Reality Bites: Last Comic Standing 2 - House Episode 5|
by Rachel Jaffe
Published: July 21, 2004
Time for the last round of head-to-head competition, as the comics anxiously anticipate being whittled down to the Final Five, the lucky ones from among whom America will select the winner.
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. Kathleen Madigan: Wry comic from St. Louis.
6. Tammy Pescatelli: Sicilian comedian from Cleveland.
Last week, Gary Gulman beat Jay London. This week, Gary wasn't exultant about his victory as he returned to the comic house. Jay was possibly the nicest guy in the competition, and Gary wished it could have been someone else he'd beaten. When the others told him he should feel good about winning back-to-back competitions, Gary responded, "You really feel good about beating Jay?" Tammy asked him if he didn't feel good beating ANT, and he confirmed that he did, and the difference was that "Jay never said to me 'I'll give you three more days in the house.'"
Seems Like Old Times
Host Jay Mohr addressed the comics, congratulating them on getting so far, but also remarking that "you guys know that reality shows are nothing without surprises." And indeed, Jay had a surprise for the comics -- beyond his use of the word "surprise" instead of the overused term "twist."
Jay then ushered in the surprise -- three guys from Average Joe, with their hair slicked back and wearing black Speedos! The sad thing is that I recapped that show, and am indeed Average Joe girl, and I could only positively identify Jim, and possibly Young Mike, from Average Joe: Hawaii. The third guy was unrecognizable. It just goes to show that the Hunks were far less interesting and identifiable than the Joes.
And possibly because the Hunks are less interesting, and possibly just 'cause this was a "surprise," Jay Mohr went ahead and kicked the Hunks back out, and brought in the real surprise -- the return of the four previously evicted comics: Bonnie McFarlane, Todd Glass, ANT and Jay London. "The look of horror and utter shock on some people's faces was like a Mastercard 'priceless' moment," gloated ANT. Gary, on the other hand, was delighted to see his buddy Todd, and he jumped up with a huge expression of joy. Me, I was just happy to see Jay London's sweet smile again.
Next, Jay Mohr explained to the comics that the returnees would be staying in the house for a bit ... and would help to determine who would be in the final head-to-head competition. Last season, the ousted comics returned for an afternoon and made the choice of who would be the comic to compete against the one with the most nominations. This season, the returnees would actually live in the house for a few days, and would vote alongside the competitors for who would be nominated.
ANT announced to the others that "someone made a promise to me that they would not vote for me, and they changed their mind, and that person's going to pay." John Heffron announced that ANT was probably talking about him.
No "probably." ANT scurried around and told Kathleen and Tammy that John had promised he wouldn't vote for ANT. Meanwhile, John told Alonzo, Todd and some of the others that he had done no such thing." My trust lies with Heffron.
Get It In Focus
Today was Tammy's turn to approach the Fortune Teller and get the clue for this week's immunity competition. The clue read: "But Does It Play In Peoria?" Jay Mohr explained that the six comics were to pitch a sitcom idea starring themselves. A focus group would decide who would win immunity.
The comics were anxious to do well in this competition. The winner would be guaranteed to be in the Final Five. However, Gary said that he wasn't really concerned about what was said about his pitch -- after the response he got at the competition in the Friars Club, "there is nothing that anybody can say at this thing that will hurt me at all."
Corey's pitch was to be "an Urban Al Bundy." I think it could work. He got a positive response from a Black man who had seen Corey on TV before. A red-haired woman saw him as more of a sidekick, and a dark-haired woman just didn't like him from the get-go. She couldn't say why; she just didn't.
Kathleen pitched the idea of her playing herself, but herself getting a job as a host or MC in Branson, Missouri. The Black guy liked her too, but an Asian woman didn't like "shows about shows." Kathleen commented that the Asian woman was very critical and "seemed angry at the whole world."
Alonzo suggested a semi-autobiographical story involving a recovering middle-class drug addict, who might look tough but was really soft. The red-haired woman thought that the humor was really forced, and the Black man "kind of took offense" at some of the ideas expressed.
Gary's idea was to play a pediatrician who was just starting a job with a large hospital and, because of student debt, was moving back into his house with his mom. The dark-haired woman didn't like Gary either. Other comments were that he was generic, that he rambled on and on, and that the concept was a dead-end. Gary expressed ire at the focus group for their comments, and the producers won points by juxtaposing that with a repeat of his "nothing that anybody can say at this thing ... will hurt me at all" comment.
Tammy called her sit-com idea "The Goddaughter," and described it as a cross between The Sopranos and Mama's Family. One guy thought the show sounded cute, and two guys said they'd watch it just because they thought Tammy was cute. The red-haired woman (correctly) pointed out that Tammy had started by saying that not all Italians are in the mob, but that was the thrust of her sit-com. "It's the same lame jokes with the goombah uncles."
