9:00 p.m. Craig Robinson is intro’ed as a five-time Olympic bronze medalist. Magical surrealism has always had a place on NBC.
The ten finalists are brought out (not the show order though, for you sticklers): Felipe Esparza, Rachel Feinstein, Tommy Johnagin, Mike DeStefano, Roy Wood Jr., Jonatham Thymius, Maronzio Vance, Laruie Kilmartin, Myq Kaplan, and James Adomian. This feels like an episode of Hollywood Squares. And no, I don’t mean boring celebrities. There’s just a game show feel, folks. I hope there are smiling models holding briefcases for no reason later. Making sense was so pre-Digital Age.
9:02 p.m. Laurie Kilmartin has been kicked in the teeth so many times, hers aren’t real! But she’s talking about an ex-boyfriend and the audience is all tooth-and-nail reaction. Her ex is with someone who’s a bad speller. It’s hard to do typo jokes out loud. It must take years and years of practice. You can vote right now. The number is already at the bottom. I’ll get it next time. She wants her son to be gay, but not just when she’s on the toilet. 1-877-5-KEEP-01 (that’s a keeper!). Short but sweet, and well done with a tight three!
9:07 p.m. This show is just going to be stand up sets and America voting via phone? How remarkably…sensible and straightforward! Oh wait, a preview for Outsourced. Back to reality.
9:09 p.m. Robinson brought up the IQ of a dead squirrel, apropos of a commercial break. Esparza doesn’t just want to be funny, he wants to be the best. “Forget about Pedro.” Is that a World Cup reference? How current! He’s wearing the tie-and-sneakers classic stand up/high school substitute combo outfit. His act outs are leaving everyone bent over in stitches, and he just nodded at the light. Comics on TV! They’re just like us! Applause breaks up the wazoo for this guy! Mexico references are hitting as is material about stretch marks caused by a sexy wildcat. Felipe’s number is the same as Laurie’s but change the 1 to a 2. I get the system!
9:13 p.m. Roy Wood Jr. was in Atlanta in ’02, San Francisco in ’07, but didn’t make it to the top 10 until this year. He sounds like an grizzled old band roadie recounting his tales. But now he’s onstage. He got punched in the face at a sports bar for liking the Florida Gators. Speaking of which, Crocs reference! Right on time. His number is 3, America, for those of you counting along at home. He suggests making the sport of swimming more interesting by adding an actual gator to the pool. Fastest callback ever. He is arguing for the necessity of failures in America. Who doesn’t feel better during a joke about those who have accomplished very little? A very tight set.
9:21 p.m. Robinson is being dressed up as Santa and paraded around like some sort of commercial holiday object. Hey, we’re all trying to make a career out of this. Maronzio Vance is drawing some real shrieks. Hello groupies! His laidback style and vest make for a compelling draw. He would be Pay Attention Man if he was a superhero. His number is cuatro, or 4 for those of you who didn’t take Spanish, but you should have because Spain is the 2010 World Cup Champion and there are more Hispanics than there are you’s. Maronzio just said “Cool beans” in a joke. That isn’t the punchline, but I am laughing already. L as in Laughing. He calls out a customer service rep on her chlamydia. How chlassy! Nicely played, Vance. I like the posing during the telephone number.
9:25 p.m. Rachel Feinstein is thrilled she’s made it this far, and in no small part, thanks to her sassy mom! Her mother’s been to MC battles, but that doesn’t stop her from being a Grade A hater. Dangerous Minds reference. Finallyyyyyy. We should all have a joke about that movie, guys, even if it’s an inside one. If you thought Rachel’s mom is a piece of work, wait until she tells you about her grandma. Her physicalities and facial expressions are quite compelling, and it’s amazing how much people can get out in three minutes. That’s what she said? Ugh. Forget my potty brain. Rachel’s lucky number 5!
