Bill Murray has another song about him. How many comedians have multiple songs named for them, anyhow? I suppose I could look into that.
But first, here's the most recent "Bill Murray" track to get recorded, and Terrible People have done it. Terrible People, of course, is a rock band from Phoenix, Ariz. And they made a music video for their ode to Murray, casting comedian Jim Tavare in the lead role as a zombie (referencing Zombieland) as the band sings lyrics referencing several of Murray's other cinematic roles.
Roll the clip!
Of course, you may recall that Gorillaz had a track called "Bill Murray" on their album, D-Sides. But they're not the only ones to put their love of the comedic actor on record.
Much ado about nothing? Perchance. But Jim Tavare learned a lesson this month about airing his grievances about another comedian online first before attempting a private solution, as he issued an apology on Twitter to Sid Bowfin (aka Adrian Garratt) on July 6, 2011.
My suspicions of Adrian plagiarising my look and aspects of my act were based on watching this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XryASRSbPYwd. I also pointed out strong similarities between his website and my own, and posted my views on Twitter.
There are other aspects of this performers career, such as his role in 'Pluck' which do not bear any similarity to my act. I made this clear throughout, but hope it was understood that such material should not to be confused with my original complaint.
I acknowledge that a large proportion of Adrian's performances do not reflect the same similarities to my act as seen in the clip.
Adrian claims the performance in the 9 minute clip and other similarities, including website design, are all unfortunate coincidence - routines like the 'faulty mic' were a one-off and not normally part of his set. With the larger proportion of Adrian's act not being similar to my own, i believe it is only fair to accept his word on this.
I am aware of the fact that public bad feeling towards Adrian reached unreasonably high levels as a result of my airing my views on Twitter, and for this I apologise.
I wish Adrian well in his career.
Garratt told UK comedy site Chortle in reply: "I’m grateful that Jim’s apologised, and I’ve been in contact by email to tell him so."
You may have seen Jim Tavare on the sitcom Wings many moons ago, on NBC's Last Comic Standing more recently than that, or even in a comedy club near you. He's difficult to forget. Bald guy. In black tie. Playing the cello.
So what happens when another British guy does essentially the same shtick? Jim Tavare has been on a Twitter tear today wondering what to make of Sid Bowfin. So far, he's been telling friends and colleagues that Bowfin has "cloned my stage image, premise behind my act, website."
And Tavare notes that many of Bowfin's photos show him sporting a full head of hair until recently adopting the same bald look.
What about what they look like onstage with a microphone malfunction?
Is there room in the comedy world for more than one bald man in black tie to play the strings for laughs?
I'll let you watch these videos and then let your fight-or-flight instincts kick in, appropriately...
This is shaping up to be the screwiest finale in Last Comic Standing since the whodunit that ended season three's "all-star" challenge round. For one thing, will anyone in the New York City area find out who won?
NBC says the finale airs tonight from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., but the NYC affiliate is airing the New York Giants preseason (preseason!) football game then, and telling viewers that LCS will air afterward, and only from 10 to 11 p.m. Where will the other half-hour go, pray tell? Seriously. What gives? And that's beside the fact that your season six winner essentially gets crowned by a toss-up call-in vote (or producer finagling, for you conspiracy theorists with a touch of reality TV cynicism) among five people. You could win a five-way vote with only 21 percent, you know. Twenty-one percent. That's telling America you're their favorite, isn't it?!
So...who will win? Let's assess.
Marcus probably is the betting favorite. He won last year's Seattle comedy competition. He does voices. Lots of voices. And people like impersonations. Even the hacky ones. You know why? Because hack works. That's why it's hack in the first place -- hack comedy is stuff that is so popular and consistently successful that other comedians say it's unworthy for achieving real laughs. But getting real laughs out of three Playboy Playmates got Marcus a free pass into this finale. And all of his voices, even Christopher Walken, make audiences smile and laugh...and vote.
Louis Ramey is a veteran road comic. NBC loved using him over and over again in promo ads to tease this season. He made a broad appeal to viewers with his pandering patriotism set in the finale. Could that work? Perhaps. Aside from Marcus, Ramey is the only American in this finale field with enough material to headline clubs and the oncoming LCS tour. He could win. Producers wouldn't mind in the slightest if he won, either.
Jim Tavare. He's British. He has a proven track record in the UK. And his shtick has survived two decades of performing. Is that enough? Guessing not.
Iliza Shlesinger. The only female in this bunch. Works a Dane Cook stage persona so effectively that even the show's producers (one of whom is Barry Katz, aka Cook's manager) have noticed the similarities. And everyone has noticed her cleavage, for better or for worse. Shlesinger obviously hopes all of those Google oogle oglers cast millions of votes for her to win. She's the only one of the five to take part in the live audience challenges this season. Odd, but true. That means viewers have seen and heard more from her than the others. She's so fresh in the stand-up game, though, and I don't think she's ready just yet to headline. Making her the winner might be too much. But no female has won LCS before.
Jeff Dye. Like Shlesinger, he is young and attractive and has a lot of fans because of it. People Google phrases such as "is Jeff Dye nice?" and "is Jeff Dye single?" Seriously. They do. And yes, he is nice. Not married. I expect many women voted for him because of this. Also an odd choice for a winner because, while he is funny and nice and has a good stage presence, he's not a headliner yet. But if NBC is looking to be a star-maker, they could be looking at Dye as a younger, fresher Dane Cook. His odds are as good as Shlesinger's.
But it's a five-person race. So, really, anyone could win. Does that make any sense, though? We'll find out tonight.
Looky looky! It's Bill Bellamy and Brit Lady (Cotton Fearne!), back together for the audience finale vote on Last Comic Standing! This doesn't look taped at all, except I know it's taped because finalist Jeff Dye is in Chattanooga, Tenn., right now performing at a comedy club...all I know for sure at this moment is that Marcus will be around for the finale next week, and that all of the top 12 will be there for one reason or another...
