As the very brief season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” moves past its halfway point, the list of comics narrows down from 40 to the top 10 as the semifinals come to a close. It was more of the same from last week as comics tried desperately to impress the hardened judges to move on to the final round.
As demonstrated in the previous semifinal round, two of the three judges dropped their tolerance for the comics significantly as the list began to narrow down. Norm Macdonald had always been hard on the comedians who he thought didn’t have what it takes, but Roseanne Barr followed suit last week once the invitational rounds were over. Meanwhile, Keenen Ivory Wayans continued to deliver nothing but positive feedback no matter who was on stage.
Comedian Ian Baag took the stage first to present one of the best sets of the night. After some coaching from celebrity guest comedian and “Last Comic Standing” executive producer Wanda Sykes, Bagg was ready to take the stage with a different approach than his invitational set. Sykes told him to try doing some crowd work, which he masterfully accomplished to a great ovation from all three judges. Just like that, the show was rolling out the remaining 20 comedians for their second set of the show, and possibly last chance to prove they’ve got what it takes to be the winner.
Another standout of the evening was final performer Amy Miller, who, after a very intense rewriting session with Sykes, brought some of her boldest material to the stage. She’s a self-described “heavy girl” and ran through a lot of hilarious jokes about dating from that perspective. The judges liked her -- except for Macdonald, who told her that her writing needs to be tightened up or else she’ll never break the wall between a good comedian and a great comedian. Unfortunately, Norm’s veto proved enough to keep her out of the top 10.
In the end, only five of the 20 performers could move on to the Head-to-Head rounds next week. The three judges ultimately sent through Ian Baag, Joe List, Dominique, Michael Palascak and Ryan Conner. Next week they’ll join the five comedians sent through last week as they compete in direct competition for a spot in the finals of Season 9.
The Top 10 Comedians for “Last Comic Standing” Season 9 are: