THIS JUST IN! MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

NBC is making Thursday nights must-see TV for comedy fans as of May 22, 2014, with the return of Last Comic Standing — with new host JB Smoove and new judges Roseanne Barr and Keenen Ivory Wayans, along with international comic sensation Russell Peters – as well as dynamic new host JB Smoove.

The series will air Thursdays (10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific) following the two-hour premiere. It’ll be preceded in the 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific hour by Hollywood Game Night.

Last Comic have 13 one-hour weekly episodes, executive produced by Wanda Sykes and Page Hurwitz (who recently also helmed Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious showcases for OWN. Javier Winnik (The Marriage Ref) also is aboard the production team.

“We are ready to bring back the funny with this relaunch of Last Comic Standing, and can’t wait to discover the next great stand-up,” said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming, NBC Entertainment. “With Keenen, Roseanne and Russell set as our new judges, JB as host and Wanda, Page and Javier at the helm, there will be plenty of laughter all summer.”

This eighth season is invitation only. NBC’s casting page had encouraged would-be contestants to contact them with video submissions and references by email. Of course, the show already has begun pre-production and auditioned comedians before the announcement. The top 100 is showcasing this coming week, with all tapings in Los Angeles. So if you didn’t already audition, don’t go standing in line outside a comedy club hoping to get discovered. Well, not so much as your odds of doing that any given week at any given comedy club would be about the same.

From the press release:

The top 100 comics in America will vie for 20 spots. These 20 will then compete in a semifinal round and the best of the best will emerge, with the top 10 moving into the compelling challenge rounds. In this phase, they will compete in different comedy disciplines, such as sketch, improv and stand-up, proving themselves both individually and in teams.

Then the funniest of all will take the coveted title of “Last Comic Standing,” winning a prize package that includes an NBC talent deal and a half-hour scripted project to be developed by Universal Television.

Barr is a sitcom icon; Wayans a sketch comedy icon; and Peters a stand-up star across the globe.

UPDATED WITH COMMENTS FROM THE JUDGES

Roseanne Barr wrote via Twitter: “i am so excited 2b seeing gr8 new stand up comics. I’m seeing 100 of them in the next few days. #SolomonicJudgement how 2 b honest yet kind,” adding: “i cant wait to see th subj th new comics address. Comics R never ever bad. Theyr just always progressing in learning how2 express themselves.”

Peters was on tour once again, but had to reschedule, posting on his website: “Ok, so the reason we had to re-schedule, cancel and change upcoming tour dates is because: RUSSELL is going to be one of the judges on this season’s LAST COMIC STANDING on NBC. RUSSELL joins ROSEANNE BARR, KEENON IVORY WAYANS and host, JB SMOOVE. The new series premieres on MAY 22nd at 9 PM on NBC. Subsequent episodes will air on THURSDAY NIGHTS at 10 PM on NBC. SO, that’s why everything like Syracuse being cancelled and Cleveland being re-scheduled etc happened. MAKE SURE YOU WATCH RUSSELL ON LAST COMIC STANDING THIS SUMMER!”

You already can see Smoove hosting Four Courses, his dinner-table conversation series with athletes, comedians and celebrities, on the MSG Network.

This is going to be an interesting summer, comedians and comedy fans!

America’s Got Talent, meanwhile, will return for its eighth season the week after Last Comic, airing two-hour episodes on Tuesdays and one hour on Wednesdays.