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Thread: 8/8 (Finale) Show Discussion

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    FORT Fanatic CAdreamin's Avatar
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    Re: 8/8 (Finale) Show Discussion

    I thought Joel McHale and Triumph the dog were funny. That's about it though...with the low point being Jon Reep (no surprise there).

    Still in shock that Iliza pulled this off. I might need to eat some of your crow soup pg.

    I felt sad for Jeff...he seemed crushed. I'd love to see his career really take off and like you said pg in the other thread, maybe do some film work. He's good looking, charming and funny...perfect for the big screen.

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    pop culture whore pg13's Avatar
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    Re: 8/8 (Finale) Show Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferTVchick;3159792;
    As someone who has had to deliver 16 4-6 minute entertaining sets each day, 5 days a week--every week for 15 years in morning radio-- I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who have been developing their craft for years and have little material to show for it.
    Hey Jennifer,

    I'm an ex-radio person myself (afternoon drive)...and let me just say that there is a substantial difference between the writing and performance that is done for broadcast arts (radio and television) and what is required for the stage.

    As just one of many examples of the substantial difference...compare the risk of failure between the two. If you're on the radio, how do you know whether or not what you've said was actually funny to those listening? You don't. You develop a sense for it...and sometimes you get some feedback...and if you're working as part of a team, you can gauge whether or not THEY found it funny--but they're not really your audience. And, even if what you said WASN'T funny...nothing happens...you go on with what you're doing.

    You say something that isn't funny on a comedy stage--you know immediately. Your credibility is damaged. You'll find it harder to get laughs for what you do next...and you might never recover.

    Again--that's just one example...

    And I KNOW that it's easy for performers to look at stand-up comedy and assume that it's easier than it actually is... I can't tell you how many open mics I've been to where a radio personality comes down and absolutely eats it on stage with material that kills on the air...or improv actors who are very funny in their own millieu who can't buy a laugh when trying to manage it with material in front of a stand-up comedy audience...

    In my comedy scene, I've developed a reputation as a prolific writer...and maybe part of that is because of the time I spent in radio, in that I can turn current events into workable material very quickly. However, if I'm being quite honest, I've got to admit that once I started doing longer sets--30 minutes as a feature...and now 75-80 minutes as a long-run headliner (many headliners only do 45 minutes)--my material tends to remain the same... It's the material that is well crafted, battle tested and as guaranteed as any stand-up comedy material can be guaranteed.

    I'm also going to give props to my radio peeps... Radio performers understand time in a way that would be beneficial in a television show like Last Comic Standing...compared to the way that stand-up comedians understand time.

    I went into this a bit when discussing how LCS auditioners would cannibalize their material in order to present a punch-packed audition set...only to feel the pain of those bites when they would have to keep coming up with showcase length sets as they moved on in the competition.

    When a stand-up comedian comes up with an idea...the process is to flesh it out with all of their half-baked ideas on the matter...and then, by working it...possibly on the road, possibly at open mics, possibly by just pouring over their notebooks...they whittle that material down to a rock solid core. AND THEN, for THIS show, they took pieces of that rock solid core and added it to the rock solid core pieces of OTHER bits and ideas...

    That's not an easy process to replicate while in the house. They're isolated from many of the things that they might derive ideas from...they're kept from the places where they might develop and refine those ideas...and (here's the props to the radio/tv peeps) they're not used to quickly turning a half-baked idea into a time constrained performable bit.

    ...granted, radio people tend to do material once...and it evaporates into the ether... Stand-ups who aren't on television or radio regularly tend to do material repeatedly--to own that material and have it define them...

