Last Comic Standing recap: Semi-final day 1

After three weeks of competition, last night's Last Comic Standing kicked off the semi-finals with 14 of the 28 remaining contestants performing for the judges, including the two remaining Twin Cities-grown talents.

Before they took the stage, each contestant spent a few minutes working with celebrity guest mentors Amy Schumer, an LCS alumnus from season five, and Wanda Sykes, the executive producer of the current season. While it was a little awkward seeing the comics performing in an empty club for an audience of two, the mentors offered some quality advice, unlike anything that's come out of Russell Peters's mouth yet this season.

NOTE: Let's get this out of the way early. For the past few weeks, we've been critical of Peters's judging skills. That's why this week, we're going list a few of his, um, "critiques" of the contestants and let you decide how on-point his judging skills really are:

Karlous Miller

"You said a lot of things, and they were all funny."

Monroe Martin

"When you said MLK High School, we knew what you meant."

Joe Machi

"You can get along with anything as long as you smile, but you know that trick already."

Even though this week featured fewer contestants than the invitational, only a handful of comics were shown working with Schumer and Sykes, while the majority received the rapid-fire montage treatment once again.

The very first montage of the show featured our two remaining Twin Cities hopefuls, Tommy Ryman and Tracey Ashley.

Ryman kicked things off by giving a quick sound bite to the camera before running out on stage and launching into a hilarious set about having a lesbian mom, her hopes for having a gay son, despite his insistence that he is, in fact, into females ("I like women, just like you. You like women, dad likes women; this is a 100 percent women-loving family").

We checked in via text message while Ryman attended a friend's wedding in Australia, and he shared his experience working with the mentors off camera:

"It was really fun, but mine was just with Wanda," he said. "I just did my set in front of her, and she was super nice. All of the judges liked my first set, so she just told me to keep doing what I was doing."

In the same montage, Tracey Ashley not only shared a fantastic look into her early life ("I was born on my grandparents' farm in Georgia, delivered by a midwife named Slappy May"), but also a fascinating fact about hippos being responsible for a lot of deaths in Africa.

"I wanted to see Slappy May delivering you," said Keenan Ivory Wayans.

Out of the 14 comedians who performed, just five would advance to the finals, JB Smoove announced. Those selected were Monroe Martin, Karlous Miller, Joe Machi, Aida Rodriguez, and Jimmy Shubert.

Sadly, this means the end of the road for our hometown favorites, but according to Ryman, the experience was well worth the effort.

"I liked my set, even though they only showed a small part of what I did," he said. "I had a blast on the show and I'm happy with how it turned out. It would have been nice to get into the top 10, but I'll just do that next year."

Next week, the other 14 semi-finalists will square off for the last five spots in the finals, including Acme Comedy Co. favorite Emily Galati.

You can catch Ryman back home and onstage at Acme Comedy Co. July 1-5, where he'll be featuring for David Huntsberger, or at Joke Joint Comedy Club July 17-19.

As for Ashley, you can keep up on her upcoming shows by following her on Twitter (@Tashley305) or on her website,