To be successful in comedy, comedians need to be well versed on many aspects of the field, which is why the ten finalists have ditched the stand-up and focused solely on sketch comedy tonight. Let's see if it's funny, or just absolutely painful to watch. Can our contestants perform under pressure?
Joe Machi talks to the camera about the trip to Universal Studios the contestants took. They see Jaws memorabilia, and freak out a bit. After touring the lot, they meet up with JB Smoove to hear about their first challenge.
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The team challenge is called "Sketchy Situation", which --really? That's the best they can come up with? JB wants to make sure that the winner has great performance skills, especially since a show deal is included within their prizes. The winning team will get immunity against the next vote, and the script has already been written for the contestants.
Teams are broken up into "Team Snake" and "Team Flower". Lachlan Patterson, who's on Team Snake, is a bit worried after seeing how strong Team Flower is. Ladies and gentleman, that's a sentence I never thought I'd be typing.
Cheryl Hines is the first mentor that'll help out our comedians. She actually did sketch comedy at The Groundlings for a bit, and stresses the importance of working as a team. After a brief pep talk, JB hands the contestants their scripts, and laughs maniacally.
The Gang Change Up Their Names
"Team Flower" immediately changes their name to "The Business" (Which I originally heard as "Team Business," which I like much better), while "Team Snake" goes for "Sketchy Snakes." Over at The Business, Rod Man was given the role of "The Burn Victim" in the sketch, which he's not too excited about. Rocky LaPorte and DC Benny already have some sketch experience, so they're not worried about their performance whatsoever.
Sketchy Snakes had some fun with their costumes before Cheryl came over to give the team some advice. "There's a lot of dialogue, but you guys will have cue cards," Cheryl tells them. Monroe Martin admits that he's a terrible actor, and the idea of acting while reading horrifies him. And Lachlan -- well, I love Lachlan, but he's pretty bad at this.
Back to The Business, who are ready to practice with the cards. Jimmy Shubert gets a bit bossy while on stage, and Aida Rodriguez straight up says that the sketch isn't funny. (How can a talk show sketch called "Let's Get Going, America!" be stale? Wait -- I get it.) "In addition to being the only woman... I don't think they really take me seriously," she says about her team.
The teams will be playing at the Upright Citizens Theater, which is a pretty big deal. Joe Machi sounds a bit nervous, even though he constantly sounds nervous.
The Sketches Begin
Sketchy Snakes start up first, and there's about 5 minutes of awkward silence before they realize that the sketch will start up without any cues.
Lachlan immediately freezes, and screws up a majority of his lines. The audience doesn't laugh at all, which throws him off. The second the laughter starts, the more comfortable Lachlan feels. Lachlan Patterson: Powered By Happiness.
Nikki Carr is just a natural, and helps save the sketch for the Snakes. Joe is "The Burn Victim" for the Snakes, and gets a great reaction as well. Karlous Miller also did a great job, and despite the rough start-up, the team didn't completely sink.
Next up is The Business. The team practices some breathing exercises before getting up on stage to repeat the material to the same exact audience. Jimmy starts the sketch immediately with a bunch of energy, and him and Aida have great energy together. Despite a great start, the sketch starts to fall apart in the middle when Rocky's character hits the stage.
Jimmy gets flustered when Rod Man's Burn Victim shows up, and while Rod Man does a good job, the rhythm is off. "Something that Cheryl kept saying is, remember to listen," Aida stated. "And I don't think that Jimmy was listening."
Regardless, they all survived. They nervously await the decision of JB, who'll be announcing the winner. Even as JB states to the live audience that both sketches were hilarious, something in his delivery made me feel like he knew the audience could tell he was just trying to be nice.
The Winning Team Is Announced!
Saved from elimination? The Sketchy Snakes! Nikki, Lachlan, Joe, Monroe, and Karlous will all be around next week.
The next day, all of the contestants are well rested yet pretty nervous, since the elimination round is next. JB tells our comics that the contestants will be voting against each other, through a videotaped confessional booth.