    It's different. That's all I'm saying.

    pg--I've got sympathy, yes I do...I've got sympathy, how about YOU???--seattle

  3. #13
    In your closet JenniferTVchick's Avatar
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    Re: 8/8 (Finale) Show Discussion

    I know what you're saying, I really do. Hell, I worked with a comedian daily for several years and saw him live often--I think being on the air helped him live because he was constantly working out new material. That's not to say he didn't recycle anything, he just wanted to be known more as a funny person than the guy who does "that one routine...." I respect that. They are definitely different mediums, but one thing that remains is the risk of credibility. In radio, as you know, the results are not immediate, but when those ratings come in, you'd best be at the top of your demo. I mean no disrespect to comedians as I DO understand the different nature of our paths. I personally am not comfortable in the stand up arena, and I do appreciate the ability to have a break fall flat without an immediate consequence. My point is that for the sheer volume of material I need to develop, my batting average better be damn good to continue in this path (and I don't mean to break my arm patting myself on the back, but it is). And from a material perspective, to see a comedian struggle for 11 good 3-4 minute sets after 5+ years of practice says maybe it's time to find a different calling. So that'd be no...no sympathy here.

    Jen ~ I'm just sayin'......

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    pop culture whore pg13's Avatar
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    Re: 8/8 (Finale) Show Discussion

    I know what you're saying, Jen...and I could nitpick a few things in your last post, but in general I think we both know where we're coming from...

    I do want to take a moment about this, though...

    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferTVchick;3160216;
    to see a comedian struggle for 11 good 3-4 minute sets after 5+ years of practice says maybe it's time to find a different calling. So that'd be no...no sympathy here.
    Should some people currently attempting to be comedians give up and find something else to do? Ohhhh, if you only knew, Jen...

    But, to reiterate, the key to your concern lies in the fact that stand-up comedians don't create their material in small, bite sized chunks...even though they should, as bite sized chunks are what tv and radio are looking for...

    A couple of years ago, Cory Kahaney told me that rather than worrying about building up a feature or headline length set, I should concentrate on getting my "bulletproof 7"--7 minutes that I could perform at any time, in front of any audience, and kill from beginning to end.

    Most comics don't have that...most comics have to work to get that. And the difference between that and the idea that comedians should 11 3-4 minute sets is the difference between your expectations and reality.

    ...and trust me, it's a expectation/reality gap that is shared by most people unfamiliar with the workings of stand-up comedy who watch Last Comic Standing.

    Performers like Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, etc...each come out every night and deliver fresh new material--but that's material written by a staff for them, for the purposes of a one-shot use on a television show and then discarded. That's the expectation that television watchers have for comedians.

    But comedians play for an audience, often, no more than once every six months. It's inefficient and silly to write new material for every performance. The magic of stand-up is in making something that you've said a thousand times before seem like it just came to you in that moment--the stand-ups that are truly gifted are the ones who do that...

    While most good comedians are always working on new material and trying to polish it into shape...it is not unusual for a successful comedian (especially one who doesn't appear on tv very often, where material tends to get burnt immediately) not to be terribly prolific as a writer.

    Watching the movie "Jerry Seinfeld--Comedian" makes the process very clear...it takes months of constant work to generate minutes of strong material...and years to generate an act. And you can ride that act a long time...

    That's the reality of stand-up.

    pg--beyond that, we're just going to end up playing ping-pong, aren't we?--seattle

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    In your closet JenniferTVchick's Avatar
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    Re: 8/8 (Finale) Show Discussion

    Table tennis--the sport of champions!!! Here's a radio example of adaptability: work classic rock and you can stretch one bit for 15-20 min....if you have the material to do it. Switch to CHR and you have to bring the same funny in no more than 4 min. My concern is not the overall length or chunks of material; I think you misunderstood. My concern is that if there is not enough material to edit down into individual chunks, then somebody needs to develop more material. If a friend of mine wanted to build houses, and after 5 years was only able to build one solid house.....yes, I would tell him he should probably find something else to do. Someone wanting to be journalist does not necessarily give them the talent or ability to do that. Drive is very important in this life, but so are the tools to realistically chase down a given pursuit. Here's the thing, I get that you want people to understand the process: my life would be infinitely easier if everyone understood the process of putting together a solid morning show. At the end of the day, anyone who entertains people for a living is open to the criticism of those they entertain to tell them how to better do their job. And since it IS their entertainment, they have that right.

    That's the reality of pursuing a viable career.

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    pop culture whore pg13's Avatar
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    ping-pong diplomacy and Gump's tocks

    I know what love is, Jenn-ay...

