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Worst Comic Standing

Dave Burkhart: Last Comic Standing was a travesty, but one that is very illustrative about America's approach to humor. On one side, the sweet, over-the-top, unfunny (to me) humor of Dat; and on the other, the sharp, sarcastic, cerebral humor of Ralphie.

Ben Boychuk: I predicted the outcome (to my wife) last week. The fix was in weeks ago. Dat Phan was the perfect dramatic foil. He was the unfunny anti-comic, the outsider, the underdog. He could not lose. He had to win. It wasn't just Ralphie May who got robbed. He's great. But the winner should have been Dave Mordal.

Steve Lutz: I saw the first episode, watched the extended, almost Olympic-coverage like Fight Against Adversity profile of Dat Phan, and knew immediately that he was the winner. It was confirmed a few days later when the U-T ran a profile of Phan, once again talking up all the adversity that he and his long-suffering people have endured. I didn't bother to watch the rest, assuming the conclusion was foregone.

Was Ralphie the big fat fucker? Because they spent an awful lot of time on him during the first episode, too. I liked his frank, highly sarcastic treatment of his obviously morbid obesity, but feared that he was a one-trick pony. Was I right, or did he have more than "I'm a big fat loser" in his repertoire?

Ultimately, I'm happy I decided to drink beer and play Vice City instead.

Monty Ashley: He did surprisingly little fat stuff, really. Usually it felt like it was obligatory, like he knew people were expecting some kind of reference to it. Although his finale material was all fat stuff. I'm not sure I'd call Ralphie "cerebral", considering that last week, his entire set was "Ooh, I'm saying to bomb Iraq, aren't I controversial?"

I can't decide whether it was a flaw in the show or not, but the comics never really bought into the show. When there were exemption challenges, which on any other show would result in everyone scrambling around and killing themselves, most of the comics either ignored the challenge or actively mocked it. And then they were surprised when the only sincere person (Dat Phan) won exemptions.

The show suffered from the same lack-of-drama flaw as American Idol: now that everyone knows who these people are, it's not clear that the winner is necessarily going to get more out of the show than the losers. Before the American Idol finale, Ruben and Clay already had matching recording contracts. And even though he was officially eliminated weeks ago, Dave Mordal's future could clearly include a sitcom deal if he wants it.

I liked Last Comic Standing a lot more than American Idol, probably because I enjoy stand-up comedy more than the Celine Dion warbling the kids keep doing no matter what the song is. I wish LCS had shown more of the Bad Comics, because I can't get enough of that sort of thing. And yet, I can't be bothered to go to Amateur Nights and get it in person. The montage of terrible impressionists was just great.


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