Photo: NBC

The Semi-Final Countdown

Sean pours one out for the other 72 comedians in the Top 100.

Deciding to compete or participate or whatever term you want to assign to an appearance on "reality" television comes front-loaded with its own internal debate for each of you. What's in it for you? Is it even for you? How will you be portrayed once the producers and editors get finished with the footage? What will your friends, family, and strangers think of the real you after seeing the TV you?

I personally know several -- nay, dozens, even -- of the comedians who put their names in the running for this eighth season of Last Comic Standing, the first following a four-year hiatus by NBC.

So it's no trick to imagine what they're going through this summer.

Can you imagine it, though?

After Thursday's "Invitational 4" episode, this season has whittled the Top 100 down to just 28 semifinalists.

The Other 36 Percent

Thirty-six? Don't I mean 72? One hundred minus 28 equals hold on and bear with me for a moment and get back in touch with your imaginations.

Imagine you were one of the Top 100 who made the initial cut and received an invitation to, um, "The Invitationals." You told everyone you knew in real life and social media to mark their calendars and watch you on NBC. Your excitement and theirs grew when your face popped up on an ad here and there to promote the telecasts. The two-hour premiere showed 31 comedians telling jokes on camera. Last week's episode, another 16; last night, 17. …Wait just one second here. That only adds up to 64 comedians. NBC, you told us there were 100 comedians competing! What happened to the other 36? The following paragraph goes out to them: May their latest TV credits rest in peace.

Nate Abshire, Dave Anthony, Greer Barnes*, Kendra Cunningham, Drennon Davis, Nore Davis, AJ Finney, Adrienne Iapalucci, Sabrina Jalees, Brian Jian, Erin Judge, Jamie Lee, Jared Logan, Carmen Lynch, Mary Mack***, Shane Mauss, Jackie Monahan, Adam Newman, Frank Nicotero, Michael Palascak, Christina Pazsitzky**, Tommy Pope, Brooke Van Poppelen, April Richardson, Ken Rogerson, Johnny Sanchez, Andrew Sleighter, Alex Stone, Wil Sylvince, Geoff Tate, Shane Torres, Angelo Tsarouchas, Sheng Wang, Aaron Weaver, Andy Woodhull, and Tony Woods.

*Greer Barnes appeared in just about every TV ad for this season telling a joke, but not in the actual episodes? Go figure.

**Christina Pazsitzky was announced last week as a finalist in another televised comedy competition overseen by another Wayans brother (Funniest Wins on TBS, fronted by Wayans, Marlon), so perhaps that explains her absence here?!

***We'll come back to Mary Mack.

Best Consolation Prize Is This Online-Only Clip?

Frank Nicotero knows what I'm talking about, am I right, ladies?

Now imagine you're Nicotero, and you saw this promotional clip of yourself doing one of your signature bits uploaded a week ago, and the clip shows the audience going nuts for it. As they are wont to do. You must be so excited to get to see this on primetime TV last night. Only you didn't. Nobody did. At least you still have this online clip with NBC logos on it, right?

Most Misleading Prank On Your Loved Ones

If you think that's something, imagine you were Billy Wayne Davis. You crushed it during your Invitational audition. All three judges complimented you afterward. They loved the guy. So did the audience. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury of public opinion, Exhibit A:

And then the producers come to Tennessee and interview your parents and your grandmother. Exhibit B:

Only they never show that on TV. And they don't advance you to the semifinals. And they label you "Billy Ray" in the video title.

Miscarriage of "reality show" "justice"! I hereby request summary judgment on behalf of my client, Mr. Davis!

Most Misleading Conflict Teaser

At least twice heading into ad breaks, the voice-over wants us to stick around to watch Roseanne stick it to a contestant for doing the "worst thing ever," as Roseanne will say. And after the premiere episode in which she told comedian Ben Kronberg to "go f--- yourself," and the week afterward, in which she advised another contestant to smoke pot, what could she say this time?

Just this, to JC Coccoli.

Just this. A bit of a letdown. As Coccoli herself would reply, "I ain't mad at that."

Better Half Left Unsaid?

If you're going to show us a husband and wife who both entered the competition, and then only show us the husband who jokes about having a wife who's a stand-up comedian, then congrats for making this week's highlights of #YesAllWomen.

Tim Harmston enjoyed the stand-up comedy footage. Mary Mack was left sitting by as his obviously better half.

Best Catchphrase Apparently Made Up Just Before Going Onstage

"Tell it to my balls!"

Move over, Slinky. This is the catchphrase toy that's good for a girl or a boy. Thank you, DeAnne Smith. Thank you for apparently relying on your gut instinct. Perhaps "gut" is the wrong word? Thank your balls!

Best in Show

As with most other competition-based TV shows, the producers of Last Comic try to make sure to save the best for last. And best last night was Monroe Martin, who received this compliment from Keenen Ivory Wayans after his set: "You are what comedy is supposed to be." "You brought the pain, and showed us how you survived it," Roseanne says. "I'd like to see you get even more pissed off!"
Ironically, the best way to piss off a comedian on this show is by leaving their footage on the cutting-room floor.

Your Top 28!

In the order they were revealed to us last night, your latest semifinalists are: Karlous Miller, DeAnne Smith, Nikki Carr, Tommy Ryman, Yamaneika Saunders, Mike Gaffney and Monroe Martin!

They join Tracey Ashley, Mark Normand, Dave Landau, Aida Rodriguez, Joe Machi, Rod Man, Dana Eagle, Nick Guerra, Erin Jackson, Mike Vecchione, Jasper Redd, Lachlan Patterson, Tyree Elaine, Jimmy Shubert, Chloe Hilliard, Alington Mitra, Gerald Kelly, Zainab Johnson, DC Benny, Emily Galanti and Rocky LaPorte in next week's semifinal action.

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