Last Comic Standing - questions about the premise, what comics are competing for

No opinions on who’s funnier here.

I’m wondering what they all have at stake. I know the top prize is some form of TV pilot contract, but what about all the others.

Does it really make a difference who comes in 2nd 3rd, second tier, etc.?

It seems everyone was crushed when they were forced to face off for a spot.
You would think at least a few of them would figure they were not going to be last anyway, and ignore the competitive aspect entirely and just prize the shot on prime time TV.

So, aren’t all the ones who got into the house, except the winner, basically at the same level of career advancement?

The top prize is an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and a 1/2 hour special on Comedy Central. I haven’t heard anything about a pilot.

Funny thing is, most (all?) of this year’s competitors are professional or semi-professional comedians who have been making their rounds on the college & comedy club circuit. I even think one of them (Tammy Pascatelli?) had already been on Leno before.

That’s one of the things that makes the show less interesting, really; none of these people are rank amateurs. They’re all professional comedians and some of them are successful ones. I’ve seen pretty much all of them.

Having said that, a “Last Comic Standing” of rank amateurs would probably suck so badly that it would create an infinitely small singularity of suck-gravity, sucking in all the shows on all the adjacent channels into a black hole of endless suckitude.

I was thinking of getting into standup - I’ve been writing some material, and some of it is pretty funny. So I figured I should scout out the competition. I went down to Yuk Yuk’s on a night when they were featuring both amateurs and students of a local major theatre program. I live in Toronto, remember, a city of like five million people, so there’s a sufficient population base here to generate some talent. I wanted to see what my chances were. My sister and I piled into the car and went.

We saw 12 comics.

We laughed exactly three times. Not three times per comic. Three, total.

We left early.

It was BRUTAL.

I despise everything about “The Last Comic Standing”. Everything about it flies in the face of what comedy is all about. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

That’s nice.

So the question remains, what’s in it for the non-last, except for plenty of network prime time exposure? And probably a sure spot on one of the late nite shows this week.

Did last year’s winner, Dat Phan, ever get his 1/2 hour Comedy Central special? Or was he paid off instead?

I never saw the Dat Phan special, but on some website where they were making fun of Last Comic Standing and Dat Phan, the guy mentioned seeing the special and saying how awful it was and shown probably just once at 1:30 am Thursday morning or some time buried in the schedule.

So Dat Phan did get his special, but it wasn’t promoted or rerun a million times like Comedy Central seems to do with most of their programming.

The winner of this year’s contest got screwed, too, at least in this time zone.
He was supposed to get a shot on the Tonight Show, but it was delayed because of a boring hour of minor Olympics stuff, so most regular Leno viewers had gone to bed.

Please expand on this.

Jay Mohr is actually pretty sincere when it comes to helpign out struggling young comics.

I was at the Improv in Irvine, CA, for a Mohr show a few years back. One of the no-names opening for him was a huge guy named Ralphie (Jay Mohr fans know him very well now). He was funny in a very honest, in-your-face way, and I liked him. Part of his set dealt with coming out to LA, not being beautiful and perfect, and not finding much work. He admitted that he was going back home in a few weeks if he didn’t score something. After his set, another comic came out before Mohr’s set.

Apparently, Jay Mohr was listening. He came out, did his set, and destroyed, as usual. Then Ralphie took the stage again, damn near in tears, and told everybody that Jay had offered him a job opeining for him on the remainder of his tour.

I know Ralphie was a co-producer on one of Mohr’s shows, and I think they still tour together.

Anyway, I fail to see how that show “flies in the face” of everything that comedy stands for. Probably most comics hit a first big score because “somebody” saw them and gave them a shot. And don’t think for a second that a struggling comic wouldn’t sell a competitor into white slavery to get a gig, because plenty of them would.

While I appreciate the point of your story, and agree that Jay really is doing his part to help out struggling comics make it in a traditionally cutthroat business, I was really surprised at this info above.
How in the world could Ralphie be seen as ‘just another competitor’ in LCS1, if he had such close ties with Jay Mohr? Am I perhaps misunderstanding something?

Interesting bit from Kathleen Madigan’s website,

Sounds like another bit of a conflict of interest, IMO.

So what’ve we got:

[ul][li]Ralphie May had/has a close relationship with Jay Mohr (the executive producer of LCS) before appearing on LCS1 and becoming one of the two finalists.[/li][li]LCS2’s original “scouts” were the comic talent bookers for “The Tonight Show” and therefore had a previous, positive opinion of a number of the comics (including Todd Glass, Sue Costello and Tammy Pescatelli) who “auditioned” because those comics had not only previously performed for those bookers, but had actually appeared on “The Tonight Show.”[/li][li]Gary Gulman of LCS2 may well be managed by one of the LCS producers.[/li][li]LCS2 producers invited (inter)nationally known comedians to “judge” the finals of the qualifications round, then disregarded those judges choices in order to put their pre-chosen comics into the house.[/ul][/li]
So this is a “reality” show that, without any question, is completely rigged by the producers from the start – not just inasmuch as the producers choose the contestants (which is the case for the majority of shows) but because the producers choose the contestants in a fashion that tends to prearrange the outcome from the start, but then attempt to present the show as if the on-screen judges and viewing audience exert control over the show’s outcome in a manner beyond their true capabilities. That’s slick, but also quite sick.

Since I don’t watch the show, I had no idea that Ralphie May was presented as “just another competitor.” That’s pretty sleazy.

He was a co-producer on “Mohr Sports” IIRC, the project that immediately preceded “Last Comic Standing.”
But then again, why should anyone be surprised that “reality” television is anything BUT real?

I watched the last several episodes, and I honestly don’t care if it was rigged. (but then, one of my favorites won…). The comics were all funny so it was entertaining to watch. Except for Jay London ::shudders:: He seemed to think he was channeling Henny Youngman. If he was it was a bad connection. How the hell did he get picked as the wildcard over Ant? Pity vote?

What I don’t get is the premise for the next season. What’s the point of having people already on the last two seasons compete again? You won’t be finding any under-rated talent that way. On the bright side, I get to see more of the comics I like.

The thing to remember is that Jay London is like Rupert from Survivor. He’s kind of the lovable-loser type that America loves to get behind. He probably got a ton of votes from people that didn’t even watch the Wildcard performances.

As much as it makes my eye twitch to say it, Ant really did have the best performance that night.

Oh, and the whole thing with Kathleen Madigan is just ridiculous. She was probably the most defeatable comedienne from the get-go, just behind Bonnie McFarland, who had no business being in comedy to begin with. Kathleen Madigan had name-recognition, which will only carry you so far in this business. The audience isn’t interested in where you’ve been or what you’ve done, just how funny your 5-minute set tonight was.

My personal LCS2 list, from least-to-most funny, is like so:

Bonnie McFarland
Corey Holcomb
Todd Glass
Kathleen Madigan
Jay London
Tammy Pescatelli
Alonzo Bodden
Gary Gulman
John Heffron

BTW, by way of answer to the OP, I believe one of the benefits of winning LCS is a supposed “NBC talent contract.” What this entails, exactly, I’m not sure. First look at any sitcoms or specials featuring the winner, I’d imagine.

On a related note:

Is it the ultimate goal of every stand-up comedian out there to land their own television sit-com?
Is it because that’s where the money is and it means less travel?