Yesterday, for some reason, I watched the entire two-hour season premiere of Last Comic Standing on Hulu in dribs and drabs throughout the day. I just wanted to make sure I let people know that, in case I somehow forget to include it in my suicide note. Here is the thing about Last Comic Standing: it is filled almost exclusively with extremely talented comedians, and it is ostensibly a celebration of stand up comedy, but as someone who enjoys both of those things (genuine talent and jokes) I find this show to be impossibly depressing. There is a sad and disheartening Komedy Kulture in America that treats it as a subpar mild entertainment designated for the drunken tourist with nothing better to do. Somehow, the fact that everyone tells inane jokes around the Pizza Hut table on Saturday evenings means that there is no art to the crafting of a joke, much less the telling of it in public. This guy knows what I’m talking about, and so does this guy. And somehow, Last Comic Standing, a show that should counteract this collective misconception, actually works impossibly hard to perpetuate it by sucking all of the humor out of every single second of every single performance, and portraying comedy as the epitomy of desperation. The tone is so bloodless and unfunny that even the comedians themselves seem to hate comedy. BOOOO! GET OFF THE STAGE, THIS SHOW!
But here comes 30-year-old graphic designer, Doogie Horner, who took to the America’s Got Talent stage to perform some jokes, despite having been told ahead of time that 40 comedians had already been booed off the stage. And at first, that is exactly what happens to this young man. Until something else happens:
Well done, sir. You are fighting the good fight for the rest of us.
I do love how the British judge claims that the reason the audience booed him was because he wasn’t funny, which would be a totally reasonable argument, and comedy is subjective, and we are all entitled to our opinions in this world in which we are entitled to almost nothing else, except that the audience booed him before he’d gotten three words of his first joke out of his mouth. So, you know, SHUT UP, British judge. Of course, I also love how Howie Mandel goes into some unasked-for, condescending speech about how hard comedy is, which I guess he must know first hand, which would explain why he gave comedy up years ago to work full time on his soul patch. So, you know, SHUT UP, Howie Mandel.
But mostly I love Doogie Horner for turning that audience ON ITS FACE. I am not entirely sure that winning a standing ovation by frustratedly telling people that you are going to fight them because those people are such robotic assholes that they instinctively boo someone the moment they try to do something with their lives besides accept free tickets to a Thursday afternoon taping of a reality TV program that is basically a Junior High Talent Show, is the victorious proof that stand up comedy is valuable and requires exceptional skill, but we are definitely losing this battle every single day, so we take our victories where we can.
Turning it around! (Thanks for the tip, Max.)