Thursday, August 30, 2007

Last Comic Standing, season 5, episode 5

Aren't you all excited?! It's the Last Comic Standing semi-final round where 16 contestants out of the 32 performed in Hollywood, California. They only chose 5 out of the 16. Such a tough call. This time, however, they had a special guest judge: Tom Arnold! Even though he didn't say or do much of anything (like his career of the past 8 years), it was still an interesting change of pace.
And here was Bill Bellamy's chance to shine. As the host, he was allotted some time to perform. He starts by saying that when he was a kid, there was no childproofing the house; if the kid touched a hot oven, "It's childproofed now...he learned his lesson." I'm conflicted whether or not to tell Elvira Kurt that I saw her material on national television. He ended his set with, "Are you ready for some comedy?!"

Yeah...I've been ready for the past month that this SHIT SHOW has been on!

John Caparulo:
This guy really does look like a Cabbage Patch doll. If you don't believe me, go look at his cheeks. Either he's storing food for the winter or he's got a serious facial defect. His jokes come from such a simple, and uninteresting, point of view. The comics that normally leave an impression on me talk about life and have depth to their stories: relationships of different kinds, pain, everyday occurrences, etc. Not about why fat guys put everything on a sandwich! Not to mention his stage presence is awkward at best; scratching his head the entire time during his act was very distracting (not that I HAD to be distracted from anything funny he was saying). His "clueless idiot" persona reminded me somewhat of Mitch Fatel and while I'm not a huge Fatel fan, it worked better on him.

Deborah DiGiovani: If Rachael Ray ate Emeril Lagasse, you'd get this woman. Her enthusiasm is sickening, her energy is overwhelming, and...well...she's just not funny. "Winter is the season of sleeves"?? I'll admit it's sort of clever...but it didn't help her setup or punchline: the fact that the skinny girls get the attention in the summer because they get to show off their body. If any of you saw Grease, you remember that girl from the high school who Rizzo hated and she was so happy and excited about EVERYTHING? Keep her in mind when you watch Deborah DiGiovani...oh...and bring scraps of food to toss at her so she doesn't attack.

Tommy Johnagin: Now he was a change of pace. Although (in my opinion) if this guy had more energy, he'd be more interesting to watch... he was still one of the better ones. His jokes were varied and cover different subjects, and all the while showed us who he was through them and made us relate to him: some slightly wimpy guy with glasses who's a bit self-deprecating. This came through also in his timing as he was methodical and took his time. No rushing, no screaming, no over-emphasizing the punchline. My favorite joke of his was that someone he knew owned a gun (for self-defense) but it could shoot something 300 yards away. Johnagin commented that it's not self-defense if the victim is three football fields away: "Is that guy coming at me with a knife...or carving a turkey in his own kitchen?" Very refreshing.

Dante: You know, I haven't seen The Wizard of Oz in maybe 15 years, and now that movie is probably ruined for me thanks to this impressionist. He had no jokes at all...his setup was that his daughter loved this movie and wondered what it would be like if Jack Nicholson was Dorothy, Gilbert Godfrey was the Tin Man, Christopher Lloyd was the Scarecrow, and Robert DeNiro was the Wizard. Now once in a while, I enjoy impressions (especially if they're dead on), but the comedian has to do it right. He has to have jokes intertwined with the impressions; the impressions have to be a necessity to make the joke work, not be an add-on to the joke OR be the joke itself. Frank Caliendo does this perfectly...Dante did not.

Joe DeVito: Hmm, maybe this show has taken a turn for the better. I liked this one too. He had this nerdy quality about him, but his sharp intelligence kept me interested. I liked that he had a variety of jokes…it wasn't just all about dating, or being a guy, or…having glasses (which he did). He spoke about his looks (commented that he gets mistaken for the Verizon Wireless guy), his Italian heritage, and people who act like everyday is the last day of their life. He said he would spend it on a respirator if that was the case.

Gina Yashere: What I've noticed about this British woman is that she must be very proud of her Nigerian background…every joke I've seen from her deals with her Nigerian mother. Apparently, Nigerian mothers are very strict, tough, and SO different from any mothers on the planet. Now, I think Yashere had pretty good timing, but I wish she'd show us more of herself and her life besides her mom.

Lawrence Mooney: Another contestant from Australia. This guy didn't have a real strong set; he bordered on hack material, discussing the differences between men and women in terms of body esteem issues. When a woman looks in the mirror, she hates what she sees…when a man looks in the mirror, he loves what he sees. Wow…what an eye opener. He also discussed how pantyhose are scary when the woman takes the skirt off. I think his delivery was strong, but the topics just didn't hold up for me.

