‘Last Comic Standing’ review: Clayton English, Francisco Ramos, Andy Erickson crush first semifinal

Last Comic -Last Comic Standing” is making quick work now of some of the remaining comics, organizing its semifinal round in a way where a mob of them compete, and then only five go through. Remember all of that time you spent getting to know some of those performers the past month? You barely saw some of them Wednesday night. We go back-and-forth on whether or not we love this format, but the one advantage is this: In the event that only 50% of the comics really brought their A-game, you get right to the good stuff since you’ve only got an hour of time on the air.

Since some of the performers were almost blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, we’re going to focus on the five who were advancing, and maybe an omission we’re still red in the face about (MS. PAT!). Pardon the capitalization. Overall, this was a fun night! Lots of original comedy.

Clayton English – We’re not going to do something as ridiculous as Norm MacDonald did in the premiere and proclaim anyone has the best set we’ve heard in the past five years; yet, we can say that Clayton had this week our favorite set of the season so far. The “black people extreme sports” bit was unexpected and hilarious, but what was probably his most clever run revolved around “The Walking Dead.” Even though he did not actually name the show or any individual character (hey, it’s on another network), he was brilliant in making sure you knew exactly what he was talking about, and hit on some of the characters’ eccentricities. Clayton does a mean Rick Grimes! CRUSHED IT.

Taylor Tomlinson – We understand that it is fair to wonder if a 21-year old has a large enough library of material to last a season, but she hasn’t shown any sign of running out so far. While Taylor is probably not our favorite comic (some of her jokes are a little expected), there is zero question why the judges and many viewers will like her. She’s got that interesting background as a “church comic”, and can work without going blue (great for NBC). Plus, her jokes are well-structured and she should appeal to a younger demographic than almost anyone else.

Francisco Ramos – Wait, Francisco has auditioned for Keenen Ivory Wayans before? We want to say that he made a mistake, but maybe he inspired him to be better as a result of it not working out! Roseanne Barr complimented him on his “rubber face” (whatever that means), and then Norm called him “material-free” but still seemed okay with him. We can never really determine whether or not Norm is giving a compliment. Francisco is just naturally funny. It doesn’t really matter what his material is if that delivery is there, and he has the best of both worlds when it comes to joke-writing and then also the physical stuff.

Andy Erickson – Some of her jokes took a little while to pay off (the guy with one arm, for example) compared to her audition, but we stand by the comparison of her as this season’s version of Joe Machi. Her jokes aren’t often connected, but she has such a consistent character and awkward delivery that you don’t mind bouncing around so much. Also, we gotta talk about the meow: We have no idea what was going on there, but it totally worked to catch us off guard. Really funny.

Sheng Wang – Sheng is probably a little all over the place. When he kills, he kills. We’ve never heard anyone tell a joke mocking their father for taking proper medication. Some of the other stuff was a little routine, but we’re happy about him advancing based on upside. We’ve seen Sheng deliver top-ten jokes of the season, and that compensates for not everything landing with us (the gym stuff really wasn’t that appealing).

Omissions – We didn’t see enough of many eliminated comments to have that major of a complaint about them being gone. With that, how in the world do we have a top ten without Ms. Pat being a part of it? She was probably in our top three of the invitational round, and while she didn’t have a repeat of the dump-truck joke in this episode, she was still uproariously funny. Of course, we really can’t make a case for putting her in over anyone who did make it, either.We probably liked her more than Taylor, but that’s just accounting for personal taste more so than quality.

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