In real life, maybe you audition a few months ago for a comedy competition that's going to be televised everywhere in America and beyond. Maybe your audition goes well. Maybe it goes well enough that you get asked to perform again at a live audience showcase, and then that goes well enough that you receive a red-ticket envelope to perform again in Hollywood. So maybe, just maybe, you're excited to see yourself on television and so are your friends, family and loved ones. So what happens when you and they turn on the TV and, an hour later, are wondering, did we and they blink and miss you? Hold that thought.
Because we're living by TV producers' rules. And in Last Comic Standing's seventh season, even when they say it's not business as usual, it's still show business. Last week, they edited the New York City auditions together to allow some comedians to get better treatment than they should have, while putting others in the background to tease you. What's doing for round two in NYC?
Well, first, host Craig Robinson tells us what happened previously on LCS, which was that nine comedians received tickets to the semifinals. Wait a minute! Nine??? That cannot be right, no matter how you edit it, because they let 12 people through on the night I watched live and in person, and apparently another 12 in the other showcase, so already, you and I know that there are going to be some comedians who were happy a few months ago, but who are going to be much less happy tonight.
Cue the actual and the artificial tension!
Brian McKim -- for people born before the Y2K bug wiped out the first version of the Internet, you may know him as "The Male Half" of Shecky Magazine -- gets the first uncredited one-liner of the evening, followed by a montage of comedians we should expect to be seeing later in the hour. By the way, if anyone has been watching all of the pre-season promos, Robinson is sneaking in his proposed catchphrase mantra for the season: "Be about it!"
We officially start the night off with Jerry Rocha, from Dallas, who says he has been a professional stand-up for eight years, and vows to hug anyone and everyone if he doesn't advance. He jokes with the judges about his racist uncle who doesn't quite get racial jokes. Our judges are given the superimposed title of "Comedy Jurist" this evening, which sounds much more foreboding than before, when they were judges. Now they're judges and jury? Me no get it. But me still likey Andy Kindler, Natasha Leggero and Greg Giraldo, so me no stop recapping. Calise Hawkins apparently is from Illinois (I know her as a Jersey girl, where she lives now, while you simply know her as a single mother with a big Afro!), and she takes us into her home with her daughter, and how adorable are they? Kindler isn't a big fan of her material about a homeless guy on the subway, but he and Giraldo both think she's a good performer, and Leggero enjoyed it, so Hawkins gets another chance to perform. Mike Vecchione jokes about his New York City cop look, and I know and you know and we know that he is funny, and even Leggero, who happened to see Vecchione the other night at the Comedy Cellar agrees. Who wants a pretzel?
Zed is the future of stand-up comedy? Somebody better tell Ron Lynch about this competing comedy robot. "Is this a character you're doing?" Giraldo asks. A woman has a whip on the sidewalk. For some reason. Kindler talks about clowns and jugglers, and jokes about all comedians starting out as novelty acts. You remember Lenny Bruce the sword swallower, right? Kindler prefers seeing a comedian sweat. Take that, deodorant ad!
Kyle Grooms doesn't have to worry about that. He did an Obama impersonation in the early TV ads for this season, and he does it for the judges, too. Giraldo says he is not a fan of impersonations but knows that that's not a big part of Grooms' act, so no worries. He's through.
We're one week away from the reboot of NBC's Last Comic Standing for season seven, with new host Craig Robinson, new judges Andy Kindler, Natasha Leggero and Greg Giraldo, and new contestants. So how about a few new online-only preview clips? Sounds great!
Stuckey and Murray kick off this first clip, which also features appearances and/or performances from the host and judges talking about how it's legit now, plus Tommy Johnagin and Felipe Esparza. Roll it!
Here's a clip of Craig Robinson hosting in what could be the intro to next week's premiere...followed by performances by Maronzio Vance, Kirk Fox, Tiffany Haddish, among others. Roll that clip.
And here is Andy Kindler talking up the season, with a clip of Jonathan Thymius. Taking it to the next level! Roll the clippy clip!
