Last week, I speculated that the weirdly self-defeating Last Comic Standing might improve a bit once the guest mentors showed up, but it ended up playing out like a straight-up intervention. At the very least, real talk practitioners Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes served as a sanity-rescuing counterpoint to the relentless positivity of the judges. At the very best, they gave a tantalizing glimpse of everything Last Comic could be.
Admittedly, Schumer and Sykes had more time than the judges to formulate their critiques, but that’s hardly an excuse for Wayans and company praising competent but unremarkable acts with hyperbole like “watching you is like watching Tyson in his prime.” Either way, thanks to last night’s guests the show finally made good on its basic promise: some jokes for the casual viewer and a lesson or two about comedy craft for more attentive fans.
The performances were also stronger this week, which is really no surprise given the elimination-based structure of the show. And, given the greater screen time devoted to each stand-up, there was a much clearer distinction between the best and worst sets last night. That made it a lot easier to have an opinion and consequently a little bit of stake in the game.
My five favorite comics last night, from number one on down, were Karlous Miller, Joe Machi, Mark Normand, Monroe Martin and Yamaneika Saunders. The judges choices largely matched my own, which shows that despite their Bizarro World commentary they aren’t entirely off-base. In addition to Miller, Machi and Martin, the panel chose Aida Rodriguez and Jimmy Shubert to advance. That’s a pretty funny group of people. Let’s hope the show doesn’t get in the way of that.
Hudson is Assistant Comedy Editor at Paste and the creator of Literally Unbelievable. Follow him on Twitter or visit hudsonhongo.com.