Tag Archives: Natasha Leggero

Last Comic Standing – The Other Five

 
Yep, that’s gotta be how Kurt Metzger feels. 

Are you kidding me, Last Comic Standing? Just when I thought you had gotten past the asinine policy of “casting a reality show” in favor of finding the funniest comics, you pull another Dan Naturman on me. 

Naturman, you’ll remember, was the contestant on the second season of LCS who was passed over for the finals even though the on-air judges all voted for him. Turns out that there were more people behind the scenes – a voting majority, no less – and they thought it was more important to have an interesting mix of personalities on the show. It was an embarrassment at the time and still a stain on the program’s reputation to this day. 

So what happens last night? Metzger comes out and absolutely kills…easily within the top 2-3 responses from both audience and judges – and he doesn’t make the cut? WTF?

Of course, none of the judges looked surprised or said a word. In fact, the announcement process is bizarre in itself, as pre-assigned groups of five or six comics walk downstage and only one is chosen. When I saw that Roy Wood Jr. and Metzger was in the same group, I was dumfounded, as the two were easily the best performers on the program last night. 

Video: Kurt Metzger: Hilarious Crimes

And while Craig Robinson is openly mocking the banality of the role of host, the judges continue to coddle the contestants; I’ve learned that “you are telling personal stories and you should go with that” and/or “you are very unique/original/funny” is code for “make sure you pack as soon as you get offstage“. I realize that some of these people work together and no one wants to crucify a colleague onstage, but some of these comics just aren’t that good

Some went beyond that, bombing and going down in flames. Guy Torry is a seasoned actor and comedian but chose to riff on Hillary Clinton and – are you sitting downMonica Lewinsky. (I don’t know who is in charge of the calendar at the Torry house, but they should be fired.) Torry’s set pretty much sucked, but as the judges tried to be professional while telling him he was capable of doing better, he became argumentative, dismissive and insulting. Nice strategy, idiot!  He’s lucky that the ratings for LCS are minimal or we would have been watching career suicide. The only funny thing Torry did all night was come out for the final announcements with his coat on and his duffel bag over his shoulder. 

Guy Torry's career, as seen from space

And weren’t all of these people supposedly from the bigger groups last week? Either there are some continuity errors or several of them were so bland that I don’t even remember them after a couple of weeks. You’d think I’d remember a name like Fortune Feimster, for example, who plays off her unfortunate resemblance to Jonah Hill to good effect. Or Maronzio Vance, who barely registered last night in a short set. I want to like Nikki Glaser but she did another variation on the abortion joke she did at the auditions and it seems like she plows the same narrow ground. I’m a longtime fan of  Laurie Kilmartin, a great writer, but I’ve seen her do better and I was a little disappointed that she used her old routine about her Russian boyfriend.

Jason Nash, Carmen Lynch, Cristela Alonzo, Nick Cobb, Claudia Cogan and most of the others were okay; a chuckle or two but fairly pedestrian material. Two exceptions: Brian McKim has been doing stand-up for thirty years, and everything from his posture to his cadence screams old-school comic, but his delivery is great and he is memorable. Jacob Siroc wouldn’t have made my cut either but following the Torry debacle and opening with “okay, that wasn’t awkward” broke the ice; he later ad-libbed a “Google” call-back from Torry’s disastrous rant. He looks like a cross between Tom Kenny and Jake Johansen; in other words, he’s got the look down. 

But I’m starting to think something fishy is going on. Again. 

For example, comics are supposed to be judged on what they are doing that night – not how their career stacks up or how they did elsewhere. Yet several references were made to other performances; Andy Kindler told Jerry Rocha that he loved seeing him at another show, and Natasha Leggero went absolutely Paula Abdul on Feimster.  

Neither made the cut, but one of the finalists seemed to get a push. James Adomian had a mediocre set but then Craig Robinson and the judges asked him to do impressions at the post-set review…and then rated the impressions! And I can’t explain the vibe I got when Kilmartin‘s name was called, but it was as if she knew making the finals was a fait accompli

Their five:  James Adomian, Laurie Kilmartin, Maronzio Vance, Roy Wood. Jr and Tommy Johnagin

Mine : Kurt Metzger, Roy Wood Jr., Tommy Johnagin, Taylor Williamson and Mike Vecchione

And then there were ten. If I had to handicap, I’d bet on Mike DiStefano, Myq Kaplan and Tommy Johnagin for the trifecta. We’ll see what happens.

— 

 

R.I.P. Harvey Fuqua, Moonglow and Motown mover/shaker.

1 Comment

Filed under Comedy, Editorials, Film/TV, Reviews

Last Comic Standing – First Five

Last Comic Standing update – five comics move on to the semi-finals.