What's this? The Dan Band? These audience cutaways seem as if they do not fit. Or the audience has gotten more than plenty of a serving of happy juice! All of the finalists are coming up with one-liners for why they'll be the last comic standing...ooh! "I'm Ron G and I'll be the last comic standing because I make this microphone look sexy!" "I'm Adam Hunter, and I'm going to be the last comic standing because I want to prove that blondes have more fun!" "I'm Jeff Dye, I'm going to be the last comic standing because I can do 17 push-ups in an hour...believe it!" "I am Jim Tavare, and I am going to be the last comic standing because I am the new Miley Cyrus of comedy!" "I'm Marcus, and I'll be the last comic standing, because just like Jack Black, I keep things rocking! Let's go!" "I'm Iliza Shlesinger, and I'll be the last comic standing, because out of all of these guys, I'm the most experienced...winning!" "I'm Louis Ramey, and I'll be the last comic standing, because I'm huggable. Come to daddy, America!" "I'm Sean Cullen, and I'll be the last comic standing, because I've dreamed about it...since I was a little girl!" OK. This was taped. But Brit Lady is here, so I have no need to fear. Right?
No. Fear. Fear! Strange but true, this year's competition is coming down to a five-way vote. Which means this year's Last Comic Standing will win based on at least 21 percent of America's phone and online voting tendencies...congratulations, comedy!
Marcus, guaranteed a spot in the final five, goes first. He reveals that he worked at a radio station for two years for no pay (!) and that the local club in Utah, Wiseguys, eventually asked him to come down and perform after hearing all of his impersonations and whatnots. His "live" set focuses on the things you can and cannot bring on a plane (you can bring a wrench!), the lyrical stylings of Eddie Vedder, Aaron Neville's multiple syllables, Motown nostalgia, and versus new songs, such as "lady humps." It's very engaging for the crowd in Las Vegas, with broad appeal to whomever may be watching at home. Do you like music? Any kind of music? This set is for you. He gets a standing ovation. Will everyone this night?
Next up, Ron G, who goes home again. Onstage, he has a vest and a tie, so you know he's serious about this night. How are you supposed to be a thug with a retainer in your mouth? Um, I don't know. Church isn't the same with a Bluetooth in Hollywood. Love the graphics reminding me not to change the channel and stick around to vote. He has a series of jokes about the various commercials you may see on late-night television. But Ron G has been eliminated from the competition. Dunzo! He tells Brit Lady he appreciates the chance and the fans.
Last Comic Driving? Remember that? You don't? Oh, here was a very very very quick reminder. Hope you didn't fast forward through it.
Brit Lady gets more hosting duties, yay! Here comes Jim Tavare, with double references for you audience members (The Hills Are Alive, or Uncle Fester, you pick). He calls for a rescue dog. One-liners aplenty. What's wrong with his Hendrix impersonation? But can he play the bass? Brit Lady delivers the news...and...he's in the top five! Hooray for the U.K., Brit Lady!
Oh, Brit Lady is hosting so we can have Bill Bellamy do stand-up...he jokes about visiting Idaho and being in the outdoors...cut to white people having fun...phew. That's over.
But now we get an extended preview of an upcoming NBC competition...America's Toughest Jobs. It's not supposed to be comedy, so stop laughing.
Louis Ramey gets the childhood photo treatment next, and Ramey does a pretend version of running around on the New York City club circuit for the cameras makey nicey. The Amish pay in cheese? His jacket looks like it fits better this week. He jokes about Amish gangs. Also about Houma, Louisiana. And a twist on a terrorist alert joke. A big redneck twist. And he's still in it to win it!
Adam Hunter wrestled in high school. This news does not surprise me. He attacks the stage and looks like a scrapper. No, that's a good thing. Right? Jokes about San Francisco, cocaine, pot, rappers, George Bush Speak N Spell, Obama is black, McCain is old, more drugs, sex, strip clubs. All over the place. He is a New York guy doing Los Angeles comedy. Does that make sense to anyone? He has been eliminated. The crowd boos.
Jeff Dye. They show lots of clips from Seattle, so that gets my vote. Gives a shout-out to his parents, then proceeds to joke about them. Before and afterward, he delivers the set he gave earlier this month at Montreal New Faces. Pan out to show the audience clapping enthusiastically. We're thinking he goes through...and...he did!
Cullen goes back to Toronto, where they love him already. Wow. Did you see some of those flashback stage shots. Did he have long curly hair at one point? We believe he did. He threatens to spin into the crowd with his pinwheels and fists of death. Jokes about Sean Connery and his amazing ability with accents. Why Australia can never have a James Bond villain. Why Neil Young and REM won't do Bond theme songs, which lets him sing some more.
Shlesinger, too, goes home again. She jokes about her Olympic experience being limited to Beer Pong. She wears a tight red shirt, which explains the pervy Google searches already heading this way (calm down, people). Why did you send that 40-page blank fax, again? Jokes about former co-workers. Iliza isn't as energetic as usual in this performance, slowing things down just a bit. A poised, confident five minutes.
And the final spot goes to...Iliza Shlesinger! Which means your final five for season six are: Marcus, Jim Tavare, Louis Ramey, Jeff Dye and Iliza Shlesinger. Would it have turned out this way with additional weeks of challenges? We'll never find out. Nor will we get to see the final five whittle down, one by one. Instead, come back next week and find out who won.
