Reality Bites: Last Comic Standing 2 - House Episode 4
by Rachel Jaffe
Published: July 14, 2004
Ever since the comics entered the house ANT and his Cabal have been angling for the power. But last week, ANT himself was ousted by their intended target, Gary Gulman.
Still remaining in the house are:
1. Alonzo Bodden: A suave black comedian from New York -- think comedic Avery Brooks.
2. Gary Gulman: A tall, gorgeous, and Jewish comedian from Boston.
3. John Heffron: Gen X comic, just starting to grow up, from Detroit.
4. Corey Holcomb: A horndog black comedian from Chicago.
5. Jay London: Self-proclaimed "fourth guy from the left on the evolutionary chart" and schtick comic, from Los Angeles.
6. Kathleen Madigan: Wry comic from St. Louis.
7. Tammy Pescatelli: Sicilian comedian from Cleveland.
Gary's return to the house was met with a bit of disappointment from Tammy (who as Best Friends Forever with ANT), but joy from Kathleen, Corey and John (who was happy to have Gary back as "somebody to talk to; somebody to hold me in his strong arms" -- John, get out of my head!).
But another entry into the house met with even greater excitement. The comics were given a dog, named Rusty. From a viewer's point of view, this was nowhere near as entertaining as last season's rat hunt, but it was probably more enjoyable for the comics. And the dog sure made out -- everyone was feeding him. John remarked wryly, "If that dog wasn't here, I wouldn't be as hungry as I am right now." (You know, John is almost starting to remind me of Dave Mordal's nephew.)
Big Challenges Come In Small Packages
This week, it was Kathleen's turn to get the challenge clue from the fortune teller's booth. It read, "Get ready for your toughest challenge yet."
Approaching the challenge, the comics knew they'd be facing a tough crowd, and speculated that it could be gang members, or maybe prison inmates. Kathleen remarked, "I've concluded that we're going to have to be hilarious while we sell crack."
It turned out that the audience was a group of children -- maybe eight-year-olds. The comics had to dress up like clowns and make up fake personas, and the kids would vote for who would win immunity. (This is not to be confused with the surprisingly touching segment opening last season, where the comics each taught a kid a joke, not for competition but just as a project and for us to get to know the comics.)
John Heffron went first, as Marmaduke Stink, dressed on a skunk costume. I thought that John, with his frenetic energy, might do well here, but he ... well, stunk. He told the kids, "This is a 10-second joke that's got to last three minutes." Finally, he gave up on jokes and went for psychology. He told the kids to chant "skunk" after every comic, hoping that it would keep his image in their minds and they'd vote for him.
Gary Gulman came out as Simon Cheese, and bombed. He made a good effort, with a "Simon Says" routine, but it was, as he said, "funny to me; to you, much less."
Worse, was Jay London as Freddy the Firefighter. He came out with wings, a high-pitched voice, and introduced himself as "Freddy the Flame -- I'm flamboyant." Funny to me (and Gary); to them, much less. But the kids did chant "skunk."
Tammy came out as "Blue Hoo." The kids chanted "skunk." Corey came out as "Mr. Bootyscratcher," and his act had the best line of the night. Unfortunately for Corey, it wasn't his. He asked a kid what his parents did, and the kid replied, "Scream all night."
Alonzo was "Cleany the Genie," and gave it a good effort. Kathleen was "Lucky the Leprechaun," and went for a more direct approach, as compared to the broad act that a lot of the comics took.
The direct approach paid off, because Kathleen won (narrowly, though, beating John Heffron by one vote). In addition to immunity, she won a four-course meal at Noe restaurant. She got to invite two comics to go with her, so she selected Corey (since he'd taken her to Aspen when he'd won) and Gary (because she felt bad about having voted against him).
While Kathleen, Gary and Corey dined on halibut, salmon, and everything else on the menu, respectively, the comics left on the house dined on intrigue. Once again talk turned to voting strategy.