    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferTVchick;3160324;
    Here's a radio example of adaptability: work classic rock and you can stretch one bit for 15-20 min....if you have the material to do it. Switch to CHR and you have to bring the same funny in no more than 4 min.
    ...and then a consultant comes in and tells you to tighten up, dump the bits and just concentrate on getting the imagining liners between a hotter rotation of the recurrent gold...

    I'm going to end up having nightmares about tert tones and missed avails tonight...haven't had those in years!


    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferTVchick;3160324;
    My concern is not the overall length or chunks of material; I think you misunderstood. My concern is that if there is not enough material to edit down into individual chunks, then somebody needs to develop more material. If a friend of mine wanted to build houses, and after 5 years was only able to build one solid house.....yes, I would tell him he should probably find something else to do.
    I didn't misunderstand--but I also didn't give as complete of an answer as I normally do... (That'll teach me never to edit myself in the future.)

    For the most part, the performers who are chosen for Last Comic Standing tend to be either features or headliners. (...but not all of them...) A feature is defined as having a roadworthy and solid 30 minute act. That doesn't mean that they only have 30 minutes if they did all of the material that they have...but that taking the best of all of their material, they have a solid 30 act that they can do anywhere for anyone...and, it's not always the same 30 minutes, either... For headliners, it extends to 45 minutes or more...and again, that 45 minutes to an hour (or more) is whittled down and polished from the full breadth of their material.

    Also, I have to point out here that comedians learn how to do crowd work--ad libs (sometimes planned) that are generated by interacting with an audience--that they can derive a substantial amount of their material on a given night--it is a skill that some comedians get so good at that they often ditch their act for the crowd work. (Rich Vos is known for being funnier with his crowd work than his prepared material.) Unfortunately, you really can't do crowd work in a competition.

    So, back to the amount of material thing...it isn't just a matter of chopping that 45 minute set into 11 four minute chunks. The material isn't set up to do that. You need a very specific kind of joke as an opener...you need a very specific kind of joke as a closer. Some of your material may include call backs which disappear when you chop your set up into chunks. Some of your material simply builds on what you've established in the earlier parts of your act--which won't be there if you chop it up into chunks.

    Again, I understand that you think, based on your experience doing what you do, that the people who do what I do should be able to do what you want them to do on this show better and you think it would be easier to do than it seems...but all I can do is assure you that it isn't that easy, because it's not what they do...

    It's like asking a seafood chef to go fishing--you'd think it would be easy for the seafood chef to be a good fisherman because they work with fish all the time...but the actual work that chef does with fish has little to do with the ability to catch those same fish.

    And that's why I don't think your home building analogy doesn't hold up. It's not that stand-up comedians only build one house in five years. The job of the stand-up comedian is to take the materials that they have from town to town to build and rebuild a house that perfectly meets the expectations of hundreds of people interested in homes... The house, as it is built each time, is similar to the previous times that it's been built--but it's also unique and tailored to the people checking out that house at that time...

    ...and your expectations for a stand-up would then be similar to someone asking that traveling temporary home builder, "Why can't you just take a few chunks of that roofing material that you have and make it look like a proper house?"

    I'm just telling you--sometimes, it's just going to end up being useful only as roofting material...

    pg--Paraphrasing Mitch Hedberg, "I'm a stand-up comedian and it seems like people want to work with me, but they want me to do things that are somewhat related to stand-up comedy...but it isn't stand-up comedy. Like, they want me to act...or they want me to write. It'd be like going up to a cook and saying, 'Oh, cool...you're a cook. Can you farm?'"


    Quote Originally Posted by JenniferTVchick;3160324;
    Here's the thing, I get that you want people to understand the process: my life would be infinitely easier if everyone understood the process of putting together a solid morning show. At the end of the day, anyone who entertains people for a living is open to the criticism of those they entertain to tell them how to better do their job. And since it IS their entertainment, they have that right.
    Well, now we come to the rub that has always been part of the Last Comic Standing equation ever since Jay Mohr's original vision of the show (simply showing how much fun comics have when they're with each other but not on stage) got twisted by the networks into a competitive/elimination based reality tv show...

    If you saw these stand-up comedians in a comedy club, doing what it is that they do the way that they do it...you wouldn't be finding yourself in position to criticize them or tell them how to better do their job as easily as you feel you can in telling them how they should better do something that they've never done before and really isn't what they do.

