Last Comic Standing, Season 8, “Invitational 4” RECAP

So here we are. The final episode of the “Invitational” rounds for the Top 100, and we still have so many comics out of those 100 to see, meet and hear tell us jokey jokes!

How can we fit that all in a single hour? No time for trick questions; only quick questions!

Are the people in the photo above our semifinalists? Let’s find out!

UPDATED: I went into more detail about some of these people, and even more about people not pictured, in separate analysis for Previously.TV.

KARLOUS MILLER (PROFILE PREVIEW, FULL SET, JUDGES COMMENTS, POST-SET CONFESSIONAL) used to be a volunteer firefighter in Oxford, Miss., but you don’t really volunteer for firefighting. You need to fight that fire. Just like you can’t just volunteer for stand-up comedy. It has to be something you have to do. So what does young Karlous do? He jokes about women with weaves that are a little too fake, women with some toes that aren’t pretty little piggies. And now he’s joking about Mexican immigrants fixing a car, but all I can think of is how he’s wearing the same black-on-blacker-on-blackest outfit that Rod Man wore for his Invitational showcase. Enough from me. What do the judges think? “Nonstop funny,” says Roseanne. Russell Peters says he related to his specific audience, with the Mexican joke in Los Angeles. Keenen Ivory Wayans notes he’s like Martin Lawrence, which he says is not a bad thing.

JOE ZIMMERMAN (FULL SET) jokes about emerging onstage with fear. Talk about fear: He talks about animal attacks in Florida and questioning the zig-zag defense against an alligator, or smiling when facing a wolf. Roseanne liked his writing. Russell appreciated his “sarcastic undertone,” then sarcastically referenced Joe’s last name. Wayans questioned his mic technique. “So you want me to be louder?” Joe asked. No, no. He’s sincere! “I’m not trying to zing ya!” You tell ’em, Joe!

The tease into the ad break sure made it look like JC Coccoli is going to get a mouthful of Roseanne smackdown later this hour! Oooooohhhhhhhh

MARY MACK and TIM HARMSTON (PROFILE PREVIEW, FULL SET, JUDGES COMMENTS) Couple alert! Wife-and-husband stand-up comedians from the Midwest! They met as contestants at the 2003 Funniest Person in the Twin Cities contest at ACME Comedy Co. — if that’s not a good enough reason for you to enter a comedy competition, other than possibly winning and getting a big break professionally, then, well…how cheesy was his pick-up move to her, though, seriously? Harmston walks out onstage first. And immediately tells the audience that his wife is a comedian, and the crowd boos his initial punchline. Wait for the joke part, people! There’s a Swedish nurse in it for you. If you saved up your laughs. In the meantime, you can try coloring your hair like Harmston does. But heed his advice. Russell notes that being married to a comedian makes one ultra-competitive. Keenen thinks Tim’s set was inconsistent, but he’s funny. Roseanne agrees, calling him funny but “disjointed.” And don’t save your funniest stuff for the finals, because you won’t make it there.

Pete Lee with a joke backstage about teeth!

YAMANEIKA SAUNDERS (BACKSTAGE COMMENTS, PARTIAL SET, JUDGES COMMENTS) says her mother is very overprotective about her living in New York City. “My mom thinks I’m muggable!” If only. Right, ladies? In her case, she says the dark alley is more fearful for the other guy. Wait. Isn’t there only one guy?

Here’s her full set for more perspective and context:

PETE LEE (PARTIAL SET) says his buddies make too many jokes about being single in front of him, because he’s married and life is not so wild.

Here’s Lee’s full set, only online!

LUIS J. GOMEZ (PARTIAL SET) says he’s much friendlier looking if he leaves his hat on.

CHIP POPE (PARTIAL SET) says his family was too poor for him to come out of the closet.

DEANNE SMITH (PARTIAL SET, JUDGES COMMENTS) jokes about performing at an atheist convention, which is probably somewhere she didn’t ask them to “tell it to my balls!” You saw her set if you caught the preview clips we posted here this spring. And to think, she says she just threw that joke in there tonight! Tonight being dozens of nights ago when they taped this.

See for yourself!

NIKKI CARR (FULL SET, JUDGES COMMENTS, POST-SET CONFESSIONAL) says she has been the same size since she was 7 years old. Really? How is she supposed to go on a diet when #foodisdelicious? And don’t get her started on turkey bacon. Russell says, “You owned who you are.” Keenen says her rhythm reminded him of Bernie Mac, but “I wanted to see more about you.” So make sense of those two comments. Roseanne says she was bringing it.

