9:00 p.m. In an homage to Dr. Evil, but with more hair on the cat and less paleness on the villain, Craig Robinson intros the semifinals. Oh, and that cat is totally channeling the surprised chipmunk from YouTube. Get your own act, LOLkitty!
9:02 p.m. Robinson is brought on stage with the intro “nasty and delicious.” This season of the show feels like it’s not afraid to laugh at itself, which is bottled water meets mountain spring refreshing.
Judges are introduced with their credits. Each seems to have a new credit mentioned every week. Por ejemplo, Greg Giraldo has a book coming out: Midlife Vices. Get it? Wordplay sells!
9:03 p.m. Myq Kaplan is up first looking smart, and the book’s cover don’t lie as he launches into cleverness. He has plenty of material so I can see him not repeating anything if he makes it through. He discusses everything from gay rights to books with Brad Pitt in them.
Despicable Me advertisement on the bottom of the screen, hard to miss, NBC. The judges are fans across the board, and they are definitely jokier than in seasons past.
9:10 p.m. Jamie Lee admits being terrified (finally some honesty in reality TV), but Robinson promises she will charm some socks off the audience. She’s from Texas, which draws the whoo’s. Her dry, fun delivery spans relationships and roommates. Her set is clipped a bit shorter.
Kindler’s a fan of the style! Leggero sees plenty of potential, and Giraldo also thinks it was a good set despite questioning the overall material choice. The judges are like friends with power!
9:13 p.m. Mike DeStefano brings up how Italian grandmothers shrink. His gambling father brought affluence in seasons. And the crowd goes wild! He enjoys taking beautiful women down a peg. His material is punchy and no-nonsense. He’s not a big smiler, but it adds to the bad boy allure.
Kindler is appropriately afraid. Leggero notes he has screamers in the audience. His joke about his Jesus tattoo being Jim Caviezel is off-the-cuff at its best. Giraldo rounds out the fandom. DeStefano threatens the judges backstage. This guy’s always on (ragewise)!
9:21 p.m. Kyle Grooms is seasoned and here. He’s from Jersey, and ready to talk about everybody’s hate for the place. We’re on a geography tour where Haiti is giving handouts to Detroit. He also touches on water theme parks.
Kindler thinks some material stands out more than the rest, but enjoyed all of it. Leggero takes a dig at Snooki while complimenting Grooms, and Giraldo also thinks he has a great set.
9:24 p.m. Shane Mauss says that stand up is the only thing he’s been good at in his entire life. And begins talking about amusement parks when he takes the stage. Nice segue from Grooms’ water parks. His first joke is pretty ballsy considering someone’s legs get chopped off in it. A gasp from the audience quickly manifests into guffaws as he milks further laughs from the same premise. Confident, this one!
Maggie is his girlfriend and doesn’t always approve of his drinking. Kindler and Leggero are impressed by someone who ventures into dismemberment humor only to bring the crowd back around. Giraldo’s sold on his “boy at heart” haircut. Mauss feels good about the set!
9:32 p.m. Adrienne Iapalucci is ready to quit her day job. Her deadpan delivery verges on darker, but people are onboard. She discusses her relationship with her mother, nannying, and why she’s impressed by pedophiles. Kindler thinks she can make disturbing hilarious, and Giraldo agrees. Leggero wishes she had ended stronger, but hey, “you gotta do you,” right, Adrienne?
9:36 p.m. Felipe Esparza is on the bus and animated about it! Star Wars reference, and the audience is eating it up. There are various pockets of whoo’s during everyone’s sets. But he gets one long applause break for his dig at a girl he was seeing. I hope that girl’s not in the audience. Or maybe I secretly do.
Kindler’s a fan of his stage presence and Leggero notes that he already has a stance. Wow. After seeing his, I think that more people need a stance. Giraldo calls Esparza homeless hilarious, and finds him likeable and relatable no matter what he’s talking about.
9:44 p.m. Jonathan Thymus wants to be so famous he doesn’t have to be on Dancing With the Stars. That’s getting into the upper echelons of celebrity there, buddy. Thymus starts out slow with a joke that takes an unexpected twist, and elicits some shared glances from the judges. But his material continues slowly along. He takes off a shoe and puts a sock on his hand to do some ventriloquism. But then the foot does the talking. Clevah boy.
Kindler digs at Thymus to slow down, but he enjoys the insanity. Leggero and Giraldo are also fans. I could see him being passed through based on his originality and unique personality.
9:48 p.m. Lil Rel is up next. He’s from Chi-Town, and kicks things off with a funeral joke. His storytelling and characterizations are vivid, and in stark contrast to the quick set ups and punchlines of other people’s sets. He builds up and paints quite a scene with many people in it.
Kindler thinks the long bit didn’t necessarily connect with him, but he’s a fan of Lil Rel’s style. Giraldo and Leggero both agree that the lead-in was long, but respect what he’s doing. Robinson suggests a laxative while we go to commercial in case your bowels are stressed out by the competition.
9:56 p.m. Jason Weems is a kindergarten teacher who is prepared to go from performing in front of 18 people to 18,000. He’s a natural at selling his material, and gets an applause break on his first joke. From having seen him develop, I can confidently say he’s really going places.
