Last Comic Standing was chock full of drama the last few seasons – mid-season network switches, multi-year hiatuses, accusations of audition fixes, world travels, and even Ant serving as a judge. But has it had enough funny? All topics it appears the show’s producers are trying hard to rectify on Season 7, which made its debut this week.
The show has seen its share of hosts during it’s run… Jay Mohr, Anthony Clark, Bill Bellamy, and now Craig Robinson who is by far the most entertaining and has the most heat thanks to a recurring role on The Office and work in movies like Knocked Up and Hot Tub Time Machine.
Robinson’s straight-faced humor has a subtle delivery, he’s inviting and collaborative which allows others to shine while in his presence. This is best summed up in the first hour of the show when Robinson goes for a mock audition, entering the judges room in character and proceeds to tell the hackiest jokes he could think of. The judges, who seem to have an infinite ability to improvise (lost on previous panels of “comedy experts”), work with Robinson and turn a potentially cutting-room floor bit into a funny segment full of quips and back-and-forth.
While on the subject of judges. FINALLY a panel of judges that aren’t only masters of the craft but ones that would have the respect of those trying out. Greg Giraldo is one of the most well-respected stand-up comedians in the game. Andy Kindler boasts an amazing resume and couldn’t be funnier on his feet. The Paula-but-with-talent judge of the group would be Natasha Leggero who is probably the least known of the three since she’s been at it the shortest amount of time; but her resume still holds an impressive list of comedic acting and stand-up. And let’s be honest, with a Susanna Hoffs-esque look and a monstrous laugh, she isn’t hurting any camera lenses either.
This trio of judges bring something to the show that’s been sorely missed by judges of LCS of seasons past, they actually have a funny report and are quick-witted. They aren’t just getting laughs because of the ridiculousness of the person auditioning, they are getting laughs because they are actually saying witty things. They even show slight glimpses of mentoring, offering aspiring comedians advice about delivery and writing and giving them pointers to work on. It’s a side of the show that can be explored more when you have comics that are as respected as this trio.
They seem to actually be on the hunt for funny people rather than when NBC producers judged, and may have previously overlooked talented people in favor of those that could be more interesting for television while living together in a house or do well at challenges. Both dreadful elements of the show were never needed to determine who’s funny and we were happy to learn they will no be a part of this season – goodbye, you will not be missed. This should net us a better pool of comedians in the long run.
So the verdict? The show seems on track to have a solid season. A host that works, a stronger set of judges who are actually well respected and seem to be looking for talented people. Upgrades a-plenty this season. We’ll be watching.