The first five winners are (in the order they were announced on TV) Felipe Esparza, Myq Kaplan, Rachel Feinstein, Mike DeStefano and Jonathan Thymius. I’d say the judges got it 80% correct. More in a moment.

I like the format of having the comics do a few minutes and then hearing some comments from the judges, even though it’s a tired gimmick used by American Idol ane every other reality competition. It affords the comedians on the panel the opportunity to be funny, although only Andy Kindler is taking advantage of it on a regular basis.

Greg Giraldo had a couple of zingers, but Natasha Leggero spends most of her time…um…just laughing. (Not that most comedy nerds watching from home wouldn’t want a hot girlfriend who laughs at jokes.) But the judges are overwhelmingly positive about everybody, which (1) doesn’t match their facial reactions during the performances and (2) is boring and pointless, and hopefully not supposed to create suspense.

Clear winners for the evening? Myq Kaplan and Mike DeStefano, head and shoulders above everyone else. Both have excellent material, command the stage and have perfect delivery. Thymius is an unpredictable oddball (think a disoriented George Goebel), and although Feinstein is pretty funny I think her obvious sex appeal is contributing to her success.

Lucky finalist? Felipe Esparza, who only had one good joke (his closer) and then blew the timing on the best line, his last. I didn’t think he was in the top half, let alone the top five.

Who would I have put in the fifth slot? Likely Chip Pope, whose solid routine probably gets the nod over Ryan Hamilton (best physical presence of the night, could have tightened up the story) and Adrienne Iapalucci (funny in spots but milked the same material bone dry).

Interesting to watch a couple of the comics go for one extended character piece, but it usually cost them – none more so than Lil’ Rel whose five minutes seemed to be only an introduction to a far longer routine. Next week the other five will be selected, and then the real fun starts.

Last Comic Standing

5 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Film/TV, Orphaned, Reviews

Tuesday’s Mailbag

Just a few things that jumped out at me today…

 

Last Comic Standing

The fourth round – second for New York City – was broadcast Monday night and contained another mix of established comic veterans and lesser-knowns. As I watched the show I wondered how many “name” comics had possibly lined up to audition and didn’t even make the broadcast (bombed, too stoic, too well-known, etc.). How depressing would that be for a comic vet? Or would it be better to die in obscurity?

Because they’re not going for the whole “vote them off the island” concept this season by eschewing the drama of communal living, hopefully we’re more likely to get to see funny people than those the producers think will provide an interesting mix of personalities. I also wonder, given the scandals of past seasons, how much input the three judges really have and whether there are still a larger group of network people behind the scenes voting.

One thing I have noticed is that the judges seem to be pretty lenient inviting people to the showcase. I was surprised at least half the time when people came out with fairly limp material and got the yes vote. Then again, we might be missing a minute or two of what the judges are seeing because of the broadcast edits.

Married comics Brian McKim and Traci Skene (who manage the Shecky Magazine website) both tried out; he made the cut and she didn’t. They have some interesting info on the whole LCS applicant process on their site, well worth a read.

If you missed it, here’s the summary: Andy Kindler is funny as hell, Greg Giraldo is watching fifty people nowhere near as funny as he is vie for a large cash prize and Natasha Leggero’s boisterous laugh and great looks has every male watching the program twitching (in a good way). And as far as the competitors? My five would have been Mike Vecchione, Kyle Grooms, Myq Kaplan, Nikki Glaser and Carmen Lynch.

Television Without Pity

Eli tipped me to this one as she’s a TV hound; I do pop in there on occasion. But she knows I love awards, even when they’re ridiculous, so their Tubey Awards is right up my alley. Beyond the voting for “Best Drama” or “Best Supporting Actor” there’s also “Most Egregious Product Placement” and “Best Performance by an Inanimate Object” (my vote went to Ron Swanson’s moustache – no contest!)

It’s all in good fun, and even if Bravo and NBC Universal are behind the whole thing, it’s really just a harmless fun site for when you want to get your silly on regarding television.

Adam Marsland’s Blog

Prescriptioneers know that I have great admiration for musician Adam Marsland, a guy who decided long ago that hitting the road and bringing his music to the fans in whatever manner he was capable of was a far better path than sitting in his basement whining about the collapse of the music industry.