Have to give credit here to comedian Mark Agee for his keen memory in recalling that Last Comic Standing finalist Jim Tavare has been on the NBC television network in primetime before...long before, in fact, appearing as himself on an episode of Wings. Specifically, the February 1992 episode, "Take My Life, Please," in which Crystal Bernard's character attempts stand-up at a fictional Nantucket club. Oliver North is on this episode, too?! There's a "hello, is this thing on!" utterance, and then Tavare's routine, which includes jokes he told last night on the TV. How many of your jokes hold up after 16 years? Don't let the hair fool you. Tavare's introduction comes in at about the 4:44 mark on this clip...enjoy!
We're down to the final 8 comedians on season six of Last Comic Standing, and already, we're being promised a conclusion that lets us vote -- plus hints that the vote moves people into "the final" -- so will we speed up to the finish in time for the Summer Olympics? Perhaps.
Everyone still in the house is talking about Iliza Shlesinger, who has taken out four other comedians already, and wondering if they should not challenge her ever. Nice strategy, fellas.
Another pointless sight gag challenge that has no consequences?! That's right. Our comedians go to a sushi house and have to perform jokes for four tables: Female bodybuilders, Deal or No Deal models, frat boys and little people. Adam Hunter's energy easily gets the Suitcase Sorority giggling, while Ron G is distracted by the ladies (theme alert!). Marcus resorts to his Christopher Walken, again. This is pointless. Let's get to the real challenge, already. The comics return to the house to find breast implant helpers (cutlets!) on their pillows. Whatever could it be? We know, because they've teased us with the Playboy Mansion! Lots of bouncy bouncy! Our comedians pick titles, then have to come up with bedtime stories for The Girls Next Door, aka Hef's girlfriends, aka the Hugh Hefner Playboy Playmates with a TV show on E!
First up: Ron G, with "Jack and the Bean Stalker." Ron cannot stop looking at Kendra, and this gets him off track multiple times, but he recovers by ad-libbing a rhyme about Hef and the Bunnies. When he leaves, we learn that they liked him. Not so much for Adam Hunter, who really tried to come up with a story for "I'm The Same Age as My New Mommy." Know your audience. "Hit that, Adam," joked Mr. Sean Cullen. Iliza Shlesinger, with "The Pirate, The T. Rex, and Grandma," may have had the toughest sales job as the only female stand-up left, but the Bunnies compliment her before she even begins. Her story has the three titular characters (that's not a play on words, people!) as competing Playmates. Could she win immunity?! Louis Ramey had to tell, "The Princess Who Had to Pee," which isn't quite how his fantasy started, and yet, the Bunnies are in suspense. They think it's an actual bedtime story. "Dragons Just Don't Understand," by Sean Cullen, is a fanciful tale with big words, and Bunnies just don't understand. "It might have been that I smelled of rotten squash," he quips afterward.
Last Comic Driving, still!?!? It's my only chance to see my dear Brit Lady Cotton Fearne, and Ben Morrison is getting in the way by telling jokes from the passenger seat involving text messaging.
Marcus has "All Dogs Go to Heaven, but Grandpa Didn't," and it's told via Morgan Freeman, Adam Sandler, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, and of course, Christopher Walken. "I'm going to bring in the voices," he says. "It's going to be the thunder." Playmates don't know no hack, don't you know. Jim Tavare, with "Pretty People Always Get Their Way," takes the ladies back in time. He got them with his closing line, though. Jeff Dye gets to tell them "Daddy Loves Mommy, Mommy Loves Lattes," and gives Bridget several nicknames, which they like. Dye has his feet on the bed. They remember the Brizzle My Nizzle line, which I think they came up with themselves. And that's why the Playmates chose to award immunity to...Marcus! He brought the thunder.
"For the rest of you, it's just not that easy," host Bill Bellamy intones. Uh-oh. The other seven all will perform for America's votes. What does this mean, exactly? Everyone not named Marcus is anxious and nervous and other words that mean those emotions. So they prepare a Last Comic Standing Last Supper, and there's a montage of those left behind.
On the bus ride, Shlesinger says she's doing some brand-new jokes tonight, "which is always a bad idea," Ramey replies (off the bus). Hair and makeup, people! Producers try to build up the tension level with all sorts of little scenes and whatnots before we get to the actual show. Adam Hunter is up first, and he's so broke he is combining his foods. Hunter's stage presence is a bit frantic, but perhaps that's because he is trying to get so many premises across in a short set. Shlesinger remains committed to telling new jokes, and she goes after how women relate to each other, and does a few big act-outs. Next: Sean Cullen in a suit. Singing. To support the farmers? An appeal to the heartland voters out there? He's silly enough that it might work. Jim Tavare brings his tux and his double bass back to the stage. Wait. Bellamy just said "next week's final," so this means we're speeding to the finish, alrighty! Congrats to Marcus for getting a speed pass. But back to Tavare. Quick and clever one-liners. Tavare balances on his instrument, so to speak, to win you over. Did it work? Jeff Dye chose a bright orange shirt for the evening, so at least you'll remember him. He jokes about how childhood favorite movies might not hold up when you watch them again as adults, such as The Sound of Music? He acts out a homeless guy reciting his favorite things. Maybe Super Mario is homeless, too. Just ask Dye to tell you why. Ron G wishes Marcus was in this contest, but Ron G has to go onstage now instead, and he wants to know where the single people are at, and why they're not leaving MySpace comments or missed calls on the phone. He keeps mugging as Bellamy recites the voting details. One more performance, and it's Louis Ramey, who jokes about the book, "The Female Orgasm," (men don't need a book), and other sex tips, such as adding food to the proceedings. If a man wants to cover you in honey and lick it all? "That's a man that's never done it before." His set on sex is just edgy enough for primetime TV without being bleeped. So...how many people get to make it to the finals? Tell us! Tell us! Next week is the final performance show, so get to it, people.
UPDATED: Here is NBC's two-minute recap for you. If you cannot watch Hulu (I see you, Canadians!), then watch it here.
Too late to vote now, sorry!
You can vote up to 10 times per person on NBC.com, or call one of these limited-time-only numbers to support your favorite... Adam Hunter: 1-877-FUNNY-01 Iliza Shlesinger: 1-877-FUNNY-02 Sean Cullen: 1-877-FUNNY-03 Jim Tavare: 1-877-FUNNY-04 Jeff Dye: 1-877-FUNNY-05 Ron G: 1-877-FUNNY-06 Louis Ramey: 1-877-FUNNY-07
Getting in the mood for tonight's new episode of Last Comic Standing, let's relive the fun of last week's episode (especially since three of the final 10 comedians and myself were in Montreal at the time)...so, let the foolishness begin!
Iliza Shlesinger returns triumphant from her showdown with Ku and God's Pottery, and gets kudos from Marcus "she just owned that stage" and deserved to win, while Paul Foot and Papa CJ think she's vulnerable (foreshadowing a spoiler alert!!!). Oh, you crazy editors.
Comic Car Wash? I certainly hope this is as productive as the calendar shoot was...and can I hit the fast-forward button yet?...wait, what happened that put Jim Tavare on crutches? Now that would be interesting on camera...no? This is some morbid variation on that whole Last Comic Driving scam, because our comedians are telling jokes to the car wash participants for tips, or something, and whomever gets the biggest tips wins something or other? Cue the everyone gets wet montage. Is it wrong for me to be staring? Ad break!
Comedians get a barrel of carrots and overthink the challenge, because, yes, it's Carrot Top! They head to a Bed, Bath and Beyond and get "mad props" -- racing around the store to find props and whomever does them thar prop comedy the best wins immunity. "This is kind of funny that I'm teaching you!" Carrot Top tells the finalists. Well said, sir. Well said. So The Top Propster trots out some examples to share with the wannabes. George Bush's "decision master" is a tank on a map. Bobby Brown's new book is powdered. Get it? Got it? Good. Now run through the store. You figure it out. Ron G. suddenly has a mohawk...is that his prop? And it's showtime for our judge, Sir Top Carrot of Muscle Mania Man, and a live audience (and where from whence did they come?). "Where did they get these people," Sean Cullen asks. "Well, I guess they live here."
Up first, Louis Ramey. Sushi at night? Better luck with a light bulb affixed to the bottom of a pot thing, and with the shower curtain postcards. Then Marcus, who you'd think would do something, like when unicorns need braces? Lifetime's version of Iron Man? A Tommy Lee jokes gets a thumb's up and a smile from Carrot Muscles. Ron G., however, has jokes but not so much with the props. "This is not what I do," Ron G. acknowledges to the cameras. Papa CJ reimagines flashing headlights, so to speak, and does not know props, or how to make people laugh. Sean Cullen? Well, he tried, at least.
Last Comic Driving is still going?!?!? Ah, Brit lady. I miss you so. Tom Clark is in the hot seat. Wow, that was quick. Moving on...
Adam Hunter gets his chance, goes after Tom Cruise, Flavor Flav, O.J. Simpson, Paris Hilton. Um. OK. Jim Tavare opens with wordplay. Carrot Top said he was "clever." Iliza Shlesinger shows us Khloe Kardashian's foot corn pads, a mouse saddle she made, and, well, here's Paul Foot to dazzle us. Or not. I don't know what's going on here, and I don't think he did, either. Jeff Dye gets to close, it seemed, and goes for quick movie re-enactments which seem to work well with the live audience. And Big Red awards immunity to...Jeff Dye for his originality! Big Red knows enough to mock himself.
Back at the house, Ramey notices that the young comics are more insecure and therefore more likely to lash out at one another. Like, say, for instance, Foot throwing a nerf gun off of the balcony, perhaps? That won't win him any votes, unless he wants to get voted for elimination. Ramey predicts that the showdown will come down to Foot, CJ and Shlesinger, with Shlesinger prevailing again. Anyone want to bet against that? In the cemetery, host Bill Bellamy got outfitted in crazy again. Suddenly, Tavare is off crutches again. The votes are in...Ramey, CJ, Foot, Hunter, Tavare, Foot, Ramey, CJ, Foot, CJ...so Paul Foot and Papa CJ each get three votes, and they bring Shlesinger into the ring with them. Good luck with that, fellas.
Shlesinger says she'll use her Los Angeles residency to her advantage, while the boys backstage think it's going to get messy. Foot goes first. Puts awkward foot forward, trying to explain how he doesn't like early to bed, early to rise people. Eventually gets applause. Nervous giggles. Man, he's making me nervous with the pacing and the stammering and the looking at his watch. Shlesinger goes second. Reminds the audience what it was like to play high school sports, joking about the coaches. More nostalgia: You guys remember the game Oregon Trail? Yay, audience says. Other things and movements. Gets applause from the boys in the back. CJ goes last. Seems unfazed about it, and his opening joke about "L.A. being the most beautiful part of Mexico" gets a good reaction. Doesn't like "random" selection for airport searches. Again with the deliberate pointing at a front-row guy for no reason whatsoever. Don't mess with Indians, he threatens. He fails miserably with an Iraqi joke. Tries recovering with that old Hindu reincarnation joke, plus going back to the guy in the audience who wasn't asking for it. Ugh. Even the boys know CJ did the same jokes he did in Vegas. And the audience votes for...Iliza Shlesinger, with 62 percent of the vote! Bye bye, Paul Foot and Papa CJ.
The rest of you kids, I'll see you back here tonight with a new LCS recap!
So here we are. These are your 12 finalists, and after watching that hourlong recap from last week, we're only reminded of a few good stand-ups who got left behind. Let us not mourn for them, but celebrate them, for they will not have to suffer the indignities of Last Comic Standing's house nor its challenges, nor the little yellow bus.
