‘Last Comic Standing’: Big Changes Revealed For Show’s Relaunch

Comedy search will look a lot like The Voice

Wanda Sykes

Last Comic Standing - LogoWe’re learning more about what LAST COMIC STANDING will look like when it returns this summer to NBC.

“Parts of the show will be similar to the format before,” Paul Telegdy, the network’s head of alternative programming, confirmed today.  “But we are returning to a middle section of the competition in which the contestants will perform in challenges.

“LAST COMIC is not just a search for a great stand up comedian.  It is also a search for a great funny man or funny woman.  So with the way the comedy environment has changed — whether it is the comedy that appears on the Internet or how comedy other than standing in front of a microphone or appearing on a sitcom, the challenges will kind of reflect that.”

There are no plans to have contestants live together in a house, Telegdy says.

Instead, the retooled reality show — now produced by Wanda Sykes — will be taking on some elements of THE VOICE.

Those who make it through the early rounds will be paired up with veteran comedy mentors, Telegdy tells TheTVPage.com:

“One of the things that  we have learned from THE VOICE [and] reflects the relationship that more senior stand up comedians have with young up and comers is that they will frequently have people to open for them.

“And so we thought it would be fun to introduce an element of mentorship and that could attract some rally big names.”

No one is confirmed to participate yet, but Telegdy says “the usual suspects” are all being considered.

Details about the show’s changes began to surface last week in an article on Laughspin.com:

“Tight-lipped negotiations are still going on over which premier funny people will work with the rising stars, but they have been described as “Ray Romano-level comedians,” the site reported. “Word is not out yet if they will keep separate judges, and if so, if those judges will be comedians themselves, as has historically and controversially been the case.”

During its first seven seasons (from 2003 – 2010), LCS helped introduce several now-famous comic talents, including Doug Benson, Ralphie May and Felipe Esparza.

“Of course it is a TV show and a reality competition, but it is also a means by which we kind of plug our tentacles into the comedy community,” Telegdy tells me.  “Looking at the careers of some of our alumni, we had a pretty good eye.  Amy Schumer came through the show and some others.  So it is great business for us.”

In the past, many fans of the show felt duped to find out that most contestants were longtime professionals before appearing on the show.

This time around, will be no open call auditions.  Instead, hopeful comics will be submitted by their agents and managers and invited to audition for producers in Los Angeles.

Viewers also complained that the show’s judges were purposely soft on the acts they were critiquing because many were personal friends.

So far, no host has been chosen, though it is unlikely Craig Robinson will return.

“He is very busy,” Telegdy notes.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly