Last Comic Standing

Last Comic Standing

Infobox Television
show_name = Last Comic Standing

caption ="Last Comic Standing" title sequence
format = Talent, Reality, competition
runtime = 120 minutes (including commercials), 60 minutes on finale
creator = Peter Engel
starring =
presenter = Jay Mohr (Seasons 1-3)
Anthony Clark (Season 4)
Bill Bellamy (Seasons 5-6)
country = United States
network = NBC
picture_format = 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV) (2008 Finals)
first_aired = June 1 2003
last_aired = present
num_seasons = 6
num_episodes = 59
website =
imdb_id = 0364829
tv_com_id = 19647

"Last Comic Standing" is an American reality television talent show that premiered in 2003. The objective of the program is to select a comedian from a group, who will receive a development contract with the NBC television network and a special first to air on the cable-TV network Comedy Central and later on the cable network Bravo.

The show is produced by Peter Engel.


In the early rounds of the competition, NBC talent scouts Ross Mark and Bob Read held open casting calls in various locations around the United States. At each casting call, Mark and Read identified comics to participate in callback auditions in front of live audiences. Mark and Read then selected a predetermined number of comics from each callback, who were invited to participate in a semifinal qualifying round.

The comics who advanced to the semifinal qualifying round were divided into two groups. In Season Four, 40 comics were divided into two groups of 20; these comics performed and competed against each other at the Alex Theater in Los Angeles. During the semifinal qualifying rounds, a panel of celebrity judges, and the show's producers, selected the comics who would move forward to the final qualifying round. This determined who among the comics would be "in the house." In season four, ten comics were chosen to live aboard RMS|Queen Mary in Long Beach, California.

Once "in the house," the comics participated in some type of comedic challenge each television week. Past challenges included performing stand-up at a local laundromat, working as a tour guide in Los Angeles, participating in a roast at the Friars Club of Beverly Hills and performing comedy on a specific subject with little preparation time on a radio show. The winner of each challenge is usually rewarded with immunity from being eliminated from the competition for that week, while the remaining comics are vulnerable to elimination through a "head-to-head" standup challenge.

As the conclusion of each television week drew near, each comic selected one other comic whom they believed they could defeat in a head-to-head challenge. The comics were sent off individually to a secluded booth, and named the person selected using the phrase "I know I'm funnier than _____." The comic who received the most nominations participated in that evening's head-to-head competition, and selected their opponent from any of the comics who had challenged them.

The head-to-head competition occurred in front of a live studio audience. The comics performed for an equal amount of time, and the studio audience voted electronically for their preferred performer. The winning comic remained "in the house" for at least one more television week, and the losing comic was eliminated from the competition.

When only five comics remained, the format changed again. All remaining comics performed for a large theatre audience as before, but now the decision-making power shifted from the studio audience to the television audience. Viewers cast their votes for their favorite comic by phoning a specific number, by voting online at the network's website, or both. Unlike some other "audience-vote reality" programs, the producers imposed a maximum number of eligible votes per originating phone number and email address. The comic who received the lowest number of votes each week was eliminated from the competition, until there was one "Last Comic Standing".


eason 1: Summer 2003

Season one aired in the summer of 2003 and was hosted by Jay Mohr. The winner of the audience-participation final vote in season one was Dat Phan, with 35% of the vote. Other finalists included Ralphie May (28%), Rich Vos (18%), Cory Kahaney (12%), and Tess Drake (7%). Contestants "in the house" who did not make the final five were Geoff Brown, Tere Joyce, Sean Kent, Dave Mordal, and Rob Cantrell.

:colorbox|mistyrose Season 1 comic:colorbox|lavender Season 2 comic

:colorbox|limegreen LCS means the comic was the last comic standing:colorbox|orange OUT means the comic was the runner-up:colorbox|lightblue WIN means the comic's team won the $50,000 viewer vote and the comic moved on in the competition:colorbox|white IN means the comic's team lost the $50,000 viewer vote and the comic moved on in the competition:colorbox|gold OUT means the comic's team won the $50,000 viewer vote, but the comic was eliminated:colorbox|red OUT means the comic's team lost the $50,000 viewer vote and the comic was eliminated.


Due to lackluster ratings in the third season (falling as low as 74th in the prime-time Nielsen Ratings), NBC cancelled the show before the last episode of the third season had aired. The final episode was later aired on Comedy Central rather than NBC. It has been speculated that the low ratings were due to overexposure, since season three began airing almost immediately after season two had concluded. Others have speculated that NBC freed the time slot occupied by "Last Comic Standing" in order to air a four-episode block of "Father of the Pride", in an effort to boost the latter program's ratings.Fact|date=September 2007 "Father of the Pride" was ultimately cancelled as well.

eason 4: Summer 2006

On May 30 2006, the show returned to NBC with a two-hour special and a new host, Anthony Clark.

Neilsen ratings from Season 4 averaged a 4.4 share (4,848,800 households), making "Last Comic Standing" the second or third most popular program in its time slot.Clarifyme|date=March 2008

Josh Blue, a St. Paul, Minnesota native who has cerebral palsy, was the Last Comic Standing on the August 9, 2006, conclusion of the contest. Ty Barnett was the runner-up, while third place went to Chris Porter. Other finalists were (in order of placement) Michele Balan, Roz, Kristin Key, Rebecca Corry, Gabriel Iglesias, Joey Gay, Bil Dwyer, April Macie, and Stella Stolper. Additionally, Theo Von won the separate online contest to be the "Last Comic Downloaded".

