While we missed “Last Comic Standing” for some time before it made its big comeback last year, one of the reasons why it may have been a good thing to take a break is to replenish the talent pool a little bit. Wednesday night’s new episode (a.k.a. the second invitational show, or the third hour of the season) was just about as funny as the first two. We’ve got a really good crop of people, and there were several standouts.
We’re going to rank the comics on the night next, but let’s spend a minute complaining that Junior Stopka didn’t get through. We’re not sure we’ve ever seen anyone quite like Junior on this show. He looks almost like he was dared to wear the most random items in his closet, and his jokes were so unique and unexpected. Sure, Craigslist has been mined before for laughs, but usually it does not end with the comedian saying that they are going to kill someone. You gotta love the turn here at the end.
Incomplete. Alycia Cooper and Cyrus McQueen – We liked what we saw (especially Alycia), but there really was not enough time given to them to judge them fairly. We also don’t have much long-term faith in montaged contestants.
7. Sammy Obeid – This was a strange set. We actually really liked the majority of the jokes, but for some reason a lot of them in the beginning and the end didn’t land with the audience. Maybe his presence doesn’t line up perfectly with his material, or maybe the crowd hates math. The crowd reaction just got us out of laughing a little and made this one more awkward to watch.
6. Greg Warren – If there is ever a guy to give a development deal to, it’s probably Greg given that his comedy is very mainstream and the sort of thing that would play well on a sitcom. Lots of family humor and talking about stories that could be from his own life. We don’t ever fall on the floor, but there were solid laughs throughout and no real duds at all.
5. Francisco Ramos – The great news about Francisco is that his opening series of jokes about immigration were really great, leading up to the great game of “Jeopardy” to determine who gets to stay in the country. The problem he faced for us was the placement of this a little earlier in the set, when we would have had this be the grand finale so you get a little bit of that crescendo, to borrow a phrase from the judges.
4. Dominique – She’s got a good delivery, and many of our favorite comics are the ones that can deliver some of the longer stories that are compelling before you get to the punchline. That’s what we had here with the tale of her biological father needing a kidney.
3. Tony Baker – A real fun take on men going to the doctor, and how he once reacted to a bill for getting his appendix taken out. He’s got a really good array of facial expressions, and he’s one of those comics you have to watch as well as listen to. The only misfortune for Tony is that Anthony Jeselnik skewering Norm MacDonald’s critique after the fact almost upstaged him a little, mostly because Norm was being so weird and Jesenik called him out on it.
2. KT Tatara – We feel a little like Norm got a little too meta on some of KT’s jokes, mostly because we found him to be the edgiest comic of the night, and therefore the one that is probably the biggest risk the rest of the way. He made some bold choices when talking about his background, and if he continues this trajectory we could either see him killing (in a good way), or killing a room in the most awkward-silence way possible.
1. Andy Erikson – Andy is almost this season’s Joe Machi. Most of her jokes are of the set-up / punchline variety, and there are fewer stories and shorter bits than almost anyone else. The good news here is that you are okay if one or two don’t land, but you have to nail the vast majority. She was very funny, quirky, and different! We liked her pre-taped package about her small town, and while this sort of awkward comedy’s not everyone’s cup of tea, we dug it.
If you are so inclined to get some other “Last Comic Standing” updates, head over here to see our review of the second hour of the premiere last week! Also, sign up here to get some other TV updates worth laughing over via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: NBC.)