On Thursday, May 22, NBC hopes to liven up spring and summer with Season 8 of its comedy competition show, "Last Comic Standing," from executive producers Page Hurwitz, Wanda Sykes and Javier Winnik.
The host of this new and (NBC hopes) improved version is JB Smoove ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), and Canadian comedian Russell Peters ("Comics Without Borders") joins fellow celebrity judges Keenen Ivory Wayans and Roseanne Barr.
The 13-episode series opens up with auditions (which were invitation only), and then the top 100 comics compete for 20 slots. The lucky ones then move into a semifinal round, which will whittle them down to 10. In subsequent challenge rounds, they compete in sketch, improv and stand-up, working both individually and in teams.
The eventual winner takes home a prize package that includes an NBC talent deal and a half-hour scripted project to be developed by Universal Television.
And according to Smoove, the audience might walk away with a new appreciation for the art of comedy.
"There are a lot of rules to comedy," Smoove tells Zap2it, "that people are going to learn watching this show, not just laughing at the comedians but learning the process, the story behind this guy, where he came from, what inspires him, what makes him laugh, why are they here on this damn show?"
In a world with fewer comedy clubs, it could also serve as a valuable platform.
"People have to be much more succinct in their writing," says Barr, "and in their delivery, too, because you only have one or two really good outlets. And I am very excited about this show because when I was coming up, it was like, if you got 'The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson,' you had a career, which happened to me.
"This show could be like that. It could be that, where people would be like, 'I'm going to work really hard this year and get my timing down, so I can go on "Last Comic Standing." ' I think that's cool."
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