Friday, August 11, 2006

"Last Comic Standing" Needs Judges

After seeing Josh Blue's (a victim of cerebral palsy) victory on "Last Comic Standing," I am convinced that the show should have judges. At the beginning of each season, they have auditions with talent scouts.

During the early elimination rounds, they have celebrity judges

For the rest of the season, only the audience decides

This isn't a big deal, but I am disturbed that the magicians on "America's Got Talent" get more criticism than these comics. Yes, I despise "American Idol," but Randy and Simon's criticism help the artist develop; plus they give criticisms that the audience can never give. Randy calls many acts contrived. Simon bluntly tells a contestant that he is bored.

Criticism is precisely what Josh Blue needs. I cannot say with certainty that he rode the pity vote to victory, but I can say that nothing could be crueler than coddling him. Of course the world of stand-up is daunting enough by itself, but the road to stardom is infinitely more cutthroat.

What if someone in the future tells him that he does too much material on CP (my criticism)? Will he listen? Or will he scoff and say "You didn't win LCS?" Who's gonna tour with him? He's not hip enough for the alternative scene; he's not mean enough for the New York club comedy scene. What TV/movie roles will he get; whatever part he gets will inevitably seem exploitative.

Perhaps if he focused on other topics he could broaden his prospects. A CP musical act could potentially rock a UCB crowd. Some topical jokes could land him a Daily Show gig.

Ty Barnett, the second place comic, should have won. He was funnier, the audience laughed harder and he touched on different topics (DVDs, seat belts). He could have done black jokes for his whole set, but that would have been too cheap.

A judge would have pointed all these things out for the simple reason that a judge is experienced enough to give unflinchingly honest advice. TV audiences (in this country at least) seem to prefer making moral choices to aesthetic ones. The black Muslim on "Big Brother"'s first season was interesting, but because he was mean, viewers voted him off. One by one housemates were weeded out until only the blandest survived.

Forgive me for sounding callous, but that's LCS's problem; the tepid, inoffensive, self-deprecating acts rise to the top. Vietnamese winner Dat Phan tells Asian jokes; Josh Blue tells cripple jokes. I would love to see an episode where Simon Cowell tells Josh Blue "I was bored; how many CP jokes can you tell? Oh, and the Gabriel jokes are getting old. Sorry, but you have to do better than that." I would also enjoy the subsequent torrent of boos raining on Simon's ears.

But there are no judges on the show. I suppose the next best thing would be to judge me for watching this shit. But do it silently please.

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