Tammy was not slowed at all by the loss of her compadre ANT. Even as she ate the grilled cheese sandwich Jay London prepared for her, Tammy conspired to get Jay out. (I guess with ANT gone, she didn't feel any loyalty to the old alliance of her, ANT, Jay and Alonzo.) She worked on John, but he decided to vote simply based on who he thought he could beat, and not any factors beyond that.
Later, Tammy bemoaned the fact that no one wanted to take on Jay. She suggested to Gary, Corey and Alonzo that she might vote for Jay, thinking she had a chance against him. Corey didn't think anyone would vote for Jay. Alonzo said he was voting his own way. "I just hate that nobody's man enough to vote for Jay," Tammy insinuated. "I thought somebody's pride would kick in somewhere around with people, and they'd go, 'You know, I want to show America before the Final Five.' But then again, I understand the self-preservation thing, too. I understand Duck and Cover." Considering that it was only the last episode that Tammy opted for Duck and Cover, that was pretty bold.
Alonzo's response to Tammy's bait? "I'm not going out like a punk. I'm going to challenge Ralphie May." Ha! Great line! Almost enough to make me give him a pass on actually employing that Duck and Cover philosophy. (Dang, Alonzo and Ralphie actually would be a good showdown.)
One interesting thing to come out of the pre-voting talk was hearing Kathleen Madigan say in interview that the only strict alliance she had was with Tammy. "I would have helped Tammy any way I could." That's not something we'd seen before.
This Week's Nominees
Finally, time to see who would put their money where Tammy's mouth was.
- Kathleen nominated Jay (saying she was switching her vote up since she felt bad about voting for Gary all the time)
- Tammy nominated Jay (describing him first as "a warrior" and someone who inspires her).
- Corey nominated John.
- Gary nominated Tammy.
- John nominated Corey (who laaaaaaaughed).
- Alonzo nominated Gary (although when he prefaced his announcement by saying that he was challenging a friend of his, I thought it would be Jay).
- Jay nominated Gary.
So we had our second tie of the season! As with the first one, both people involved in the tie had to compete, so this week's showdown was Jay London versus Gary Gulman -- two of the nicest comics in the house.
Both comics seemed nervous going into the battle. Gary remarked in interview that Jay is a wild card who could bring the house down. "He's had a very difficult life and he seems to have overcome a lot of things and is such a decent person, I'm almost rooting for him." Jay, for his part, was hoping for "an early TKO" on laughter, referencing "Raging Bull."
Jay did his usual schtick. He had some funny lines. He (to my mind) stepped on some of his best stuff with his self-deprecation. My favorite riff: "I told my father I wanted to be a musician, so he went out and bought me a blunt instrument. He told me to knock myself out."
Gary had a mix of old and new material. The new material had to do with climbing ropes in gym class, how great it was to have a candle-snuffer, thus sparing everyone the effort of blowing out a candle, and speed detectors on the highway ("I stopped paying attention to them right after I found a similar gadget -- in my dashboard. ... 'Thanks, California Highway Patrol, I'm going to go with my on-board speed-telling machine for now.'"). The old material was on the wonderfulness of The Pill, and its easy identifiability ("Not one person was sitting there: 'Ibuprofin?'")
And then it was time for the vote. With 89% of the vote, Gary had his second head-to-head victory.
Well, I'm sad to see Jay London go. He genuinely seems like a sweet guy, and I liked him a great deal as a person.
But I have to admit, while he made me laugh sometimes, he didn't really put together an act that I enjoyed. I like just a wee bit more storytelling in my stand-up. (Okay, I like a lot more storytelling in my stand-up, which is why I was sorry that Marina Franklin and Paul Varghese didn't make it into the house.) So, while Gary's act wasn't the greatest I've ever seen, I, too, would have kept Gary over Jay. I'm just sorry that the audience was faced with that choice.
Last Comic Standing is on Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time on NBC.
Recaps at The Trades: House Episode 1 | House Episode 2 | House Episode 3
More Resources on the Internet: NBC.com's Official Site | SirLinksalot.net
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