The former Cockeyed Ghost leader has circled the country countless times as a solo act, with his full Chaos Band and several configurations in between. And if you know Adam – or listen to his songs – you know that he’s not afraid to tell you what he thinks or how he feels.  From his email:

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where to go with my life and career the last week or so, considering whether to keep doing original music, and how and where I should do my thing. The biggest decision:  I’m going to start a blog. It’s going to be a diary of my life as a full-time itinerant musician, playing nudist colonies and casinos and state parks and stadiums, the crazy things that happen and the frustrations…and extension of the tour diaries people used to enjoy so much.  I’m going to try to make this a daily thing. My first blog explains the motivations for doing this, and gives some idea of what I’m going to do next.”

I can relate, brother. And 536 posts later, I can tell you that the daily blog is both invigorating and challenging. So welcome to the madhouse, Adam…and good luck!

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Film/TV, Music, Reviews

Last Comic Standing

Last Comic Standing might be worthy after all.

Thankfully, the format of the show seems to have improved. Reportedly there will be no “comic house” or oddball challenges this year, just rounds of stand-up and voting. I never enjoyed the forced drama of the “house”; it’s gimmicks like that which makes me find reality tv revolting. And while the challenges sometimes forced comics to think on their feet, sometimes they were so absurd that they only made everyone – participants and viewers – uncomfortable.

Craig Robinson, as host, does what Jay Mohr and other prior MCs failed to do – let the comics be the stars of the show. If we really are about to see twenty or thirty comics who have bubbled to the surface we don’t need a five-minute routine from the host. Robinson playfully teases the waiting crowd outside the door and has occasional post-audition banter with a comic. Short and sweet.

To say that the judges’ panel has vastly improved is an understatement. Ross Mark and Bob Read, the qualifying judges on previous shows, were occasionally funny, but mostly came off as tired and cranky. But the trio chosen for this season – Greg Giraldo, Andy Kindler and Natasha Leggero – are consistently funny.

Kindler is one of the most underrated comics working today; he’s subversive, whiny and hilarious with the ability to play broad or subtle. Giraldo has been a favorite of mine since Tough Crowd, and although he shines on Comedy Central Roasts, he never seems to get his due – hopefully this will change. And although Leggero could just sit there and look smoking hot, her turns on Chelsea Lately prove that she can run with the big dogs.

If there is a weakness in the three hours broadcast to date, unfortunately it’s the comedians. There have been some laughs, sure, but very few have distinguished themselves so far, and I’m hoping that the longer routines in the semi-finals will let them shine. Some of them are familiar faces who have already scored album releases and/or televised specials. But that’s no guarantee – some have made it to the next stage (Kirk Fox, Laurie Kilmartin, Shane Mauss, David Feldman), others were cut (Jimmy Dore, Cathy Ladman, Jim David – who has a new album out this month).

My favorites from tonight – Jesse Joyce, Mike DeStefano, Tommy Johnagin, Roy Wood Jr., Kurt Metzger. Last week’s nods go to Kirk Fox, Chris Pope, Jonathan Stymius, Rachel Feinstein and David Feldman. Next week – the rest of the New York auditions. Hope they saved some ringers!

Last Comic Standing wiki.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Film/TV, Reviews

Last Comic Standing: 2010

Just saw the note regarding the last filming dates in Los Angeles, so that’s now a done deal. Prior auditions in New York reportedly drew in a boatload of names of solid contenders – both established and upcoming – although everyone involved is sworn to secrecy at this point.

But where once was a pile of tainted network involvement now springs a hope of legitimate prime time exposure for a bunch of worthy comedians. Check out the press release below – these people wouldn’t steer me wrong, would they?

NBC’s Emmy-nominated Last Comic Standing returns for its seventh season with new host Craig Robinson!

Robinson, star of NBC’s hit comedy series “The Office” and the upcoming feature film “Hot Tub Time Machine,” will host the nationwide search for the funniest comedian in America, and reward him or her with a $250,000 prize, plus an exclusive talent deal with the network. Joining Robinson are Greg Geraldo, Andy Kindler and Natasha Leggerro who will all serve as talent scouts and help judge the competition! As with previous seasons, Last Comic Standing will invite some of the best and brightest comics from all over the country to participate in the competition.

Looks like Monday nights just perked up a bit. Although the bolding of the word help was mine.

As you might remember, the clandestine behind-the-scenes manipulation of who was picked almost killed the show in the first season. If the hosts are only there to help but some marketing asswipe is choosing people based upon who will mix well in a house, then they haven’t learned their lesson. Why can’t a show that’s supposed to help find the funniest person in America…just do that?

I’m not going to lose more sleep over this; I’m going Zen. Meaning I will get to see at least forty comics worth watching, if even for a quick audition, and then twenty will go deeper and I’ll have to live with ten in greater detail. Surely there’s some comedy gold in there?

And don’t call me Shirley.

2 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Editorials, Film/TV