keep us informed about any and everything you know. I rely on your posts to keep abreast of my favorite form of entertainment. :)
pg13! I just checked out your homepage and you made the first cut! Cool.