First off, the house is nice. God's Pottery acts as if they have "dibsies" on the girlie pink room with princess outfits and bunk beds, but eventually are seen unpacking in another room.
But wait, let's talk about Esther Ku's laugh, shall we? Spoiler alert: It's all real. Ku laughs a lot, and laughs loudly. Some comedians over the years have accused her of laughing insincerely, but oh no, my friends, it is sincere...sincerely overpowering. Iliza Shlesinger describes it as "operatic, forceful and when it's this close to your ear, we're talking sonic boom potential" ...Paul Foot calls it..."a machine gun of joy."
We've got a calendar shoot. A wonderfully goofy calendar photo shoot. Marcus as Wonder Woman with smeared make-up and a Bobcat Goldthwait vibe declares: "Don't laugh at me, I'm beautiful!" Sean Cullen has a "superhero medieval hermaphrodite ballerina queen" thing going on. Jeff Dye is the youngest, so he puts on the baby outfit. Ron G says he automatically looked for a pimp get-up. Adam Hunter is a hippie? Shlesinger says she wanted the baby outfit but couldn't because they'd have to blur her breasts. Louis Ramey brings the bling. Papa CJ's outfit is fairly lame. God's Pottery lucked out (or did they?) with the God and Devil looks. Jim Tavare blows his top (well, his wig). Ku is Uncle Sam as a girl? I don't see that. Paul Foot is, I don't know what he is supposed to be.
Tonight's show promises the Last Comic Standing "All-Time Best Jokes Countdown"...Dat Phan makes the Top 10??!?!?!?!? Are. You. Kidding. Me.
They wake up the next morning to find glasses with egg yolks in them. A clue, perhaps? Another opportunity to play dress up, and a chance for us to hear Survivor's Eye of the Tiger as the comedians get into boxing outfits for Last Comic Smackdown.
But #9 on our "all-time best"? Todd Glass with a bit about how bold some people must be to wear awful toupees. #8 goes to John Heffron with his bit about the junk drawer scissors that Mom uses to cut your hair when you're a kid, which means we get to hear the word "dingleberry" on TV again. Hooray.
Our judges for the Yo Momma smackdown are Jamie Kennedy and sportscaster Rich Eisen. Bill Bellamy is sporting a clip-on bow-tie. We begin with a "speed round" in which only four comics will advance? Alrighty, Louis Ramey vs. Jeff Dye. One minute for each comic to get in as many jokes as possible. They make it look as though Ramey scores early, Dye hits back late. But before judging, it's on to God's Pottery vs. Ron G. Oh boy. God's Pottery is going to be up for this challenge with the anti-Yo Momma jokes strategy, playing into their "Christian" ethic. They have Ron G off his guard. The look on his face is precious. Even his eyes are sighing. Marcus vs. Adam Hunter. Jim Tavare vs. Iliza Shlesinger. Paul Foot vs. Papa CJ. Esther Ku vs. Sean Cullen. They show Eisen really enjoying Cullen's joke of how Korean Ku's mom is, describing her body as both North and South Korea. The judging: Kennedy is claiming a few comics were telling really old Yo Momma jokes. Your four finalists in the challenge? First a commercial.
And another installment of Last Comic Driving, with Brit Lady Fearne Cotton "driving" contestant Stevie D. (btw, if you saw the repeat earlier this evening, they completely cut Brit Lady out of the picture for time, so boo, and oh, yeah, Stevie D. made some jokey jokes about long hair, but couldn't really hold my attention, did he hold yours?)
Grandma Lee from season 2 has the #7 joke? If it was so good, how come she didn't make it into the house, producers?
Your finalists in this challenge will be: Adam Hunter, God's Pottery, Jim Tavare and Sean Cullen. Oooh. This round is "you're such a hack" jokes! Hunter says fighting God's Pottery is like fighting Borat, and Borat, er, God's Pottery makes it to the finals. Cullen vs. Tavare. Tavare references Carrot Top! So it's God's Pottery vs. Tavare in the Main Event.
#6 "all-time best" features Doug Benson's joke about being "inconvenienced" on his way to a convenience store by a guy asking if Benson was going to Hell. Yay!
The Main Event is anything goes, but make it funny. Will God's Pottery succumb to temptation? What do you think. The winner of immunity is Jim Tavare.
Back at the house, Tavare makes dinner and Foot runs around like he's Rowan Atkinson, and he might look like the Mr. Bean man, but he's just not the same. Plus acting like Bean isn't going to win you any friends in this house. We get a peek at a graveyard set where the comedians will make their showdown nominations.
And we're back to Ku's laughter, suggesting she'll come up for votes. Marcus does a Christopher Walken impersonation to describe Ku's laugh "as a tsunami of pure evil." Well, the fog machine at the cemetery is working, and Iliza can hear them playing a "Thriller" medley because she's the only one doing the dance. Bellamy brings up how comedians "kill" and "die" onstage, "so we thought it would be a great idea" to hold elimination votes in a cemetery! Get it? Three people get voted into a live audience showdown, and the audience picks the winner, leaving the other two comedians to hit the road.
#5 on the "all-time best" LCS joke list goes to Roz from season 4, who has a retort when her boss asks her why she's always late to work: "Because it makes the day go quicker!" Oh, that Roz. She has issues!
The votes pile up for Ku! So she gets to pick her two opponents. Ku picks God's Pottery and Iliza Shlesinger. Ramey is shocked! Shocked! Rut-RO! We could have both of the ladies going home in the first episode...really...Ku says she didn't like how Shlesinger went after her laugh. And in the tease, we see that Ku's set is the one I had on my site two months earlier, and that the winner of this three-way (er, make that three-act, four-way) got 68 percent of the vote.
Dwayne Perkins from season 5 gets #4 on the "all-time best" LCS joke parade. Wait. He didn't make it in the house either? What gives, producers! Are you trying to make up for past transgressions here or something? Lavell Crawford, runner-up on season 5, jokes about being fat and breathing hard, and that gets him the third "all-time best" LCS joke.
Shlesinger oozes confidence in her backstage interviews with producers. This is a really interesting showdown, and Ramey points out that you should not underestimate Ku because the audience votes on who they like as much as who has the best jokes. Plus, you've got an audience deciding between two attractive but less experienced female stand-ups and a Christian acoustic parody act. I could not predict how they would vote. Yikes. The other finalists get to watch on a monitor. As mentioned previously, we've already seen Ku's showdown performance. It gets a mixture of big laughs and weird groan laughs, as audience members try to figure out if they can laugh at some of her jokes. Her Taco Bell joke doesn't quite work and closing on M*A*S*H, eh. Even the other finalists are not sure what to make of her chances. But more commercials before we see Ku's competition. Plus, we still have the top two LCS jokes of "all time" to discover, again. God's Pottery beckons, "if you put on your partici-pants, put them on!" The audience claps instinctively and immediately. I really would have loved to see God's Pottery take on Papa CJ. Maybe we'll get to see that because the audience is singing along. Another good sign for Team Jesus.
Season 4 winner Josh Blue gets the second-best joke by blaming his Republican vote on his palsy arm.
Shlesinger says she has deer legs, and it's still somewhat sexy. Her ditzy girl voice comes out. They like her dinosaur getting hit by a rock look, and I gotta tell you, it's a good look. But I wouldn't hit Iliza with a rock. Not unless she threw one at me first. Even then, probably not. I'm a writer, not a fighter. The nine boys in the back of the room back home think Shlesinger nailed it. What did you think? With the fewest number of votes, first one out is God's Pottery! Oh, no! It's for the best, fellas. Who crushed it? Iliza Shlesinger, that's who! She did nail it. Sorry, Ku. The rest of the final 10 appear onstage, and Bellamy tries to call them "the funniest 10 folks in the country," which isn't even geographically correct, let alone anywhere near to the truth, and even the finalists know that. Shlesinger obviously made a statement to the remaining guys. Next week, we'll get to see Carrot Top! I think Shlesinger will be safe for the next week, at least, because who wants to face her after that trouncing? Papa CJ and Paul Foot, however, may need to watch their steps. Ron G seems a little unsure of himself, too. Jeff Dye, of course, is the kid. What I'm saying is Ramey and Marcus seem like tough competition, Tavare is a wildcard, and Hunter and Cullen could go either way. And If the producers want to give me a hint, that'd be cool, too.
Oh, and speaking of which, the producers picked season 5 winner Jon Reep as having the best joke ever on LCS with a punchline about the redneck version of red, white and blue.
After all of this, we have come to this...the second semifinal round in Las Vegas, where another 16 stand-ups will be cut down to five (make that seven) finalists for the sixth season of Last Comic Standing. Time to deadblog it now! Esther Ku tells the NBC cameras if she makes the final five, she will cry onstage...so get ready for that in about two hours. Oh, look, little people impersonations of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and Kiss. This should be a fun 118 minutes, right? Belzer and Schirripa are back as judges.
First up, Marcus. Adam Sandler and Al Pacino? More foreshadowing, people. Wait. What's this? A routine on the Willy Wonka movie being both great and scary. These are not celebrity voices, per se. Maybe this is how Marcus won the Seattle comedy contest last fall. Closes with a song suggesting the Oompa Loompas get sent for Britney Spears. Schirripa begs for impersonations. So we get: Christopher Walken. Out of all the ones to pick. Walken. Not that the audiences minds one bit as they're crazy for Marcus. Two standing ovations. One in. Who are the other four? Stay tuned. If you want to see 20 minutes of Marcus from the Seattle contest, then ta...da!
Dan Cummins is next, pre-show informing us how the power of primetime TV can turn his current fan base of about 40 per show into several hundred. He tells the audience he has "brought three minutes of great jokes." What tattoo would he get on his face? That's one of several premises that works.
Iliza Shlesinger is now billed as hailing from Dallas, which, considering she lives in L.A., is another sign that NBC (and perhaps Shlesinger) are marketing her for a wider audience. She says backstage she's here to win. Her MySpace profile says she is 25. That is young for stand-up comedy. Then again, I know at least one guy that young who already is brilliant. Just saying. Let's cut to a commercial.
Eddie Pepitone! Opens with a fairly ordinary yet relatable joke about being big enough that when he drops something, he now has to wonder whether it's worth trying to pick it up. He has two cats, and talks to them. He also gets heckled and wonders what it would be like if he got heckled by someone who really knew him. This bit I have seen him do and it is sublime. But is this enough? He'd certainly liven up the comedian house.
Papa CJ came all the way from New Delhi, India, to be here. He opens with an outsourcing joke. Take that, Americans! He directs one joke to a guy in the front row, getting into a crouch to deliver a comeback that wasn't prompted just so he can joke about Hindu reincarnation. Hmmm. OK. Backstage, he tells sparkly Brit lady that he had a lovely time. Lovely.
This week on Last Comic Driving, it's Erik Griffin! I believe I met him in Las Vegas last fall during The Comedy Festival. Not that you care. He's OK. It's not up to me. It's up to you kids and your secret online ballots.
Belzer and Schirripa loved Stone & Stone in the New York auditions. Will the love continue? There already is one duo in the house, and so I'm going to vote no. Even though the audience doesn't seem to mind the twins talking over each other all the time. But the cameras cut to a middle-aged guy with his arms crossed. Belzer reiterates his love for the fellas. So to speak.
