After taking a break for the Fourth of July, Last Comic Standing got back to the business of crowning a new champion this week, as the remaining eight contestants prepared for potential superstardom during the talk-show challenge.
Things got going quickly with JB Smoove informing the comics that this week they would be competing for a chance to sit down with the dancing queen of daytime, Ellen Degeneres. Celebrity mentor Wanda Sykes was once again brought in to help the contestants prepare for the challenge, which would first consist of a pre-interview with one of Ellen's producers, with the three best moving on to the show itself.
Wanda warned everyone to stay away from toilet humor, and to focus more on telling a great story with their limited time on the phone. In one of the most honest and valuable pieces of advice all season, Sykes explained to Rocky LaPorte that the key difference between doing morning radio shows as a standup and talking with Degeneres is that she actually listens to the guests. It's tough to argue with that logic.
Each comic got on the phone with the producer, sharing stories, jokes, and a really weird anecdote by Joe Machi about inventing a Swiss Army shirt. In the end, it was Rod Man, Monroe Martin, and Nikki Carr who were selected to dance their way onto daytime television.
Before any of the comics even stepped on the stage, the challenge already provided plenty of reality-TV gold in the form of excited middle-aged white ladies dancing in the crowd. Were there embroidered T-shirts and awkward arm circles? You bet. Then, it was time for the contestants to take the stage.
As expected, Martin was funny and charming, touching on his tough upbringing. He has quickly become one of the odds-on favorites to win the competition, as his performances seem to get stronger each week.
Nikki Carr was really, really excited to be talking with Degeneres, but her enthusiasm seemed to overpower the conversation; something that Sykes echoed in the green room.
Finally, Rod Man came out and blew both of his competitors out of the water, delivering a hilarious, endearing, and genuinely authentic interview about his family and their love of Ellen. You could tell that Degeneres herself was impressed with Rod Man, as she was seemingly drawn into his unique storytelling and allowed him to control the segment.
Once all three had performed, the sassy dancing audience of Ellen fans voted Rod Man as the winner of the challenge, giving him immunity from the next head-to-head showdown.
After the obligatory wacky voting montage, it was decided that Lachlan Patterson would take on D.C. Benny later that evening.
Patterson has been one of sleepers so far this season, with not a lot of camera time being dedicated to him prior to this episode. However, some quick digging into his comedy will show you that the dude who looks like a human Ken doll is crazy-talented and definitely one of the more seasoned comics of this season.
While the two comedians waited backstage, judge Keenan Ivory Wayans stopped by to give some advice on how to best work the room ("Play to the front of the stage") and how to avoid elimination ("Don't try and compete with each other; just go out there and perform"). Not only did Wayans come off looking like a seasoned pro to the audience, but the comics seemed genuinely impressed with his advice as well with Benny commenting, "That was actually very usable advice."
Both sets were actually pretty stellar, with Benny emphasizing his ability to utilize different character voices, and Patterson discussing the scary world of the internet.
One thing we noticed this week is that Russell Peters (yep, he's still there) is clearly terrified of Rosanne, and will literally just echo anything she has to say to the contestants. You could make it a drinking game.
Ultimately, Patterson came out on top sending Benny home. Just as they have in past weeks, however, Benny has been entered into this week's Comic Comeback online, giving him a chance to perform during the live finale.
Next week, the remaining contestants will be tour guides at Universal Studios, while Howie Mandel will serve as a special guest coach, providing tips on improv and full-body shaving.
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