Thursday morning, Last Comic Standing fans awoke to learn some startling news; season 3, The Battle of the Best, had been cancelled. This would be distressing enough on its’ own, but with only one show to go in the series (and the reveal of the winner at stake), it was simply astounding. Why would NBC pull the plug on LCS with only one more hour to go?
Fans were angry. Very, very angry. We had spent the entire summer juggling Last Comic with Big Brother 5 and The Amazing Race 5, all of which were scheduled on the same night. We hadn’t been thrilled with the idea of season 3 starting up right after the second instalment, but we watched anyway. Voting could only be done for a few hours after the show aired, but we faithfully logged on and sent in our votes. And now we find out that it was all for nothing? We’re not even going to see a final show to find out who wins the title? It seemed impossible to believe.
Over at NBC, there was very little information coming through. Apparently the finale was pulled from the line-up because of poor ratings – an average of 6 million viewers tuned in each week. Another struggling NBC offering, Father of the Pride, was put in the LCS timeslot and billed as a ‘marathon’, during which there would be an announcement concerning the winner of LCS 3. That didn’t cut it for fans of Last Comic, and we came out in droves.
Meanwhile, the comics themselves were just as bewildered as the rest of us. Dave Mordal made his way to the final four, only to find out there wouldn’t be a crowning moment for the winner. When asked for his reaction to the news, Mordal commented, “I have so little information at this time that it wouldn’t even be interesting to quote me.” And Rich Vos, who was also still standing and in the same situation as Mordal, said, “I am upset but I have nothing bad to say about NBC or LCS, they both helped advance my career.”
A few of the other comics also offered their comments. ANT, vacationing in Aruba, said, “I can’t say that I was shocked to hear the news. I just hope Alonzo Bodden wins.”
Kathleen Madigan had three excellent points to make:
“1. It doesn’t surprise me. The ratings have been horrible and things have sort of spun out of control all the way around. I was surprised they waited this long though. If they were gonna do it, it would have been more humane to do it before the very last episode.
2. I’m happy because being a seat filler is a much more stressful job than I’d anticipated.
3. I’d like it if someone could make sure we’re still getting our prize money because I already went to Best Buy and pretended it was Christmas.”
And Sean Kent also tried to lighten the mood:
“I think America was sincerely clamoring for NBC to not air the final episode of Last Comic Standing so they could get more of a show about the sexually abused pets of two gay German magicians.
Aside from getting a good chuckle from a few of the responses, they actually made me a touch angrier. These are funny people. From what I had read before season 3 started up, a lot of them weren’t all that enthusiastic about coming back and doing the show again. But they did, and they worked it. They came up with new material each week, they entertained us, and they worked the show into their already busy schedules. Sure, NBC had waved a nice chunk of money at them to come back, but doing standup isn’t easy and these comics made it look like it was.
So what’s a disgruntled fan to do? I’ll tell you what we do – we bitch. We complain to anyone who will listen, and in this case we complained to NBC. We sent e-mails and made phone calls, left messages with automated voice recorders, and encouraged our friends and fellow fans to do the same.
Last night Rich Vos e-mailed me to tell me that the show was back on. We all know now that the show will indeed go on, but it’s been scaled back to thirty minutes. Better than nothing? Definitely. And forgive me for not being undyingly grateful, but I still say give us and the comics the full hour. What’s an extra thiry minutes to NBC? Diddly. But it would mean the world to all of us.
Alonzo Bodden, another comic in the final four and a heavy favourite to win, wraps up the situation best. “My initial reaction was laughter. I couldn’t believe it but then, it’s a network and their decisions are based purely on ratings. Someone must have read what the fans were writing because now the show is back on for a half hour reveal show. My reaction was to write jokes about being replaced by animal puppets. How sad was it that on the day Rodney died NBC showed comedy no respect. I’m glad someone came to their senses. The shows ratings may have dropped but there are millions of fans who deserve
Absolutely Alonzo, and the comics deserve more too.
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Addendum: I’ve heard directly from NBC that the 30-minute finale will air on Comedy Central. Date and time is to be determined.
If I may add one more small rant to this article, I am in Canada. I would love to get Comedy Central, but it’s just not offered by my satellite company. Sure, I’m in the minority here, but why does NBC continue to screw over loyal fans of this show? It’s mind-boggling to me.