Thursday, June 17, 2010

I (And You) Should NOT Audition For Last Comic Standing

So yesterday I wrote a blog about whether or not I (and other comedians with my level of experience) should audition for Last Comic Standing next year.

Well, I can tell you, the answer is a resounding NO.

A hell no.

A fuck naw, you straight buggin' if you thinkin' of doin' that shit even.

I posted on the Comedy Studio Kvetch Message Board and many comics weighed in negatively about the show. Prominent Boston comedian Myq Kaplan, especially, has a nasty horror story about his experience with the show, where he was specifically manipulated and lied to.

The joke that caused this now-infamous (“infamous” means “not famous,” right?) encounter with destiny in the form of Bobby Baccalieri on this fateful day. I mean, I’m sure that anyone reading this magazine has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things stand-up comedy, but just for the sake of completeness, for the annals of history, in case future generations are not fully versed in the Last Comic Standing archives, here is the joke: (Keep in mind, of course, the delivery here, in writing, will not be identical to the delivery as it existed under more ideal circumstances: in person, in a comedy club, in front of two grouchy celebrities who were pretending to be reading a book when I came up to the stage, as though they weren’t expecting to see anyone, even though that’s the very reason they were there.)

“I was on a plane, and there was this baby that was screaming the whole time... because I was punching it.”

That’s as far as I got. The joke is meant to make you think I am COMPLAINING about someone’s out of control baby crying on a plane, a very common topic one might expect to hear on the subject of airline jokes, but in fact, I was not complaining about a baby who was crying for some reason beyond my control, but rather I was the SOURCE of this baby’s very crying! A totally different, unexpected joke!
Mr. Schirripa stopped me before the joke could continue with other hilarious misdirections. And why? I could have accepted if it were for some reason like, “A comedian telling a joke about flying? Heard it,” in which case I could respond, “But don’t you understand that that’s the very attitude I’m trying to exploit and subvert?” or some other meta-analytical genius. But that was NOT the reason. He said, and I quote “I don’t like jokes about punching babies.”

You don’t like jokes about punching babies? But you do like television shows about killing EVERYBODIES. I wish I had said that then, but unfortunately, my witty retort came to me too late for that moment. But not too late for this one, readers. Enjoy!

And when you’re done savoring, let’s get back to our tale of woe. Or redemption, I forget which. So, I was dispatched, nowhere close to being the last comic standing, nor the penultimate comedian teetering, but one of the middle comics fallen. Fine. To be expected. No skin off my nose, or hair off my back, or anything off my anything. All my everythings remained intact. My life continued.

Fast forward to the premiere of the Last Comic Standing season in question, which I did not watch. But after it aired, I started getting emails and messages, all with the same basic themes of “Why did that happen? They shouldn’t have treated you like that. That joke was funny. I hate babies!”

Apparently, my segment had aired in a montage of “Things Not to Do at your Audition,” specifically in the category of “Don’t do ‘baby jokes’!” They showed my three seconds on stage, along with a few other people who had dared to utter the forbidden word “baby” (also in the context of fine jokes that do not actually endorse or condone child abuse). They had set us up!

Even though I had expected to be lied to and used, I can’t believe I was lied to and used!

Here is a clip of Myq Kaplan performing, and as you can see, he is far funnier than the caliber of comic you'd expect to see in a "bad comedians" montage.
Myq Kaplan - Cheating Death
Futurama New EpisodesUgly AmericansFunny TV Comedy Blog

But this interview with last season's winner Iliza Shlesinger paints a prettier picture:

"I think the most important thing, because cash runs out in the long run, is the credit and the boost that it gives your career...Almost every comic would give their left arm to win that show. Two years ago, I couldn't walk into a club and get stage time. If that's not validity, I don't know what is."

If you have a manager, and you've been at the game a few years, and they want you to go for it, go for it. But unless you meet that criteria, just keep working on your material, keep performing, keep networking, just keep keeping on.

Your big opportunity will come your way. Just keep revising yourself and making your act better.

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