Who'll Be In The Hot Seat?
Jimmy votes next, and bases his vote solely around what happened during the sketches. Unfortunately, he's so out of breath based on the steps leading up to the booth, that we're not sure who he cast his vote against. Without hesitation, Aida votes against Jimmy. "I knew that Jimmy was coming for me," she says. And then we cut back to Jimmy's vote! She was absolutely correct.
JB then announces that we'll be viewing the videotaped votes, which just seems cruel. We saw Jimmy's vote, but Rocky and DC also cast votes against Aida. Joe awkwardly votes against Rocky, and Monroe votes for DC. Lachlan breaks the mood, by stating that he's funnier than the guy at Subway, Attila the Hun, Hall but not Oates, and ... Rod Man. Really? They eat breakfast together! Karlous, Aida, and Nikki all have their votes aired for Jimmy. The last vote will be Rod Man's, and he also went for Jimmy. Having four comics vote against him meant that he'd have to prove himself tonight, along with Aida and Rod Man.
Russell Peters hangs out with the unfortunate three, and states that two will be going home tonight. "The only obstacle these guys have to overcome is nerves tonight," Russell claims. He reminds them to connect with the audience, and make sure that the decision will be a hard one for the judges.
The Throwdown Round
It's time for the throwdown. But first, let's re-introduce the judges: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Russell, and Roseanne.
Jimmy Shubert is the first to impress, and explains about how he was once dumped through text message. "When you care enough to send the very least, a 'thank you' for honoring our time together with 30 seconds of tapping and a frowny face," Jimmy says. "I guarantee if you go back, you'll find a story about a dude getting dumped through morse code." Jimmy ends with talking about the dating habits of Pocahontas, and uses physical comedy to connect with the crowd.
Roseanne loved his performance and energy, and loved his set. Russell said that he had a similar bit about text message break-ups, but thinks that Jimmy's was much better. Keenen says that in the setting of the smaller room, Jimmy still kept his confidence.
Aida says that while her head is out of the game, her heart is still in it. Her set starts out by talking about how she Googles herself, even though she has a common name. She's realized that she's had home invasion charges, and has given men herpes in various states due to her searches, which is probably why men never want to date her. The energy in general was low, which Russell mentions --but he's stating the obvious. "I think you let this audience throw you," Roseanne says. Then she makes a joke about Tom Arnold, which gets a better reaction than Aida's entire set.
It's now Rod Man's turn, and he's bummed that two people will be going home tonight. With a few fist pounds backstage with his comedy-friends, he's ready to rock.
"I never knew my father. I was raised by a single mama," he starts. He did have a step-dad, who was a "little dude." "We didn't know Frank was angry about his height," he said. But he didn't listen to Frank, since he knew he could easily beat him up based on his short stature. Frank also had a glass eye, which Rod Man claimed was "On No-Doze." "It wasn't alert at all," he said. "I have to give the eye credit. It was a tough-ass eye."
Keenen is laughing even while giving his critique, and Russell loves his style. "Nobody could ever steal your material," he said. "That's what makes you Rod Man." This is going to be a tough call.
The bottom three hang out backstage during deliberations, and give each other their best. The judges make sure to note that they're all extremely talented, before announcing the winner. It's Rod Man!
"I'm sad to see Jimmy and Aida leave the competition, but somebody must go," Rod Man states. Jimmy has no regrets about the experience, and Aida thinks that the competition was absolutely fair.
And now, here's where you can participate: By going onto the Last Comic Standing website through NBC, you can vote for which comedian you'd like to see perform on the season finale. This week, it'll be a vote between Jimmy and Alignon Mitra, who was voted out in an earlier episode.
Next Week: The comics take a trip to see Ellen Degeneres, and Wanda Sykes preps the comedian on how to interview. The winner will be chosen by Ellen's audience, which is bound to be unpredictable.
Watch an all new episode of Last Comic Standing next Thursday at 10pm on NBC.
(Image courtesy of NBC)