John's idea was for a sit-com called "The State I'm In," about a long-distance relationship. The Black guy said, "I'm don't know what the show is truly about, but I'm already rooting for them to break up." The Asian woman was similarly unimpressed. One woman thought the idea of having three worlds -- his world, her world, and their world -- was a good one.
When it came down to scoring, Alonzo got an average score of 48.9; Corey got 50.8; Gary got 59.4; John got 61.7; Kathleen got 63.4. and Tammy won with an average score of 65.3.
Based on what we saw of the reactions, I'm not surprised Tammy won. I think that any of the sit-coms would have a shot at working, depending on the writing. I think that the combination of Gary's likeability and comic talent would make his the best bet. But I was surprised that the pitches weren't stronger. This season, the comics seemed much more intent on getting a sit-com after the competition than they were last season (where there was a bit of an attitude towards those who were not pure in their pursuit of stand-up), but their pitches didn't seem any more polished than the ones in last season's competition.
This Week's Nominees
Then it was time for nominations. Five comics were available for nomination, but ten comics voted, and here's how it went down:
- Tammy nominated Corey (although first did a fake-out pretending to vote for Gary)
- Alonzo nominated John.
- Corey nominated John.
- Gary nominated Kathleen (stating he knew "unequivocably" that he was funnier than her).
- John nominated Kathleen.
- Kathleen nominated Gary (who didn't look too pleased at that).
- ANT nominated John.
- Jay nominated Kathleen (saying he'd flipped a coin to make the decision).
- Todd nominated Alonzo.
- Bonnie nominated John.
So John Heffron was the designated comic for the head-to-head competition. He couldn't choose ANT or Bonnie to compete against, since they'd already been eliminated, so he decided to pick Corey, saying that Corey had been wanting to get on stage. John seemed to have things a lot more together than he did the first time he competed.
Head to Head ... to Head?
But wait! Jay Mohr has another surprise for us -- and this time he calls it a "twist"! Tonight's competition, he told the comics, would be a three-way competition. Three comics would compete, and the two who received the most votes would remain in the competition. So he sent all the comics except for John and Corey back to the photo booth to vote on who would be the third competitor.
- Tammy nominated Gary (for real this time).
- Alonzo nominated Gary.
- Gary nominated Alonzo.
- Kathleen nominated Alonzo (surprisingly switching up her vote from Gary in the last voting).
- ANT nominated Alonzo (pulling a fake-out by first apologizing to Gary).
- Todd nominated Alonzo.
- Jay nominated Alonzo.
After Jay's nomination, Alonzo had five votes, so he was designated as the third competitor in tonight's head-to-head-to-head competition.
First up was Corey. Corey set his usual tone by introducing himself as "the ghetto portion of the show." At times, his blatant horn-dog persona worked, such as when he told the audience, "The good thing about me, ladies, is I let you know I'm the guy you don't like." But overall, Corey seemed to be lacking a little focus, and kept laughing nervously at himself. An extended riff about how women with big foreheads shouldn't have short hair without bangs just didn't go anywhere.
Alonzo was next, and I was really looking forward to seeing him perform. He's impressed me several times as one of the stronger comics in the house. That's why I was surprised that Alonzo turned in a set with second-rate material. Calling "cash" the "Viagra for women"? Bemoaning how women can go out with no money and have a good time and men can't? Calling women friends "the most useless group in the world"? Not original, not insightful, and worst of all, not funny.
Finally, it was John's turn. He went with material we hadn't heard before, but on a theme that's worked for him in the past -- kids. He asked who was an oldest child, who was a youngest child, and then said, "I'd ask about the middle kid, but no one cared about you anyway." He talked about how any toy can be dangerous, even a Nerf football. "Let's see what happens when I soak this in water. And freeze it. Now we got a game." Even terrorizing the family dog had unintended consequences. When trying to sneak into the house, John would be confronted by the dog, looking at him and saying, "I guess barking right now would kind of suck ass."
At the end of the night, Alonzo received 55% of the vote. John received 38% of the vote. (So for those of you doing the math, that means that Corey received a paltry 7% of the vote.)
Based on past performance, I'd agree with that vote. But based on tonight's performance, I'm very surprised Alonzo got such a high number of votes. I fully expected John to come in first tonight. However, since the right result was reached, I'm not kicking.
So ... the Final Five from the Comic House were Alonzo Bodden, Gary Gulman, John Heffron, Kathleen Madigan, and Tammy Pescatelli.
Final Comments: Did I say Final Five? Last season, the producers faked out the comics by making them think it would be a Final Six when it was really a Final Five. This season, the producers faked out the audience by allowing us to think that it was Final Five when they instead planned a "wild card" -- one of the ousted comics will be voted back into the competition. Last season, this would have been great -- a chance to get Dave Mordal back in the competition. This season ... do we really need more ANT? I don't think that any of the comics ousted would be able to win enough votes to be the Last Comic Standing. For that, they'd need a truly wild Wild Card competition, bringing back people who didn't even make it into the House.
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 | House Episode 4
More Resources on the Internet: NBC.com's Official Site | SirLinksalot.net
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