:colorbox|limegreen LCS means the comic was the last comic standing:colorbox|lightblue SAFE means the comic won the immunity challenge:colorbox|gold WIN means the comic participated and won the head-to-head showdown:colorbox|red OUT means the comic lost the head-to-head showdown or by viewer voting and was eliminated


During season two, a panel of four celebrity judges was used to shrink the field of 40 semifinalists to ten finalists. The celebrity judges rated each of the semifinalists as they performed, and cast votes for the 10 top comedians. When the ten finalists were announced they did not seem to correspond with the judges' votes, which the judges noticed. Two of the celebrity judges, comedians Drew Carey and Brett Butler left the judge's table after the finalists were announced, visibly angry.

The two were shown backstage arguing with producers. Carey and Butler did not understand how the finalists who were announced could be correct, given the way the judges had voted. It was revealed that a panel of four producers were also casting votes in the process, assuring that unless all four celebrity judges cast the exact same ten votes, their voting power could be usurped by the four unanimously agreeing producers. If for some reason all four celebrity judges did cast the exact same votes, the worst the producers would be faced with was a tie.

Upon news of this information, Carey became angry that the producers made it seem he had a deciding vote in the outcome of the show. He reportedly responded, "All you wanted was our faces."Fact|date=January 2007 It was also revealed that some of the finalists who advanced were clients or employees of the producers or directors of the show. [cite web |url= |title=Last Comic Standing 2 - NBC |accessdate=2008-08-07 |publisher=Reality TV Calendar |date=2004-06-21 ]

Allegedly, some of the competitors in opening rounds were plants hired by the producers to liven up the auditions on television. [ [ 'Last Comic Standing' has some funny business ] ] For example, Buck Star, a comedian who followed talent executives Bob Read and Ross Mark to auditions across the country, is rumored to have been a production assistant for NBC. [ [] ]


Mark Breslin, owner of Yuk Yuk's comedy clubs which hosted the Toronto audition for season 6, described the audition process actually employed during those auditions. He explained that while anyone who wanted to could wait in line to audition, most would be berated and embarrassed by the panel of comedy "experts" (usually "celebrities" who either know nothing or have never performed stand-up, like "Oscar" from NBC's "The Office") and then dismissed after only one joke.

In fact, top local agents are usually given a number of specific call times for their clients. The first round of auditions were for a producer early in the morning, and those that were chosen came back for the celebrity judges in the afternoon. Breslin also confirmed that, while only two were shown advancing in the final broadcast, four comics had been initially chosen to advance to the finals. [ [ Canuck comics ready to take on the Yanks] ] Brian Lazanik, one of the two finalists who did not end up at the Vegas finals, has said that he was also chosen as a finalist in season 5's Toronto auditions, but was similarly cut. Producers for the show called his agent, urging him to try out again for season 6. [ [ A funny thing happened on the way to the show] ] [ [ Comedian with class, if not the prize] . "...four Toronto-based wits - Deb DiGiovanni, Gerry Dee, Brian Lazanik and Dan Licoppe - were selected for the [season 5] semifinals in Los Angeles."]

Appearances by comics

* Adam Sank ("Vh-1's Best Week Ever" and "")
* Angry Bob ("Sirius Radio" and "Opie and Anthony")
* Arj Barker ("Marijuana Logues", "Comedy Central Presents", "Flight of the Conchords")
* Bil Dwyer ("Battlebots", "I've Got a Secret" and "Comedy Central Presents")
* Chuck Roy
* Dan Cummins ("Comedy Central Presents")
* Dan Levy ("The Reality Show" and "Your Face or Mine?")
* Doug Benson ("Best Week Ever", "Comedy Central Presents", "Marijuana Logues")
* Gabriel Iglesias ("All That" and "Comedy Central Presents")
* Gary Gulman ("Comedy Central Presents" and "Tourgasm")
* Gerry Dee ("")
* Gina Yashere
* Harland Williams ("RocketMan", "Half Baked", "Premium Blend", Comedy Central Presents")
* Iliza Shlesinger on The Soup
* James Cunningham ("Comedy Central Presents")
* Jim Norton ("Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn", "Opie and Anthony", "Lucky Louie")
* Jimmy Pardo
* Joe DeVito ("Comedy Central's "Live at Gotham", FOX News Channel's "The Red Eye")
* Joel McHale ("The Soup")
* John Heffron (season two's winner)
* Jon Reep ("Premium Blend", "Comedy Central Presents", "Bandits vs. Smokies", Dodge Ram Hemi commercials, "Rodney")
* Josh Blue ("Mind of Mencia")
* Kathleen Madigan ("Comedy Central Presents")
* Larry Reeb ("Bob & Tom Show")
* Lavell Crawford ("Comedy Central Presents")
* Marc Price ("Family Ties")
* Nikki Payne (Muchmusic's "Video On Trial", CTV's "Comedy INC", The Comedy Network's "Buzz")
* Pablo Francisco ("Comedy Central Presents", MadTV)
* Pat Godwin (Howard Stern, Bob and Tom)
* Ralph Harris ("On Our Own", "Bob & Tom Show")

* Ralphie May ("Girth of a nation, Prime Cut")
* Rich Vos ("Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn", "Comedy Central Presents", "Opie and Anthony")
* Seán Cullen (CBC's "The Seán Cullen Show", "The Late Show with Jay Leno", "Comedy Central Presents", "Ellen's Really Big Show")
* Thea Vidale ("Thea")
* Theo Von ("Road Rules")
* Ryan Belleville ("Comedy Central Presents")
* Ryan Hamilton ("Comedy Central Live at Gotham")
* Todd Glass ("Comedy Central Presents")
* Tom Cotter ("Comedy Central Presents")



* [ Official website]
* [ The Comedy Channel Australia - series site]
* [ "Last Comic Standing"] on TV Squad

External links

* [ Summary]
* [ Last Comic Standing Fansite]

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