Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Last Comic Standing... Just Doesn't Get It

While I know this is in general a movie blog I do like to venture into the realm of television every once in awhile. Highlight some of the things I readily enjoy (anime/house/fringe/bones/etc.) and the things I possess a great deal of disdain for (grey's anatomy/reality shows/etc.). Now, is going to be one of those times.

You see, many years ago when Last Comic Standing first popped into the realm of television I was delighted. I loved stand up comedy, and aspired to be a stand up comic one day (as this blog has proven, I never will be). I was captivated by the tale of Dat Phan, the lovable backhanded humor of Ralphie May, and the sheer talent involved.

After that season the show suffered a serious downfall. The next season was plauged by second hand talent, and uninteresting character plot lines. The show seemed torn between falsetto Real World aspirations, and American Idol style appeal. It just felt like the dud everyone knew it was going to become. What makes it worse though is that they still haven't caught on.

Like American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, LCS still seeks to be similar. It opens its show with a series of trips around the country as they seek out talented newcomers. Unfortunately the producers use no brainpower in determining what to show. You see, a bad singer, or bad dancer, has the possibility of being comically bad. So much so we laugh at their self assurance of superiority, and with the judges at their inability to recognize it.

It's humorous. In so far as degrading other's can be. And LCS desperately wants to do the same thing. Just one problem. A bad commedian is a commedian that's not funny. How is one supposed to derive humor, and joy from someone who isn't humorous, and therefore fails to provide joy? It's the same as watching a singer who doesn't sing. Or a dancer who just stands there. Nobody gains anything from it. And it's not particularly interesting.

Sure, the judges try to force a few giggles at their failed efforts out. But it's all in vain. The second you start parading unfunny people on a show meant to be funny, is the second you fail. Please Last Comic Standing people, recognize your show is about humor. And start showing it. If they're not funny, there's a reason they don't go on to the next round. Because nobody can stand to watch them.

Take my advice, sit this season out, and rework things. I'm sure you'll be a success in no time. And by no time I mean no time, you're going to be canceled (for what I think is the 3rd time) any minute now.

6 better thoughts:

Simon said...

Right on, brother. This is the only of those shows that I find genuinely mean-spirited about the whole thing.

JLG said...

I like the show but that's true. A bad singer is funny... but a bad comedian is not funny.

The Mad Hatter said...

Shows like this make me hate summertime TV. is it time for "Mad Men" yet?

Danny King said...

I wonder what it says about my standards when I say that I actually enjoyed the show last night. I do agree, however, that it is largely hit-and-miss, and the contestants who audition as a joke always end up putting a sour taste in my mouth. But I thought there were a handful of funny moments.

Jake said...

I think it was even a bit bad in the beginning. I loved Ralphie May despite his over-reliance on material based on his weight. But that was a damn sight better than Dat Phan basically ripping off Margaret Cho and not being good at it.

My issue is that so many of the comics who go on it are already established (I remember several having albums and even Comedy Central specials taped before going on) and basically just boost their own profile at the expense of finding some undiscovered talent.

But I agree that the show has become painful, and not in a brilliant, Norm Macdonald-esque way. Frankly, it would be better on premium anyway, where there could be a wider variety of comics with more edgy and political material.

Univarn said...

@Simon It can be mean spirited at times. But worse yet, corrupt.

@JLG Thanks for the comment! Some people have to enjoy the show :)

@Mad With shows like Mad Men I prefer to watch them well after the buzz has died down. It can never live up to the expectations my fellow bloggers have set for it.

@Danny It doesn't say anything about your standards. It can be a funny show when they do it right. I only watched a handful of minutes of it the other night before turning it off.

@JLG I never made that connection with Dat Phan, but good point. And I agree about the established comedians. I just think it's the way the show is handled. They want a bit of that celeb reality appeal, but they also want that american idol appeal. And the two just fail combined.

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