Thursday marked the beginning of the challenge portion on this year’s Last Comic Standing and thankfully it was only about as bad as I expected. Splitting the comics into two groups to perform a pre-written sketch, the show wasn’t very funny, but at least the competition related to professional comedy in an obvious way. That hasn’t always been the case with Last Comic’s challenges, and hopefully the show can maintain this focus on practical scenarios in future weeks.
In any case, showing demonstrably hilarious people fumble their way through barely-rehearsed skits doesn’t make for super compelling television. That’s especially true when their performances have been edited into a random collection of weak setups and weaker punchlines. Maybe they should have been given more than two hours to practice and a chance to write a few jokes themselves? I don’t know, just something I thought of by listening to the contestants on your show.
I will give props to the judges though, who had much more substantial and pointed notes for the comics this week. Part of that may have been due to the more intimate venue and part of that may have come from the smaller class size, but either way it was a serious improvement.
What I don’t applaud is their selection of Rod Man as this week’s winner of the head-to-head challenge. I feel like Aida and Jimmy tied for first in the stand-up showdown, with Rod Man taking a distant third. Aida and Jimmy were actually my least favorite acts from their semifinal group, but both showcased their strengths in their sets while Rod (who I thought killed it last week) mostly demonstrated his weaknesses. Hopefully Rod isn’t just relying on his hilarious, unique delivery to take him through the season. I guess we’ll find out for sure next week, when the comics are challenged to be busboys or longshoremen or whatever.