Sarah Colonna: I'm going to admit something: I'm very sexist against women comics. It's terrible, but the awful truth is that the ratio of women to men comics is very wide and good women comics are far and few between. Whenever a woman comes onstage, I'll admit, she has to try a lot harder to impress me (very weird considering I'M A WOMAN!). But again…the terrible truth is that most of the time…they're bad! This woman wasn't the worst I've seen…but she wasn't that impressive either. Her jokes weren't that clear; she said that there would be only 2 places her vibrator could be if she couldn't find it. Maybe I'm just dumb, but I didn't get it.

Dwayne Kennedy: I remember a time when it was a rule that you couldn't be on LCS if you'd been on David Letterman, Jay Leno or basically have been on television at all. That certainly changed…especially considering this guy is on here. I remember seeing him years ago on Premium Blend and Comedy Central Presents; he definitely has an established career. I can see why, too. On stage, he's very comfortable and solid, has a direct point of view, his voice is clear; all the makings of a comic that's been doing this for years…and he has! He's probably one of the more experienced comics on the show and while his joke topics weren't that innovative, his skills made him tolerable.

Spencer Brown: I have never had the luck to know or see how the stand-up comedy scene is in England…but if Spencer Brown is a peek into it…I don't ever want to step foot into a British club. He first came out with a banana peel, placed in on the stage, and pretended to almost slip on. Now I could see that this was a parody in itself of "comedy," and that this really wasn't his act. He obviously wasn't that goofy or stupid…I spoke too soon. His movements were way too big and I don't know how they do it in England, but as an American, I was not used to so much energy. I feel like if he didn't speak a word through his entire act, it was so close to pantomime, that I still would have understood it.

Tracey Ashley: I thought this woman had a strong voice and good presence, but she wasn't really anything to remember. She talked about how she had a white boyfriend who, because of his job, comes home and tells her odd facts. He told her how most of the deaths in Africa are due to hippos. This woman reenacted how she would die that way. Just one day, standing at the ATM and seeing a hippo. See how I said it wasn't that great?

Ralph Harris: Just like Dwayne Kennedy, this man has been in the business for so long. Years ago, he was on Comedy Central Presents and Premium Blend. No doubt he's been on all the late night talks shows. He's normally not all that bad, but this time, his whole act was him imitating his grandfather. It works somewhat with John Leguizamo…not with this guy. I know he's got better material than that.

Sabrina Matthews: And this theme seems to continue. Sabrina was another comic I saw years ago on television and I was actually quite happy to see her have such national exposure. Unfortunately, and I'm not sure if this was the editing or her fault, but all I saw were lesbian jokes. Sabrina Matthews is such an intelligent comic; that's the one trait, among many, that comes off solid and strong: her intelligence and sarcasm is what makes her act wonderful. As I said, I was very disappointed when all they showed was her talking about her being a lesbian.

Adam Vincent: This guy…just…kept…SCREAMING! It really wouldn't stop. He came out and started screaming about how he's excited to be in America; then started screaming about how he's shooting all his love to the audience; then CONTINUED screaming all his jokes. I was so upset when I looked in my nightstand to find that I had no earplugs...and no bleach to drink.

Lori Chase: This woman has clearly made an act out of being the poor man's April Macie. She was so overly cheery, while trying to be edgy and shocking. Case in point, she said how she had her first mugging a little while ago and "boy, was that tourist surprised." That kind of outcome wasn't believable for her persona. She should be talking about short shorts and small penises…not stealthy stealing from an innocent bystander. She did mention that she had a husband who she thinks turned gay…already, I can assume she'll get a CCP special just based on that alone.

Doug Benson: I have no qualms expressing my hatred for this guy as a comic. I'm sure in real-life, he's very nice and polite. But the alternative style on this guy annoys the hell out of me! I have never liked him and every time I see him, I find him awkward and unfunny. His act for this episode was no different. He spoke about when he was on a rollercoaster at Disneyworld, he gave the camera (that snaps a picture of you on the ride) the finger. Sure, sounds like a funny idea…but it just wasn't.

Wow, was that an ordeal. The five finalists they chose were:
Deborah DiGiovanni, Dante, Gina Yashere, Ralph Harris, and Doug Benson.

I think it's safe to say that I wouldn't have been happy with whoever they chose (I just hate this show so much). I am upset that the actual good ones like Sabrina Matthews or Tommy Johnagin didn't make it through, but it IS Last Comic Standing. I've said it then, and I'll say it now: if you have talent, you won't make it on this show.

Original post date: July 21st, 2007]

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