Reality Bites: Last Comic Standing 3 - Episode 3
by Rachel Jaffe
Published: September 8, 2004
Week One of Last Comic Standing 3, half of the 20 comics from Seasons One and Two competed. Last week, the other half competed, giving us a look at the entire field of comics.
Part of the competition involves ejecting the comic from each team who, after the last episode, received the fewest votes from America. This week, host Jay Mohr called out two people from each team, one of whom would be dismissed as the low vote-getter for their team at the end of the episode. From Season One, the two potential evictees were Sean Kent and Tere Joyce; from Season Two, Kathleen Madigan and Corey Holcomb.
The other part of the competition involved a $50,000 prize to the team which received the most votes. Week One, Season Two garnered the most overall votes. This week ... Season Two once again were the victors.
Who knows how long Season One contemplated what line-up of competitors they'd ask for from Season Two in order to rectify the situation. I hope it wasn't too long, because this week when the teams entered their respective War Rooms, they needed to select from among their own ranks to choose the line-ups.
I would have been fascinated to hear the War Room discussions this time around, since they involved evaluations of their own people and not the other side. Presumably, the four people who were potential evictees were not allowed to perform tonight. But we only heard snippets of strategy, such as Rich saying that, since they'd lost previously with what the other team thought was their strongest five, they needed to pick based on personality this time (Geoff Brown: "Rich, is this supposed to be a pep talk?"). There was no acknowledgment, that I could tell, that they were essentially picking two line-ups -- those who would perform this week and those who would perform next week -- and I was surprised at the number of comics who seemed to feel that it would be better not to go up this week because they might be eliminated and not return the next week. I guess that they lose a week of pay, but it really seemed more critical to be in an appropriate mix than to plod through one more week.
However the decision was made, here are the line-ups: Alonzo announced that the Season Two team tonight would be Tammy Pescatelli, Gary Gulman, Jay London, and himself. Tess made the announcement for Season One: Rich Vos, Rob Cantrell, Ralphie May, "and, of course, we've got me" (said with a pure Tess head toss and strut).
Alonzo Bodden (Season Two)
Alonzo was the first comic to perform, and he came out with a strong set. Nothing particularly edgy or astonishing in his material -- it was about buying a car ("Why is the price the secret information when you're buying a car?") segueing into insurance ("I have fantasies of burning down an insurance company just so they have to make a claim.") -- but it was funny because it was so true! He also had a solid performance, connected well with the crowd, and had a great closing line (he doesn't need life insurance because "if I die heavily in debt, I won!"). I think he'll do well with the votes on this one. Overall grade: A-.
Ralphie May (Season One)
It's interesting that Ralphie immediately followed Alonzo, because at one point in Season Two Alonzo joked about challenging Ralphie. At the time, I thought that would make a good showdown. Of course, this isn't really a head-to-head competition, but it's an interesting juxtaposition. Ralphie came out and started by thanking everyone for the messages of condolence he had received at the loss of his father. Hmmmmm ... I felt for Ralphie's loss last week. This week, I think that was a message that would have been more appropriate for his web site, or after his performance, or some other time. When he started into his material proper, it was pretty weak. He started with a bit about how cold it was in Toronto -- even dressed up with a hooker joke, it's hard to get a lot of mileage out of cold-in-Toronto. He did a little better with riff about how he's called a "wigger", but it's not that he's trying to be black -- it's that black people are trying to be fat, wearing oversized clothes ("You don't need the 62s! I don't mess with your 38s. Don't play with me.") But his timing and performance still seemed off to me. If it were a head-to-head battle, Alonzo would have won in a landslide. Overall grade: C+.
Tammy Pescatelli (Season Two)
Tammy's set circled around the theme of a really real Reality Show, called "What The Hell Is Wrong With You?" Basically, a series of "aren't they stupid" lines, about ordinary people and then about celebrities. Yeah, one can get laughs from referencing Michael Jackson's face or Donald Trump's hair, but it's more reflex than comedy. Overall grade: C.
