This season of Last Comic Standing has been an overwhelming success for NBC. In addition to the show's having strong summer ratings and earning itself a subsequent ninth season, this past week it was announced that the final five comedians would hit the road this fall for the Last Comic Standing tour, which will stop at Mystic Lake Casino on November 15.
But before all that, this week began the final sprint toward crowning a brand-new Last Comic Standing champion.
Unlike the past several episodes, there was no time wasted with challenges or gimmicks this week; it was straight-up standup.
There was one constant from past weeks, however, as before each comic took the stage they had the opportunity to chat with special guest mentor Jay Leno.
Now, say what you will about Leno's last run as Tonight Show host, but anyone who loves comedy can agree that there aren't too many other performers who have had stronger and more consistently funny standup careers than Jay.
In addition to offering up some of the best tips of the entire season ("Judge your set by how happy it makes you, not everyone else," he told Rod Man about keeping his material fresh), Leno shared some great road stories spanning his incredible comedy career.
Finally, it was time for the final five to take the stage, with Joe Machi batting lead-off.
While his set was just as entertaining, awkward, and well-executed as it has been throughout the competition, judge Keenan Ivory-Wayans pointed out that Machi's charisma and comfort level actually seemed to work against him to a degree, as it diluted his awkward charm that has made him such a crowd favorite.
Next up Rod Man brought back the fashion trend of the season, the leather T-shirt, and delivered a solid set focused on all things babies. Based on their feedback last night, it seems like Rod Man is currently the judges' choice to win the entire show, which has been sort of a recurring theme throughout the season.
Rocky LaPorte has been a sleeper this season, as he has stayed below the radar and off the stage ever since making it to the finals. Last night he finally had the chance to perform, and showed why he's had such a long, successful comedy career. Compared to the previous two comics, Rocky's style was much more traditional, and his jokes didn't need the same "character" performance as the others.
Nikki Carr, the final female comic standing, arguably had the weakest set of the evening, one that included a weird diatribe about dating horror-movie killers. Still, it's clear that she has the judges' attention, as they had nothing but glowing reviews for her performance.
Finally, after listening to Leno offer a great story about hosting the White House Correspondents Dinner during the Reagan era, Lachlan Patterson took the stage. Patterson also had a weaker performance than he's shown in past weeks, but Roseanne's feedback to "amp up the snark" was something that clearly hit home and should affect next week's show.
In the end, the veteran was sent packing as Rocky LaPorte was eliminated from the competition. Next week is the last episode before the finale, as the final four will be trimmed down to the last three final three before a champion is crowned.