This next person, Bellamy tells us, may be "the next great voice in comedy." It's Mary Mack. And no, fans of Maria Bamford, Mack and Bamford are not alike, just because their speaking voices sound that way. They are both great. But different. Bamford's voices help her tell her story. Mack is about off-kilter jokes. And musical instruments. "Rural is a word you can say both drunk and sober," Mack tells us. And she tells her mom: "If you didn't want me to be a comedian, you shouldn't have boozed it up in your fourth trimester!" Give it up for Mary Mack, everybody. Schirripa calls her "a great writer" but then says she makes him sleepy. Lasagna also has that effect on him.
Bob Biggerstaff is up next. He misses pagers. Who knew? He's not as much of a fan of the cummerbund. He's doing well, but the cameras aren't telling us that -- they're saying he's just doing OK, but not well enough for a slot in the house. "I killed it," Biggerstaff jokes as he walks offstage.
The next comic is desperate? That's what Bellamy says. It's Louis Ramey from Atlanta. The tallest man in Singapore. By the way, if you want to know who's still in the race for Last Comic Standing, a visit to their MySpace profile offers hints, such as, oh, they put Last Comic Standing in their titles and headlines. Now Ramey is doing the same jokes he did in his short routine in the New York City regionals. Which means he was right in the pre-show interview when he said he really, really wants to win. He will tell the jokes he feels he needs to get to the next level.
Sean Cullen also really wants to win. Well, don't they all, when it comes down to it? Cullen is Canada's last hope in this competition. He is not afraid to go after the "whatever happens in Vegas" slogan. And a song. About porn. Another comic who crouches down to play to the front row in a crowd of thousands. Interesting choice. But as I know and you know and now we know, Cullen played a big Vegas stage last fall for the Ellen Degeneres variety show that was part of The Comedy Festival.
John Evans from Minneapolis will prove to the kids that he really is a stand-up comedian. Even if someone thinks he looks like Count Chocula. He's married, so he doesn't really care what you think. Cut to cleavage! We'll be seeing him at breakfast, at least.
Heath Hyche describes his act as a one-man sketch energy show. He's got props, people. And voices. He told us he wants us to rethink what comedy is all about. Done. Belzer and Schirripa are not having any of it. We them shake their heads in shame. Don't they know Hyche appeared on the sketch TV version of Blue Collar TV? Belzer says he is "allergic to ethnic stereotyping in 2008." Wonder what he'll say after Ku's performance? Of course you do. You're spellbound at this point. But you'll have to wait through at least another commercial break, or two, or more.
Ku is next. Esther Ku to you. She opens by joking about how she can sleep in class and no one would know. Jokes about not being able to tell fellow Koreans apart. Hey, a joke about putting a "Made in Korea" sticker on her brother's butt isn't self-hating. A lot of guys want to buy her dinner. Would you? Schirripa would, although he deflects it to the crowd. Belzer reveals his crush. He says, if you make fun of your own ethnicity, it's cool by him. So that explains that. Wonder what he'd think of her black jokes?
Jackie Kashian cannot wait to use a big bag of money as a doorstop after she wins. She is not from Milwaukee, but from South Milwaukee. Make a note of it. She is mouthy because her parents were funny. As a kid, she wanted to be blind so she could get a dog. Want to know what her parents thought about that? You really should be watching the show. Her parents really do sound crazy. You'll have to wait to find out more about that, though.
Pete Lee moved away from the Midwest so he could go back to the Midwest and make it through to the semis in Las Vegas. I just heard Lee will get to do a half-hour Comedy Central Presents later this summer, so that's a consolation prize already (if he needs a consolation prize). Opens with jokes about his name as a car horn. Baseball. Sex in a car wash?
Lastly, Jim Tavare from the U.K., and he got decked out for this, in tails, with his big ol' bass. He can show you after, if you'd like. He was part of The Sketch Show, which means I probably even saw him back in 2002 in Aspen. But all of my memories of that are fuzzy. Belzer says "very, very good." Did you know Tavare had a TV show back in the day named for him that also featured Ricky Gervais? Now you know.
Which means one more break and we're ready to announce our final finalists, right? Right.
Moving on and moving into a house together in Hollywood...Marcus! Jim Tavare! Esther Ku! Papa CJ! Sean Cullen! There are two tickets left? Oh, OK then. Iliza Shlesinger! Louis Ramey! How very international, this group.
They join the other finalists: God's Pottery, Adam Hunter, Rob G, Paul Foot and Jeff Dye.
Coming soon: Yo Momma jokes in a boxing ring, silly outfits, Ku's laugh, challenges and more. Come back next Thursday!
After catching up with a friend and finally seeing the new weekly Williamsburg comedy show, Big Terrific, which under the control of hosts Gabe & Jenny and Max Silvestri, and in the venue of Sound Fix Records lounge, is fairly big and terrific, I get home and what to my wondering eyes should appear on my DVR but a newly recorded episode of Last Comic Standing! So. On with the show.
Did they really have host Bill Bellamy record an intro in Las Vegas for an episode that teases to Las Vegas? I believe they did. Ack. Cue the planes! The planes, boss. The planes.
Before gas cost a gabillion dollars, you could fly comedians from around the world into Miami to perform at the Improv in front of two of the lesser-known co-stars of 30 Rock. This is true, because it's on my TV right now. Apparently, the "top international comics" from five continents and 20 countries are here, because that's what Bellamy says in a voice-over, but I do not believe this to be true. The Brit lady is wearing stereotypical costumes (sort of, but not really) to welcome our international guests from Japan, Argentina (I pretend her shirt is see-through and it gives me something to occupy the seconds before), New Zealand (a sheep outfit, really?), Turkey (now we're talking...Turkey), India (oh, Fearne), even the producers have gotten bored enough with this conceit to skip ahead to the judges.
Stephen K. Amos is from London. England. Got it. Apparently, if you have a dark skin color but speak with a British accent, that can cause confusion for people in Harlem, and make the judges laugh. Alrighty then. You have your standard. Can anyone cross it?