    ...as none of us really generates material the way that this show expects stand-up comedians to...

    It is an unreal and unrepresentative process.

    (As are most competitive reality tv shows...which is something that I try to remember while watching someone fumble while trying to make a dress out of plants on Project Runway...or bake a cake from memory while not being a pastry chef on Top Chef... It doesn't mean that they're not good at what they do, it only means that they're not good at doing what the producers of this show are making them attempt to do.)

    I could imagine a competitive reality tv show for radio air personalities that would push your abilities to adapt to any number of bizarre somewhat-related-to-broadcasting challenges...that would never, in fact, actually allow you to do the things that you actually do...

    And yes, as a fan of reality tv, I could certainly be able to criticize you for not being able to do these things that you don't ever do. But I'd like to think that I'd be aware enough to understand that what I'm watching is reality tv...but not an actual sample of your reality.

    And that's all I'm trying to express here. Trust me, I'm more than willing to criticize my peers for being on this show and trotting out weak material, poorly constructed sets, or not showing any variety or depth to what they have to offer...but I'm intimately aware of the process that each of these performers is used to...and I know that sometimes my initial reactions truly aren't entirely justifiable.

    pg--I think we're treading water here, Jen...so, if you want to "agree to disagree" at some point, I'm cool with that. One question though, just because I'm curious...do you use a service? If you don't, would you consider it to be "cheating" if someone who does what you do...did use a service? (I'm really not trying to make a point with that...I really am just curious as to your take on generating material/ownership/etc.)--seattle

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    In your closet JenniferTVchick's Avatar
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    Re: 8/8 (Finale) Show Discussion

    I think at the core we are having a breakdown in communication. I see a lot of you "understanding what I think" without actually seeing that you understand what I think. And that's OK--you're a comic, not a mindreader I don't expect a comedian to take one 45 minute set and whittle it into 3 minutes bits. While I do actually get the concept of carrying a running bit and back referencing, I personally think that if you have chosen to hone and refine only one act in 5+ years (and by you, I don't mean you personally), then perhaps LCS is not a format to pursue. It is unreal to expect to enter a forum for a little fame and name recognition, but not expect any criticism when you know the format is not designed to give you a fair showcase. If a radio personality competition were televised for more than 3 seasons and I could see that it was not a format that would forward my career, I personally would not subject myself. But that's me. And again we have ALL acknowledged here multiple times that it is not a comedy competition so much as a reality show. When someone goes on Big Brother or Survivor or any other reality show, they are opening themselves up for judgment on a multitude of levels.....that's half of why this forum exists! We can completely agree to disagree. At the end of the day, I am not payng money to a see a comedian who has worked a few new jokes into a set of material I've already seen...meaning, if someone rolls through town and I see the set, if they are doing an 'enhanced, refined' version of that set 6 months later when they roll through, I'm not going. And that is certainly my choice. When I meet Bill Hicks in that comedy club in the sky, I'm not going to ask him to do the waffle waitress bit. Heard it, loved it, moved on.

    And no, I don't use a service. For me (again a personal preference), tailoring to my audience has more to do with living in the city and meeting the people to find out what is funny to them HERE. A service can't provide that for me (Just to be clear--I don't think using a service is cheating any more than I think Dave or Conan cheats for having writers---it just doesn't work for ME).

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    Re: 8/8 (Finale) Show Discussion

    I'm torn about Iliza's winning Last Comic Standing. On the results show night I felt Marcus was the funniest, although on the voting night we split our votes between Iliza and the British guy. I suppose she needs the win more than Marcus, who should be capable of having a great career in comedy without the title of Last Comic Standing. They all benefit greatly from the exposure, that's for sure.

    Our DVR said there would be a lot of guests on that show who weren't actually on it, like Gilbert Gottfried, can't remember who else. I do think that Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was funny, and the guy from Talk Soup (or is it The Soup? - whatever) did the funniest presentation of the night imo. Could have done without the Olympics theme, but the fact that Marcus and Iliza were funniest in their "Olympic" segments shows that having them as the top 2 was not a fluke.