9:30 p.m. This anti-depression pharmaceutical commercial is strangely intoxicating. I could listen to this guy say “impaired motor coordination and seizures” all day. So soothing. Just gimme the drugs, buddy, and nobody gets hurt except my natural chemical imbalance!
9:32 p.m. Already halfway through! I swear this is exactly how long open mics take even when people only have three minutes each. Except you get a national television audience in this case. Tommy Johnagin is up, and also taking about his mother. He’s a mile a minute with the yuks, this guy. His mom does cocaine? Oh wait, his grandma just showed up too. Rachel and him have families. Me too! Applause break for Grandpa’s numb foot! He fought in a war so respect is due. Johnagin is stripping away the layers and getting real with his scathing commentary on gentlemen’s clubs. He’s asking people to call him AND VOTE. Hello! Number 6!
9:35 p.m. Jonathan doesn’t have a career, but Last Comic Standing might create the illusion of one for his wife. His deadpan is frying up some laugh eggs. He dusted off the mic to make sure it was functioning properly. He used to be married, and he had a maid, and three kids. Oh wait, Brady Bunch! He’s been on a diet and so far he’s lost…two months! His offbeat joke on a $40 helicopter ride is great. He just burped into the mic while channeling the big G. Now for some juggling! Versatile. But he needs the supplies. Ok, well, how about some Plan B then? He wanders off in a semidaze, leaving everyone clapping and clucking. I like the expressiveness of his eyebrows. And he’s number 7! Only 3 comics left. Wheeeeee! Ten seems to fill the time perfectly. What are they going to go once they start eliminating people? Oh duh. Longer sets. Last time I think-type out loud.
9:44 p.m. James Adomian is in it for the money and the cross-eyes. Fedora the Explorer doesn’t care for Aesop’s judginess. He’s taking down the tortoise and the hare. Finally, some social commentary on this show! Applause break segues nicely into a Paul Giamatti reference. And now Giamatti’s referencing Ben Franklin! Layers upon layers. What am I, reading the Onion?! He’s perhaps the highest energy of the night, whatever that means, but maybe I just consider donkey noises the extreme sports of sound effects. And he is number 8, my Sesame Street-educated dears.
9:47 p.m. Mike DeStefano is smiling! Blunk, and you missed it. Blunk is the past tense of blink. Look it up, but then you’ll miss his set. DeStefano is loved by black men which makes him feel like a chubby white girl, which earns him a series of hoots. Black guys hear music in their heads when they walk. You see a white guy walking and you think about insurance. They just a cutaway to a very earnest white man with a salt-and-pepper goatee. He seems to like the joke in a nervous way. DeStefano doesn’t think people should confuse their sexuality with their drug problems. He’s mugging for his phone pose. Number 9, which means only one guy left! I think I can guess who it is based on very simple deductive reasoning. In the interest of full disclosure, a spider just lowered itself in front of my face during DeStefano’s set so that was also happening while I was typing. And I am still paralyzed with fear in all muscles except my fingers. I am in a basement so it’s not so ridiculous, but still totally uncalled for.
9:54 p.m. Myq Kaplan knows that NBC is at least an NYC station, if not more. He’s a tough guy…at tests. His sharp words are being snapped up. A huge number of vegans or vegan supporters in the audience. Applause for vegans and for making fun of them! Street musicians aren’t always streetwise. Kaplan’s grandmother also taught him that pointing is rude so monster claws from now on. He’s last, which makes him number 10!
9:57 p.m. Time for soundbites from all ten contestants! It’s like a short attention span montage. I like that Jonathan Thymius’s soundbite didn’t even involve words. You can also vote online at nbc.com, but oh no, next week, three comics get eliminated, which leaves seven. Ok, so I guess that means this season will be a lot shorter. Alright, time to exercise your civil right to entertainment, and vote vote vote. Go get ’em, Intercuties! See youze! Remember, phone (1-877-5-KEEP-contestant number) or Internet. You decide!