Thursday, July 24, 2008

Last Comic Standing: Third Elimination Episode

Before I begin I owe a huge apology to Iliza Shlesinger. I have been spelling your name wrong for two weeks and I am so sorry about that. I am usually rather particular about getting names right, having grown up with "Cayley" being oh so butchered left and right. However, you may see me slip an Eliza in once and a while. Don't take it personally, a lot of people google Eliza Shlesinger and I don't want to lose that traffic. And now I think that probably took care of that search parameter for this week.

Tonights episode opens with the male comics plotting not to vote for Iliza because, as Louis Ramey so accurately points out, the more she gets exposed, the more the show is about her; if she wins another round, she will win the competition easily. The other guys don't seem to be going for it. I agree with Jeff Dye that it should be about who is the funniest and that the funniest comic should win. But if that was what the show was about, Jeff, Dat Phan never would have won Season One. He won the competitions because the audiences didn't realize he only had that one set that he kept doing over and over, and he won the national audience because everybody saw him crying in his bed/desk, and getting picked on by the other comics week in and week out. Exposure. People picked the name they remembered. At least that's the only reason that could possibly explain his win to me.

Japanese Restaurant Challenge: Normally they have some kind of cutesy name for the challenge but this little afterthought of airtime was apparently so slapped together they didn't bother to come up with one. Meanwhile: Comedy and Teppanyaki? Have I died and gone to heaven? And would that make it Comedyaki? They are performing to different tables of special guests that include Female Body Builders, some Deal or No Deal girls, some Sigma Pi fraternity brothers from an undisclosed college, and a "handful" of little people. I... I can't even tell you how it went. There were some rapid fire clips of jokes gone well, jokes fallen flat, the obligatory clip reel thing with funny voices and faces and gestures and poses... it was like the producers wanted us to know, "They did these great bits, but we ran out of time, so you know all the comedy gold that could have been panned out of this incredible collection of comedians and audience members? Yeah, we're not going to show it to you." By the way, this whole bit ran from minute three of the show to minute seven. They condensed the whole challenge to four minutes of airtime. Why bother doing it? Especially since the raison d'etre of this week's first hour is boobs. Why spare those precious knockerless four minutes (less if you count the Deal or No Deal girls) when they could have gone straight for the hooters?

They arrive back at the Casa de Comedy anticipating their clue for their next challenge. They have been left a number of fake breasts; the kind that women might put into a bra to make themselves look bigger, or to perhaps do fill in duty after a mastectomy. Admittedly, it was funny to watch them fondling, er, handling these things and trying to figure out what they meant. My favorite was Sean Cullin's guess that they were headed to a really erotic synagogue. (If you didn't see it, think yarlmuke.) Of course the breasts mean that they are heading to the Playboy mansion to tell bedtime stories to Hef's three girlfriends. I mean, it was so obvious, duh!

After they roll up the mansion, but before host Bill Bellamy brings them inside he drops a little more information on them. Whichever comic wins this challenge wins immunity and will automatically move on to the final performance show in Las Vegas. The eight comics choose a number, which in turn gives them each a title of a bedtime story that they need to make up for Hugh Hefner's girlfriends: Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, and Kendra Wilkinson from E!'s The Girls Next Door. This was another strange and weak challenge, probably because it had that rushed sense to it yet again. I realize they can't show every single second of action, and I'm sure they had very little to work with considering the girls were a really tough crowd and the comics seemed ill prepared. They don't tell us how long they gave them to prepare, but I'm betting not much.

One quick note, I am going to combine my reviews of both the challenge and the performances to save some space and repetition. Anyway, after the story time, the Girls discussed the comics in a language of their own, made up of giggles, baby talk and their own special name for each of the comics, such as Tattoo, the Chick, Tall Vanilla Latte, and Dark Meat. I'll let your imagination work out who is who.

Bellamy gives them some more information about the next elimination. instead of everyone going back to the graveyard and voting for one of the group, because the non-immunity holding comics will all be performing for elimination of three of them, decided by America calling in their votes. That of course gets all kinds of mind-blown expressions from the comics, and for good reason. I on the other hand show nothing but disappointment. I really came to like the graveyard voting and the three way battles. It seems like such a waste to have only had it work that way for two weeks. Meanwhile, it's worth noting that the winner was announced at the 47 minute mark of the first hour. The next time jokes are told are at 7 minutes past the next hour. So they spent 20 minutes giving us commercial breaks, recaps of what we just saw, the comic's "last supper", interviews about how this will be so important to them to win, and shots of them writing in notebooks and computers. All this time I am screaming at my television, ALRIGHT ALREADY, NBC, GET ON WITH IT! I'm thinking we could have done with a little less angsty, repetitive interviews and had more Comedyaki. Just a thought.

