Created by Peter Engel
Presented by Jay Mohr (Seasons 1-3)
Anthony Clark (Season 4)
Bill Bellamy (Seasons 5-6)
Running time 60 minutes (including commercials)
Original channel NBC
Original run June 1, 2003 – present
Premise: An American reality talent competition; Select a comedian among the roster to win $250,000 grand prize, including an exclusive talent deal with NBC.
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L ast Comic Standing brings up the rear on our list of favorites. It was a big favorite of ours in the first two years, but last year they seem to be stretching the fabric of humor. Last year was a disaster, with promising talent after promising talent ignored while boring acts were consistently chosen by the judges who appeared to never laugh as they picked the people they wished to torture us with. There was one true talent in the group, Lavelle Crawford, and he made it to the finals with such hysterical lines as “Why are you breathing that heavy?” “So I can live!! What Kind of Stupid Question is That?” And did he win? No. It was a joke. I guess that is appropriate for a Comedy show though.
This year, they have stepped it up. The talent appears to be much better, but the recent elimination of Esther Ku tells me that the biggest reason someone does not win in this show, and in many other reality shows involving performances, is he or she had to go first. The last performance always always seems to garner the most votes. And the first elimination show of this season was no exception, the first act went home while the final act garnered the most votes, when there was little difference in the quality of the performances. In fact, I laughed more at the first. But people’s memories are short, and that is why, as Alonzo Bodden said, we invented instant replay, “Because we can’t remember something we just saw five seconds ago.”
The show should also have more performance competition and less hype. Allowing the contestants to vote off other contestants forcing them to go into elimination just makes it mean spirited. I would rather see more of a face off of the talents like on American Idol. And the viewing audience does not get to vote at all. They leave it to the live audience, perhaps leaving their viewers a bit detached.
That said, winners like Josh Blue, Alonzo Bodden and Dat Phan have made me laugh more at a television comic than even the professionals making millions touring. There are times I am nearly in tears laughing at this show. So, if they continue to step up the talent, and the judges can continue to pick winners like they did this year, this could move up on our list.