    Speaking of comics, I was so shocked by the headline on my internet page. Bernie Mac gone at only 50!
    I wasn't looking for a discussion of this in the movies forum (glad the Search found it!), because what I remember most about Bernie Mac is the very excellent Bernie Mac Show on TV. That was a truly great show. I will miss his talks to "America."

    This article seemed to eulogize him as a non-mainstream comic, but as an average white, middle-class, middle-aged woman, I always felt the comedy on his show was speaking right to me, so I think he was a lot more universal as a comic than that article suggests.

  9. #19
    pop culture whore pg13's Avatar
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    Re: 8/8 (Finale) Show Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Harvest;3160854;
    Could have done without the Olympics theme, but the fact that Marcus and Iliza were funniest in their "Olympic" segments shows that having them as the top 2 was not a fluke.
    ...and, again, we get into the subjective nature of comedy...

    I thought the two funniest Olympic segments were Marcus and Jeff...and that's also who I thought were the top two comics in the final five. Didn't really laugh at Iliza's Olympic segment...

    (Sigh. Sensing a theme, yes? I better start writing myself some new material... )

    Quote Originally Posted by Harvest;3160854;
    Speaking of comics, I was so shocked by the headline on my internet page. Bernie Mac gone at only 50!

    I wasn't looking for a discussion of this in the movies forum (glad the Search found it!), because what I remember most about Bernie Mac is the very excellent Bernie Mac Show on TV. That was a truly great show. I will miss his talks to "America."

    This article seemed to eulogize him as a non-mainstream comic, but as an average white, middle-class, middle-aged woman, I always felt the comedy on his show was speaking right to me, so I think he was a lot more universal as a comic than that article suggests.
    His representatives did such a good job of assuring the world that his recent hospitalization wasn't serious that this news does indeed come as a shock. (...although, probably a bigger impact in the world of comedy will be felt by the recent death of another Bernie...super agent Bernie Brillstein.)

    Your take, Harvest, on Bernie Mac is interesting...as it puts Bernie into the same category as Redd Foxx (best known to America for his sitcom role in Sanford & Son) and Robin Harris (best known to America for his children's cartoon Bebe's Kids). These African-American comedians were all known for being MONSTERS on the mic...but they gained larger success for being family friendly performers when not on the stand-up comedy stage.

    You get a taste for Bernie Mac's style in the "Kings of Comedy" movie...but the legend of how absolutely ruthless and merciless Bernie was is told in awed whispers more than it was ever documented... That was kind of the point of the "Kings..." movie and tour...to spread the word that there were performers crushing in the club and theater circuits who simply weren't ever going to get the chance to show what they actually did through the mainstream avenues available to them...

    Bernie didn't care if someone might be offended by something he said on a comedy stage--because he knew it was funny and that's all that mattered--and that's an attitude that was shared by Redd Foxx (one of the dirtiest stand-up comedians ever...his early albums were practically illegal) and Robin Harris...

    The fact that they all managed to transition into something with such widespread appeal...and to do so successfully, without having to sell their souls to do so...is a testament to the sheer amount of talent that each of them had...

    I never met the man. Never saw him perform live. I'm lesser off than those lucky enough to have done either.

    pg--Guess there won't be an Ocean's 14 now.--seattle

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    Re: 8/8 (Finale) Show Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by pg13;3160973;
    Your take, Harvest, on Bernie Mac is interesting...as it puts Bernie into the same category as Redd Foxx (best known to America for his sitcom role in Sanford & Son) and Robin Harris (best known to America for his children's cartoon Bebe's Kids). These African-American comedians were all known for being MONSTERS on the mic...but they gained larger success for being family friendly performers when not on the stand-up comedy stage.
    ...
    Bernie didn't care if someone might be offended by something he said on a comedy stage--because he knew it was funny and that's all that mattered--

    The fact that they all managed to transition into something with such widespread appeal...and to do so successfully, without having to sell their souls to do so...is a testament to the sheer amount of talent that each of them had...
    I think it is also a testament to the audience, that there are a lot of us out there who can recognize the truth when we hear it and not be offended by the truth but rather give a person props for not BS-ing. I never saw his stage show, but I know that on TV his being a straight shooter is what elevated the show, and it was all very funny.

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