Tess (Season One)
Tess relies a lot on personal charisma. Unfortunately, she still needs more seasoning in developing a set. I was surprised that she started off tonight by referencing the Republican convention, and that she spent a fair amount of time on semi-political material, such as funding for healthcare ("I know the healthcare thing didn't work out, but dang, can we get some free dinner around here?"). I admire her going outside her usual comfort zone of material, but her delivery was rushed and at times it was hard to even make out her words. Towards the end, she moved back to dating topics. A bit about white guys who want to take her hiking ("Do it look like I've been hiking anywhere lately?") had promise, but again, needs more polishing. Overall grade: C-.
Gary Gulman (Season Two)
This wasn't Gary's best set. He used the classic Gary Gulman three-topic approach. This time, it was 1) living at home with his parents until he was 26 ("If you're 26 years old and you're waking up under Star Wars sheets, the Force is not with you."); 2) e-mail (Mom has trouble using e-mail, and the "at" sign -- "We are shortening two-letter words now."); and 3) appearing smart by visiting books that you've read before. It was okay, but nothing really sparkled with me. Overall grade: C+.
Rob Cantrell (Season One)
Rob's set last week was more accessible to mainstream audiences than what we saw of his comedy Season One. This set was more like Season One material, including something straight of that season -- instead of an inner child, Rob has an inner old man. He also had an extended bit about someone selling houseplants on the street ("This was the first time I've ever seen a dude on the corner selling plants that would not get you high."). His best bit was that Ben Franklin, with his long hair, pudgy physique and glasses, was obviously a stoner. ("He might as well wear a Star Trek shirt and have a freaking Gameboy in his pocket. 'I'm going to fly this kite in a thunderstorm.'") I'm not sure if this was too much material or too little for the set, but I don't think it's going to get a lot of votes. Overall grade: C-.
Jay London (Season Two)
Once again, the exact same Jay London format. But I have to say, this had some of my favorite Jay London lines yet. "I'm in a new lawsuit for impotency. My lawyer wants me to settle because it won't stand up in court." "I travel a lot -- now, where was I?" "Food has replaced sex in my life and now I can't get in my own pants." I still have to ding him for the annoying and overused self-deprecation, but I give him high marks for the set overall just because he kept making me laugh. Overall grade: B+.
Rich Vos (Season One)
Rich came out strong and bitter tonight, railing on stupid people, like the clerk at a CD store who, when Rich asked for Lenny Bruce, offered him Lenny Kravitz. "Yeah, any Lenny should do. Maybe Lenny and Squiggy had a CD out." I always enjoy references to being old and yelling at kids to get off your lawn, so I enjoyed Rich's description of yelling at kids from the tenth floor. He planned to take it a step further, throwing hot pennies down on kids. "And little poor kids are going to run home going 'I got good news and I got bad news.'" The most classic Rich moment was when he fumbled a line. He berated himself as he corrected it, and as he was leaving the stage you could hear him say, "I stink." (How long has it been since I've referenced missing Season One House interactions?) Overall grade: B-.
Evictees: After all the performances, Jay Mohr brought out the four comics he enumerated at the top of the show: from Season One, Sean Kent and Tere Joyce, and from Season Two, Kathleen Madigan and Corey Holcomb. He first announced the evictee from Season Two, which was Corey -- no big surprise, since Kathleen was outstanding last week. What is surprising is the implication that she came in second-to-last! The evictee from Season One was Tere Joyce. So next week Sean Kent and Kathleen Madigan will perform with the remaining comics who did not perform this week.
Final Thoughts: My predictions from last week were right on target -- Tere and Corey as the evictees, and Season Two as the team winner. This week, I don't think the results are as clear-cut. In terms of team prize, I think that Season One has a better shot than they had in previous weeks, but Season Two still might be stronger. I'm going to go for a change of pace and give the nod to Season One. As for evictees, I think that from Season One, Tess will be the one to leave -- she had a very rushed, disjointed set this week. From Season Two, I think that Tammy will be leaving. Alonzo and Jay had strong sets, and Gary I think will still be able to ride out another week on good will.
Last Comic Standing is on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, on NBC.
Recaps at The Trades: Episode 1 | Episode 2
More Resources on the Internet: NBC.com's Official Site | SirLinksalot.net
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