Anyway, here's what I thought of all the performances, including the story challenge:

Marcus - Challenge story: All Dogs Go to Heaven But Grampa Didn't. He worked his magic on the ladies with his excellent impressions. He entertained the Girls. He may not have had a plot or an ending, but he entertained them. I gave it a 7 out of 10. He won the challenge and received immunity, so he did not have to perform in this weeks elimination.

Ron G - Challenge story: Jack and the Bean Stalker. He was completely infatuated with the Girls, especially Kendra, who giggled at everything he said. Bridget laughed politely. Holly stared blankly, but I don't think that was any reflection on Ron. As he was leaving Kendra called him over and he sat on the bed, asking her if she liked dark meat. Hence, from that moment forward, he was known as Dark Meat, in case you hadn't figured that one out. I gave the story a 1.5. Performance: His whole act was about how much things suck. It sucks to be single, it sucks to have no friends, it sucks the way women treat men. It was just so negative. I gave it a 4.

Adam Hunter - Challenge story: I'm The Same Age As My New Mommy. He talked and talked and made no sense. I never thought I'd ever have anything in common with the Girls Next Door, but he confused all four of us. He was pretty sure they liked him. I gave it a 0.5. Performance: It was a weak set, and the jokes were a little dated. He did a George Bush joke that criticized his Aids policy. Isn't there a war going on that he's getting a bit of flack about lately? I just don't find Adam very polished or very original. I gave it a 3.

Iliza Shlesinger - Challenge story: The Pirate, The T-Rex and the Grandma. She walked in, showing confidence and an awful lot of knowledge about the Girls' show. She told an actual story and used words they understood: their names. I thought she did the best job. I gave her a 9. Performance: This is her 3rd elimination show set in three weeks. She has told the other comics she is using all new material, stuff she has never tried on stage before. If this is true, it's risky. She does sound a a lot less confident delivering this set than in other weeks, but I'm still not sure what to believe. I give her a 7.5.

Sean Cullin - Challenge story: Dragon's Just Don't Understand. Way, way to much gay sex in this story. The way it was edited I think he went on way, way too long. It got a 2 from me. Performance: He started off with high energy and some silly (in a good way) jokes. Then he did a song about farmers that wasn't really all that funny. I found out this past week that Sean used to be a part of the comedy musical group called Corky and the Juice Pigs. So now I understand why he does almost all songs in his act. He got a 5 from me.

Jim Tavaré - Challenge story: Pretty People Always Get Their Way. So right there he's going in with the deck stacked against him. You can't make fun of pretty, spoiled people to women who make their living being beautiful and pampered! They turned on him of course. He may also have been too cerebral for them, and I'm pretty sure they thought he was the guy from The Hills Have Eyes. I gave him a 6. Performance: He had his usual relaxed way about him, with clever jokes, some of which were accompanied with sound effects on his double bass. I give him an 8.

Jeff Dye - Challenge story: Daddy Loves Mommy, Mommy Loves Lattes. He didn't make a lot of sense, trying to make all the characters coffee drinks, but he also used their names and they thought he was cute so they liked him. I gave him a 5. Performance: Started off pretty good, but the second part of the act about the homeless guy/spotting homeless people was exceptionally strong. I give him an 8.5.

Louis Ramey - Challenge story: The Princess Who Needed To Pee. He did a cute job with it and it ended it an actual punchline, and a funny one at that. I gave it an 8. Performance: This was a fantastic set. He is so comfortable to watch. He doesn't seem rushed at all, and his delivery is so well paced. In addition to all that, he has the best jokes on the show, hands down. He has a great twist to his observations. He gets a full 10 from me.

I'll be interested to see how the voting goes. So far my least favorite acts have all gone by some miraculous luck on my part. So if the Elimination Fairy is reading and wants to know who I deem should be booted, start with Ron G and Adam Hunter. Unfortunately a third one has to go as well, so I reluctantly vote for Sean Cullen. I love him in the house, in interviews, and in the challenges, but his songs? Not so much.

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