What started out as 100 hopeful comedians was reduced to just one as Season 9 of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” crowned yet another winner. The stand-up comedy competition show finally put a bookend to the season following five stellar performances by the remaining comics.
It was the last chance for the remaining comedians who survived the head-to-head rounds from last week. “Last Comic Standing” Season 9 finalists Ian Bagg, Dominique, Clayton English, Andy Erikson and Michael Palascak each took the stage one more time to compete for a chance to win $250,000, an NBC development deal for his or her own show and the coveted title of “Last Comic Standing.” Unlike most competition shows, there is no viewer voting here. At the end of the day, the show’s winner is decided by the panel of judges consisting of Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Norm Macdonald.
Palascak took the stage first. After being one of the best and most consistent writers in the competition, he delivered more of the same, but in the best way possible. He opened with a joke about divorce and the end of relationships and ended with a phenomenal closer about living in your parents' house just a little too long after graduating from college. The judges each thought he was good and commended him on delivering a constant level of quality throughout the competition.
Although he put on a tough act to follow, no one was better equipped to do so than Dominique. This comedian has captivated the audience up to this point in the show thanks to her brutal honesty and ability to weave jokes into her set, which is essentially just one long story. Despite that style getting her this far, for her final performance, Dominique seemed to be out of grand stories to tell. She opted, instead, for a string of jokes that relied more on her attitude and persona rather than her storytelling ability.
She was closely followed by the manic comedy stylings of Ian Bagg. This comedian has a significantly different style than the rest. As he put it: “Most comedians are making a speech, I’m trying to have a conversation.”
Bagg is at home with the uncertainty of interacting with the audience and proved his in spades when he had the guts to close his set by asking a random member of the crowd how long she’d been married. When she said 26 years, he unleashed a slew of material about their love life as an elderly couple. In terms of showing raw comedic stage talent, Bagg was unparalleled this season.
Speaking of very different stage personas, quirky funny girl Andy Erikson took the stage next with her unique brand of high-pitched delivery mixed with the constant looming presence of unicorns. The Minnesota native took the stage for the last time to do a whole set of adorable one-liners such as talking about her alphabet soup putting words in her mouth. Very few comedians are able to inhabit their own stage persona so fully, and even fewer actually have such a naturally hysterical personality in real life.
Rounding out the evening was Clayton English. If Palascak was the most consistent writer in this competition, English was the most consistent performer. Each of the judges commended him on his amazing stage presence and his command of the audience. In addition, his material was pretty good too, opening with a joke about how Jesus was a gangster and closing with a bit about cougars (the women, not the animals).
While each comedian was incredible in his or her own right, only one could take home the championship. In the end, the judges all agreed that Clayton English was the most deserving of the title in 2015 and crowned him the ninth winner of “Last Comic Standing.” Each of the comedians likely has a long career ahead of them, but English is the winner of the cash prize and will work with NBC to develop a television show. In addition, you can see him on NBC's “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and the "Today" show, as the network celebrates his big win in the coming days.