We’re now three episodes into “Last Comic Standing,” and we’re in a little bit of an interesting place with this show. From one vantage point, we have a pretty great crop of comedians now that the show has established itself again on NBC. We love Anthony Jeselnick as host, and Keenen Ivory Wayans is a solid, honest, judge. Roseanne is too sometimes.
What is going on with Norm MacDonald on there? We don’t know what he’s saying a good 25% of the time, he gives the most hyperbolic commentary in the history of reality TV, and it also feels at times like we disagree with him on almost every comic. It’s strange because we love Norm so much on other mediums, but this? We’re starting to get back aboard the Russell Peters train three episodes into the season.
Enough about the people you’re going to see every week, regardless of whether or not you want to. Let’s instead get to our weekly ranking of the comics who actually made it through to the next round.
Unranked – Amir Gollan, Brad Loekl. We barely saw them other than individual bits in the montage. We did like Amir talking about the “gay dogs” and Bard discussing being an extra in home movies, but this may have just be the best parts of their material, and the rest was cut out. Too tough to judge.
6. Drew Thomas – Drew was an interesting choice to start the night. The show probably wanted us to like him more than we did. We feel like we’d like to see more personal comedy from him; while he had slight twists on some of his jokes, the whole picking-women-up-at-bars and the men-don’t-like-getting-married jokes were way too familiar to us. We’ve seen so many similar ones performed in other sets that we couldn’t get an attachment to him.
5. Sheng Wang – Sheng was a part of the show last year but didn’t make it far. This time around, many big laughs. He has a long pause sometimes to get to his punchlines and we wish he’d cut some of that down for more material, but the bits about his name were clever and worked well for the self-deprecating humor he was bringing to the table.
4. Joe List – We cannot shake the feeling that we’ve seen Joe List somewhere before, but cannot quite pin down where. Regardless, we really enjoyed his set and there was some pretty great stuff mixed in here. He finds the funny in everyday situations like dental care! We don’t think we’ve ever heard a Whitestrips joke once in our entire lives.
3. Andi Smith – The whole “let’s complain about my kids” routine was popularized by Louis CK, but really it’s been around as long as comics have. Andi had some original jokes (the cages story) that were completely different than what we’ve heard before. Her material is edgy enough that it probably gets a reaction out of the crowd (nice), but we don’t think it will polarize anyone either. We’re not calling her the winner yet like we got in the critiques, but she has a comic character that would play well for NBC and a development deal for her could be a feasible part of her future.
2. Mike Siegel – The “broke snobs” bit at the start was funny, but the story about watching cable television with a date’s parents was hysterical. We’re not sure that overall this was our favorite set of the night, but Mike produced our favorite joke of the night. We feel like the “seasoned comic” critique here should be taken seriously. He’s probably worked the rooms in Chicago for years and that’s a great comedy city; we imagine he may have more material than several other performers here combined.
1. Shakir Standley – We haven’t watched “Wild ‘N Out” since before the revival of the show, so we’re not familiar with his work. Still, really funny. We don’t necessarily think that we have a preference necessarily to a comedic style, but we want to see someone commit 100%. Shakir did that. His attitude and energy were present immediately, and his set had a huge crescendo with the subway story. His biggest strength was his storytelling ability; it was something that may not have landed in another comic’s hands, but because it was him, he killed it.
Who was your favorite this week? Share in the comments, and head over here to see some other reviews from the invitational rounds! Also, sign up here to get some more TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: NBC.)