The Irish lady who almost won American Idol is here to compete. No, wait. It's just a lady who sounds eggsactly like her and looks kinda sorta like her. Close enough. NotIdol's name is Janice Phayre. But she really does sound and sorta look like the twin of the real NotIdol. And this perplexes me. How about the judges? Oh, they haven't seen Idol yet this season, because they're on tape-delay. I win? Her sight gag gets laughs. Easy peasy, eh?
Wait just a not cotton-pickin second here (did you know I actually did pick cotton one summer? true story!). You do not mean to tell me that they flew in all of these comedians and still had them wait outside on the sidewalk for hours? And yet they did. But here is the good doktor cocacolamcdonalds, who actually does recognize our Brit girl and sings a song for her to tell us who in the heck she is. What was the thing she did with the little bear? I sincerely would like to know. Google? However. This program already informed us careful viewers (and anyone who reads this site) that the doktor ended up in this season's "best of the worst" showcase, so before he steps onstage, we know the judges will not quite know what to do with him. Poor doktor. Lonny Ross calls him "Gene Simmons on acid." Actually, I'd take that as a compliment. Wouldn't you?
Janelle Koenig is from Melbourne, Australia. Maybe I should be on acid. Uh-oh. Here comes a "lost in translation" montage, and Ken Suzuki from Japan, Bernard O'Shea from Ireland, Desmond Clarke from Scotland, Yossi Tarablus from Israel all get victimized. Papa CJ is from India. "Just look at the disappointment!" he says. Yes. Just look. You know what. I know a guy named Kumail Nanjiani who grew up in Pakistan. He is quite funny. He moved to America, went to college in Iowa, then did comedy in Chicago, lives in New York now. You should look at him instead. You're welcome. Meanwhile, back at the League of Injustice, Papa CJ makes it through to the showcase, as Bellamy says, due to "good karma." Oh. No. NBC is paying people to write those voiceovers, by the way.
Oh, goody good goodness. If I can make it through these commercials, I'm promised "Israel's answer to Carrot Top." That won't have me changing no channel. No, no! That and the fact that I promised you a blog recap.
Kojo from Ghana is a teacher. The judges thinks he'll win if he slows it down. What do you think? It doesn't matter what you think, silly. It was a decent enough joke about motherly discipline. Moving on. French comic Arnaud Collery is here to improve our perception of the French. So he pokes fun at himself. Lonny wants to see how the crowd will react to him. Jim Tavare from London does comedy with a double bass. Take that. Brit lady cohost looks cute on skates. Brit Muslim comic lady not as cute in all black. Shazia Mirza. Was she on that 60 Minutes special about Muslim comics a while back? Tell me Google. That's a yes. OK. Back to the action. Lonny's advice? Her technique of telling joke after joke should work in a comedy setting. Thank you for that, Lonny. Funny booth means early bathroom break. You can quote me on that. Danielle Ward is from England and obsessed with Siamese twins. That's enough. Here is the Israeli Carrot Top, doing a bit offstage that he'll do onstage, as Lioz Shem Tov does what he wants. Prop comedy always translates, doesn't it? Oh....
Last Comic Driving this week is Alycia Cooper. And she's fine with it. But she doesn't even try talking to anyone in the back two rows of seats in that Honda Pilot. How can they hear her? That's not important right now. Stop asking questions. We still have an hour of show to go.
Sam from Armenia, also from previously on the "best of the worst." These judges, out of all of the prelim cities, really did laugh out loud more than the others and enjoyed playing along with the horrible auditions as much as the mediocre ones. Englishman Paul Foot has a secret society? Split decision over Foot's Jesus not much of a carpenter bit. Twins. Twins! The Nelsons. No, not those Nelsons. They're from Australia. Twin jokes. They're going to beg for the showcase. And...awkward. Tony Hendricks from Jamaica is, as he says, "a pigment of your imagination." Uh. Yeah. Montage of people who don't even get IDs. Will John Maloney, just by being identified with a name and a location (England), turn this ship around? Apparently. Now for the showcase...
OK. Before we comment on the showcase. They jump-cut all over the place and the guy from Ghana has a shirt on with two opposite-facing arrows. Up says The Man. Down says The Legend. I type this because I'm pretty sure in one of those Mike Myers interviews I referenced earlier he says he had Justin Timberlake's character wear a shirt like this. OK? OK. It has been noted.
A reminder. These are the foreign-born comics who could be convinced to do the show. And with that, Shazia is shown first (or, for my journalistic tradition, Mirza is shown first). "It doesn't say anything in the Koran about Ecstasy." Good. To. Know. Maloney points out German is not sexy compared to Spanish or Italian. Amos? Irish NotIdol? Is Foot ready to pounce? Are you ready for "Baby Onboard" jokes? Israeli Carrot Top repeats jokes for laughs. Including a "near...far" Grover joke I heard in a contest I was in 10 years ago. Time for ads. Tavare is up next with musical accompaniment. What's French guy got? No shirt, that's what. Mais non. Mon Dieu. Kojo has his mojo to worry about. Chris Radburn is from Australia and you haven't seen him until now and he wonders why people in boats wave at one another. Good question. Fishing also is like dating. He says so. Papa CJ the India Indian starts with a 7-11 joke, segues to a Hindu reincarnation bit. Also says being Indian means he'll win any reality-TV call-in vote. In-ter-est-ing.
Tickets to the semis go to...Shazia Mirza! (not surprised, except when she talks about getting exposure on American television, because, really, so many more people saw her on 60 Minutes than saw this episode of LCS) Jim Tavare! (so he didn't travel this far for nothing, sort of) Paul Foot! Lioz Shem Tov! (who says prop comedy is dead?) Papa CJ! Did you see any of that coming?
So now we get to see the 32 semifinalists, and yes, did you do the math?