I have to admit, I was a little annoyed at first with the way Last Comic Standing handled its elimination Wednesday night. The five finalists paraded across the stage not once or twice, but three times in the first 15 minutes of the show, and it seemed like more pointless suspense-building, just like on every other live or live-ish results show.
Then it became apparent that the LCS crew was going to wait until right near the end of the hour to dump one of the five, while letting those who are staying around perform in the meantime. I don’t remember if that’s how the show handled vote-offs last year, but I kind of liked it. Yeah, the hour was still padded, with all the comics-visit-home segments, but sprinkling in the next round of performances helped things go by reasonably quickly.
(Spoilers starting on the next line, by the way.)
I’ll spare you the false suspense and just come right out with it — the audience, including, apparently, viewers in the U.K., Canada and Australia, sent Ralph Harris packing. I’m a bit surprised, given his relatively familiar face, that the vote went that way, but it’s a pleasant surprise. That’s how I would’ve voted too.
So let’s get on to the final four, shall we?
You know Gerry wants to win badly, given that he missed the birth of his child because he was taping the show. Unfortunately, his set tonight doesn’t quite live up to last week, as he falls back on material from his stint as a teacher. His opening line about trying to teach while hung over is a good one, but the bit drags on too long.
He closes on an up note, though, by describing — and I’m not doing it justice here — the time he and his buddy, at the age of 6, taped their penises together. Watch the replay on NBC.com (or Zap2it’s own fancy new video page, when it’s posted) — it’s worth it.
Crawford has been up and down for me during the competition, but Wednesday, he had probably the show’s strongest set with a riff on the "white stuff" he had to do after his mom moved their family to the suburbs. White stuff, like joining the Cub Scouts and going camping.
Lavell was an inquisitive lad, see, and so he didn’t take his pack leader’s word when the man told him to play dead if he ever saw a grizzly bear in the woods. "So I walked up to the grizzly bear and said, ‘Excuse me, can I ask you a question?’ ‘Sure, little black fat boy, what is it?’"
Suffice to say he got his answer about playing dead. Oh, and apparently we taste like chicken to grizzly bears.
I figured Amy would be headed home tonight, and from her reaction to being called to perform, so did she. She recovers to do a decent, self-deprecating joke about her looks — "I wasn’t a cute kid. I looked like a Fraggle" — but things go a little south from there.
She spends too long on a bit about dating a mime in college, and you can actually hear a couple of groans in the theater when she does a pun about him not thinking outside the box. Like Gerry, she comes back a little at the end with jokes about divorce and childhood interests as an indicator of career choices, but I’m not liking her chances to stay around for yet another week.
After Ralph’s elimination, Jon gets the night’s final spot, and while there are a couple of mild laughs in his first minute or so, he falls again into a pattern that’s bugged me for a few weeks running — namely, dragging out a bit for much longer than is necessary.
He talks about the nonsensical lyrics of folk songs, and that’s fine. Not especially funny, but not cringe-worthy either. By the time he gets to parsing "She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain," though, that’s pretty much all we need.
And then he takes the same approach to nursery rhymes, and that tears it. I swear I’ve heard other, better bits — from Jerry Seinfeld, maybe, though I’m not sure — about how "Rock-a-Bye Baby" isn’t really that comforting to a child about to go to sleep.
The night’s best: Lavell, for sure, and I guess Gerry, but more by default.
Give ’em the hook: Next week’s elimination should come down to Jon and Amy.
Still laughing? Or did the return of Doug Benson make you wistful for what might have been?