Kindler starts off his feedback by complimenting Robinson, and then extends the praise to Weems. Leggero wasn’t connecting with his material, but respects the audience’s reaction. They boo her opinion. Yeesh, that’s a first for tonight. Giraldo doesn’t agree with all the material, but offers the opinion that the strongest jokes might not get the biggest laughs. Whoa, waxing philosophical on a reality show…clocks are melting.
10:00 p.m. Ryan Hamilton is up next and a risk-taker. He’s talking about tandem sky-diving. Again, it’s a long bit, but with lots of laughs peppered throughout. He sees his dry contact lenses in his goggles as he’s falling to the earth. Tandem Master Roy is guiding him through the sky and the joke and the wetting of the pants.
Kindler sees the set as up and down. The long sets seem to be getting judged harsher within the constraints of the show. Leggero enjoys the physicality though didn’t connect with the jokes (gets booed again). Giraldo notices Hamilton got laughs as soon as he got onstage. I’ve noticed that in comedy some people get laughs before they say anything. That’s like world-class swimmers who happen to be born with webbed hands and feet. I’ll keep working on those analogies!
10:09 p.m. Paula Bel is taking some shots at Barack Obama. Someone’s gotta do it. She’s mad, but her health insurance policy involves an old Mexican woman. She’s yelling her jokes, and is not afraid to take some shots at Last Comic Standing itself. Throw in religion for a final dash of irreverence. She’s now yelling at the judges. Who is surprised?!
Leggero is terrified of her. She insults all the judges, and everyone says she’s funny when they can get a word in.
10:14 p.m. Jesse Joyce played a comedian in a movie, but he wanted to make the role authentic. He understands how pizza guys feel when they watch pornos. He’s talking fast, and talking about his car breaking down.
Kindler noticed less jokes per minute (jpm) and Leggero agrees that Joyce could have benefited from more time in his set, but Giraldo still thinks it was a solid set. Considering that some comics were cut out completely despite going to the semifinals, there are still quite a few comics left to watch.
10:21 p.m. Rachel Feinstein grew up with eccentrics, and is the first to wear a skirt. No comment there, just plain observation. People keep hooting so they clearly notice. She’s talking about a guy with pronounced hips. Her characters are offbeat and fun. Her grandmother character even involves a shaky mic. The audience goes wild.
Kindler is neither a fan of erection humor nor erections. He’s an insta-fan. Leggero thinks she’s the total package, and Giraldo appreciates how she transcends her attractive looks and still be funny. Interesting how that’s a handicap in the stand up world.
10:25 p.m. Kirk Fox has worked bigger gigs in Tijuana, Mexico, pants or no pants. His bit is sold by his signature delivery. The judges take digs at his height and attire, but they’re all sold on him. Fox thinks he’s funnier in between jokes, but he’s happy with his set.
10:32 p.m. Up next is Amanda Melson. Her hair was getting home school long so she had to cut it. She doesn’t understand how picky the homeless could be about their jeans, and she makes diabetes juvenile. Kindler doesn’t like jokes about the homeless, but Giraldo appreciates the writing.
10:36 p.m. Chip Pope is prepared to do his best short of a Chris Rock cameo. He used to work in an office, which is like a boring game show. His jokes are smart, and he gets a good applause break with his Paul Simon parody.
The judges are fans. Leggero thought Paul Simon’s reckoning was overdue, but Kindler wasn’t sure if he believed Pope is gay.
10:43 p.m. Alycia Cooper is up next. She’s talking about airport security and cheating men. Her material about Tiger Woods generates multiple applause breaks.
Kindler is impressed by use of the term sidepieces and Giraldo likes her joke on cheating, but is not equally as enthused about some of the other material.
10:46 p.m. David Feldman has two daughters. One is pregnant. The other one (I hope) is 13 and old enough to deal crystal meth. She wants to be a female boxer. He offers up the fact that he did a set at a women’s shelter, and bombed.
Giraldo finds his jokes brilliantly written and Kindler likes the uncomfortable feeling in the crowd. Leggero finds him dark and original. He was the last comic of this round.
10:52 p.m. We are down to who makes it into the house. Rachel Feinstein is nervous and Jamie Lee is a bit teary. Oof. Nail-biting.
Craig Robinson asks for a round for all the comics. Of applause, not drinks. Group One steps forward (I don’t know what this means). Felipe Esparza is moving on! He feels like a ten-time high school graduate. Alycia Cooper is relieved it’s over. Group Two steps forward. Myq Kaplan is moving forward! He’s excited to be one of the last 10 comics standing and looks a bit shellshocked.
Group Three steps forward. Next in is Rachel Feinstein! She’s beyond happy and feeling surreal. Adrienne is happy to return to the children. Group Four is up. Mike DeStefano is called! He’s grimly pleased! Jamie Lee is OK with how things went, and glad for the experience. Group Five is just Jesse Joyce and Jonathan Thymus. It’s Jonathan Thymus! I saw that coming. He seemed to strike a chord with the judges. He’s on the phone with his wife. Joyce is not disappointed as he’s still a comedian, and that’s kind of the point, no?
10:58 p.m. Next week is a promised doozy, according to Robinson. The first five finalists stand on stage for hugs and heart high-fives. Next week’s clips show some Maronzio Vance, Taylor Williamson, Jason Nash, Fortune Feimster, and Kurt Metzger. See you then!