NBC aired the final round of Last Comic Standing “Invitationals” auditions on Wednesday night, which eventually whittled down the field of stand-up comedians from 100 invitees down to 41 semifinalists still in the running for a $250,000 prize and network development deal.
Here are your 41 semifinalists for Last Comic Standing, Season 9, in the summer of 2015 (in alphabetical order):
- Ian Bagg (Terrace, British Columbia, Canada)
- Tony Baker (Las Cruces, N.M.)
- Kevin Bozeman (Downers Grove, Ill.)
- Melanie Comarcho (Los Angeles)
- Ryan Conner (Woodbridge, Va.)
- Alycia Cooper (Temple Hills, Md.)
- Dominique (Washington, D.C.)
- Clayton English (Atlanta)
- Andy Erikson (Ham Lake, Minn.)
- DC Ervin (Vallejo, Calif.)
- Ricarlo Flanagan (Cleveland)
- Noah Gardenswartz (Denver)
- Amir Gollan (Glenside, Penn.)
- Harrison Greenbaum (Woodmere, N.Y.)
- Mia Jackson (Atlanta)
- Ambrose Jones III (Memphis)
- Amir K (Orange, Calif.)
- Bryan Kellen (Denver)
- K-Von (Las Vegas, Nev.)
- Mehran Khaghani (Lexington, Mass.)
- Joe List (Whitman, Mass.)
- Brad Loekle (Slate Hill, N.Y.)
- Cyrus McQueen (Boston)
- Amy Miller (Oakland, Calif.)
- Sammy Obeid (Fremond, Calif.)
- Michael Palascak (Wabash, Ind.)
- Ms. Pat (Atlanta)
- Esther Povitsky (Skokie, Ill.)
- Crystian Ramirez (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
- Francisco Ramos (Rockville, Md.)
- Mike Siegel (Chicago)
- Andi Smith (Janesville, Wis.)
- Shakir Standley (Chicago)
- Moses Storm (Kalamazoo, Mich.)
- KT Tatara (Woodbridge, Va.)
- Drew Thomas (Atlanta)
- Taylor Tomlinson (Los Angeles)
- Angelo Tsarouchas (Ottawa, Canada)
- LaVar Walker (Chicago)
- Sheng Wang (Houston)
- Greg Warren (St. Louis)
By the way, in case you want the full math, over the first five hours, NBC and Last Comic showed 65 of the 100 comedians invited to audition at the “Invitationals” in front of judges Norm Macdonald, Roseanne Barr and Keenen Ivory Wayans, and hosted by Anthony Jeselnik. That left 35 stand-up comedians on the cutting room floor after editing — depriving them of a TV credit (and possibly also the cash and cache that comes with that) while also sparing them from perhaps unfair eliminations. Better luck next year?
Congrats to the 41 comedians named above, who’ll compete in semifinal action next Wednesday night in primetime on NBC.
The next two weeks (Aug. 19 and Aug. 26, 2015, will see semifinal action) narrow the field to 10 comedians.
On Sept. 2, 2015, those 10 finalists will compete in paired-off head-to-head single-elimination rounds to reach a final five, who will compete for the grand prize on Sept. 9, to be determined by the judges.
4 thoughts on “Your 41 semifinalists for Season 9 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing”
You would think that if 35% of the supposedly carefully invited comics really did not have a single joke worth airing, the invitation process is seriously flawed, but last year, such proven talents as Adrienne Iapalucci, Pete Lee and Carmen Lynch received little or no air time.
It seems their system was, roughly, 35 completely ignored, 29 shown in full and making it to the semis, 12 shown in part yet making it to the semis, 8 shown in full but not making it (so you know even background profile do not guarrantee selection) and 14 shown in part and not making it.
Roseanne’s favorites always made it to the semis, while MacDonald’s opinions, positive or negative, seem to carry little weight, perhaps because he often seems high, detached or, in the case of his bible reference, bizarre.
Keenan seems to have a clear veto and not a lot of interest in white male comics, both reflected in the season’s worst rejection, Sam Morrill. Keenan’s comments are often the most perceptive and in depth, in stark contrast to his one bias.
It is a very, very ethnicaly and racially diverse group of comics, although redneck humor is basically absent and the percentage of Jewish or Italian comics is lower than in the profession.
Well, I think the answer might be even simpler than that. Numbers-wise, that is.
LCS received a shorter episode order this year (only 8 weeks!), so if you do the math, even showing 65 comedians in the first five hours (44 minutes per hour, after commercials) works out to 220 minutes or 3.38 minutes per comedian. But that’s not the reality. The reality is they named 41 semifinalists, and if you just showed their sets with judges comments and Anthony Jeselnik making snark before and after, that’s 5.36 minutes for each of those 41 semifinalists. So it really comes down to, in the editing bay, how many of the other 59 comedians invited to Invitationals do they want to give any screen time to, and how much to give them, knowing with hindsight that they haven’t advanced? It’s no longer shot like American Idol, so there are no god-awful performances to mock. But they definitely shot a bunch of that background profile footage over the winter (see the snow) before the actual Invitationals were held, so then it’s also a matter of salvaging which of that footage is the most colorful and engaging to keep an audience’s interest. My guess is for the comedians who didn’t make the semis, even getting a moment of screen time and saying a joke on-air came down to politics or balancing out demographics with the other comedians shown in that given hour.
As for the judging…I was telling a friend last night that it seemed as though Norm Macdonald not only was on the losing side of more than a few 2-1 votes to Roseanne and Keenen, but also that they showed Norm predicting great success for some comedians who didn’t even make the cut by the end of the hour! Then again, Norm was also the new judge and Anthony Jeselnik enjoyed putting him on the spot and unnerving Norm with his throws to him. Keenen definitely didn’t stop himself from revealing his own biases, but it’s his second season judging and he clearly looked at the background intel notes on the comedians before delivering his opinions. Roseanne still has the most clout with an actual hit sitcom.
And I’ve said this in seasons past, they have been very clear in telling us (from the first moments of this season, in fact), that the show is about finding a comedic star, and not just the best stand-up comedian. Development deals are all about whether the TV executive suits think they can make a person a star by putting him or her in different sitcom, dramedy, game show or reality show vehicles. It’s not quite as much as the old model of finding a comedian whose voice and material builds a sitcom around him or her — or, not like what happened with Roseanne.
And they’re also trying to attract viewers through the finale, so they’re going to cast the competition to reach as many different demographic audiences as possible while still having the “funniest” people onscreen.
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