BILLY WAYNE DAVIS (FULL SET, JUDGES COMMENTS) joked about going back to the South and seeing friends who never moved away. You can tell who they are. Do the math. “In a coon’s age” is not new math. It’s also probably not what you think it is. Nice closing joke (if it was his closer) comparing rednecks and gay dudes. Roseanne liked it, the jokes, the timing and the writing. Russell agreed. “You know what you’re doing.” Keenen says his confidence was great. No sweat!

Here is the profile preview of Davis you didn’t get to see on the TV!

“This is the toughest night so far,” Keenen Ivory Wayans intones.

WHAT DOES THIS PORTEND? What does portend mean, again? Uh oh, another tease about JC making her out to be this month’s Ben Kronberg or something!

MIKE GAFFNEY (FULL SET, JUDGES COMMENTS, POST-SET CONFESSIONAL) jokes that he doesn’t want kids, even though…he already has two of them. You kids are so frustrating! Even though…he hasn’t had a drink or a drug in 21 years. No luxury of booze or vicodin to deal with teenage girls. Can you imagine? He reminds Keenen of Jackie Gleason. Which, kids, is a good thing. Russell thought it was a great set, too, but wanted him to get into it faster. Roseanne thinks he was pacing himself to bring us the “harvest” from the “seeds” of his comedy. Or something?

Here’s the profile preview of Gaffney you didn’t see on TV:

JC COCCOLI (BACKSTAGE COMMENTS, PARTIAL SET, JUDGES COMMENTS) foreshadows, wondering about having Roseanne yell at her. “Am I afraid that Roseanne’s gonna yell at me? Yep.” “That’s fine. You know what? If Roseanne yells at you, you’ve won.” Onstage, she leaps to the front and shouts out “How’s everybody doing?” as if she were hosting her Monday night show on the regular in Los Angeles. Roseanne will not like this much as she takes out her pen to put it to paper. And as we saw teased twice already this hour. But back to JC’s jokes, which are about her trading in her car for a Vespa, which lengthens her commute but saves her money. Roseanne says she liked it and her energy, “but you did the worst thing in the world at the top of your thing. I’m really going to get all over people’s ass for this because I JUST HATE IT when people come out and say, ‘Hey! How are you doing?’ I hate people that start their act that way.” It’s lazy. Don’t ask them questions. And then, she backs off. “Thanks girl.” “I ain’t mad at that.”

SEAN DONNELLY (PARTIAL SET) jokes about going to a “thug barbershop.” “Oh, snap. You look like Bobby from King of the Hill, son.” Son.

KELLYE HOWARD (PARTIAL SET) jokes about the ghetto friends she had before she got married.

KURT METZGER (PARTIAL SET) jokes about quitting smoking. It’s harder than you think.

Fun fact: Four years ago, Last Comic awarded Metzger with the best joke of the entire season, despite him not even making the finals. This season, they only let him tell one joke on camera. Argh.

TOMMY RYMAN (PARTIAL SET, JUDGES COMMENTS) jokes about getting a new puppy with his wife, when it’s not a rescue. Roseanne says she’s never seen anyone before like him. What? Like him?

Here’s his full set so you can see what she’s talking about:

Props coming to Monroe Martin, after the break!

MONROE MARTIN (FULL SET, JUDGES COMMENTS, POST-SET CONFESSIONAL) lets us know he grew up in foster care. Where he learned a new take on the proverb about teaching a man to fish. Thanks, foster mom! If he knew then what he knows now about foster parenting, he would have had much better leverage in negotiating everything! He’s also named for his dad, which isn’t as much fun as it seems now. Although knowing he grew up in foster care should give you a clue. “You are what comedy is supposed to be,” says Keenen. Mad props! Taking his real tragedy and making it funny. Applause, applause, applause. Russell congrats him, too. “You brought the pain, and showed us how you survived it,” Roseanne says. “I’d like to see you get even more pissed off!”

And moving on to the semifinals…Karlous Miller, DeAnne Smith, Nikki Carr, Tommy Ryman, Yamaneika Saunders, Mike Gaffney and Monroe Martin!

That makes 28 semifinalists in all. See you next Thursday!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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