Do you ever wonder what song is playing during the montage of your favorite TV drama? No need to Google it. No need to Bing it, either. Our friends Stuckey & Murray have done the work for you, and here they are (or here they were Monday night at the ECNY Awards) to present their findings.
Great job, fellas. They should have won an award just for this. If you like it and you want to put your ka-ching on it, this song will be on Stuckey & Murray's new album, expected sometime this summer.
Christmas is coming, and who cares if the goose is getting fat, because where are the comedy audiences? Probably off to their families, much like the comedians themselves. But the holidays also tend to bring comedians together, too, with holiday-themed parties, shows and sketches. Tonight in New York City, you have several opportunities for holiday ha-ha-hoedowns. Yes, really. Such as and therefore like (sorry, watching a repeat of VH1's Best Year Ever whilst typing not a good idea) here are a few shows you might want to mark on your calendar, except that it's tonight, so no need for calendar-marking...
Auntie Sara's Big-Ass X-Mas Spectacular and Afterparty, 7 p.m. at Ochi's Lounge, downstairs from Comix -- hosted by Sara Benincasa, with Oren Brimer, Ces Marciuliano, Diana Saez, Sean Lynch and Pat Stango
The Apple Sisters Holidoozy of a 1940s Christmas radio show, 7 p.m. at The PIT
Holiday Dazzles, 8 p.m. at the UCB, hosted by Eliza Skinner and Carolyn Castiglia, and featuring Adira Amram, Ann Carr, Katina Corrao, Jessica Delfino, Becky Drysdale, Robert Keller, Nate Kushner, Tom Middleditch, Matt McCarthy, Glennis McMurray, the New York Neo-Futurists, Mindy Raf, Mike Still and more.
And finally, last but not least as they say, it's the Greg Johnson and Larry Murphy Christmas Show, starting sometime in the 8 o'clock hour at Rififi, with Andy Blitz, Chelsea Peretti, Bobby Tisdale, Santa Claus, Brian Kiley, Mike Burns (on his last night in NY) and special surprises.
But what about last night, you ask? Last night I got to see some of this holiday razzle dazzlematazz up close and in person, thanks to the Slightly Buzzed show put on by Jon Friedman and Stuckey & Murray (no Stuckey this night, as he's off to Alabama). First up, The Apple Sisters. I'd heard more than slight buzz about these three ladies, and they lived up to it last night with their musical ode to Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus and the Three Wise Men. They pack a wallop, these three! Fast, fun, full of surprises. Here's a photo that barely captures that:
Sean Crespo followed with a Christmas miracle story about rescuing a small bird from the clutches of Central Park South. Murray, sans Stuckey, sang a love song for a Jew. Eliza Skinner presented one of her hilarious theatrical pieces from her one-woman show, Eliza Skinner is SHAMELESS! Adam Wade didn't talk so much about the holidays as he provided evidence that while he may have peaked in the sixth grade, he's still scrappy. Scrappy-Doo! Adira Amram and Ann Carr presented something so wild that if I were to have photographed it, the picture would've blown your mind. They'll be performing their Christmas sketch again tonight at the UCB, so you can go see it there and then. Let's just paint the opening for you, though: Amram is Hal the Square Snowman, and Carr is Randy the Red-Balled Reindeer.
Friedman, for his part, showed a short film that he'd written the screenplay for in college. Sean W. Cunningham filmed it. And it is "Santa Claus and the Jew." Friedman read some of the YouTube comments for it and offered that perhaps the comments would be different if they knew his backstory on it. It's about Friedman wondering why, as a child, Santa never visited his house. In the video, the explanation, and the truth, hurts.
After the jump, a photo of Jon Friedman and I in happier, sunnier times!
Name-dropping works. At least the first time. Thanks, Stuckey & Murray. Their show, Slightly Buzzed, is tonight at Rififi. This is their ode to people they know in New York City and environs. I wonder how many of the people referenced therein already have managed to mention it on their blogs and appropriate MySpace and Facebook pages...(note: they don't mention me, so hahaha! I'm still undercover, brother! but not really)