'Last Comic Standing' Season 8: Like 'The Voice,' but with comedy

last-comic-standing-8-judges.jpgWhile the past seasons of NBC's "Last Comic Standing" were "American Idol"-like in structure (but with aspiring comedians instead of aspiring pop stars), the newly retooled Season 8 -- with executive producers Page Hurwitz and Wanda Sykes -- is much more like "The Voice."

"What's great about the way that these guys have retooled the show is that you are going to be watching the best of the best of young comics," new judge Keenen Ivory Wayans tells reporters ahead of the show's May 22 premiere. "It's kind of like 'The Voice,' where they just go out and get great singers -- these guys went out and got great comics."

Hurwitz and Sykes also tweaked the format so that Wayans and his fellow judges Roseanne Barr and Russell Peters are the ones calling the shots -- no audience vote involved.

"The last few seasons were more like a popularity contest," says Peters, but "it's not about that -- it's about are you funny, are you consistently funny, and will you be able to have your own show in the future?"

Host JB Smoove says that the tweaked eighth season is less like a talent search show and more like a glimpse inside the process of being a stand-up comedian. "This is also a learning process. People out there who are watching the show can also get an inside view of what goes down," he says. "You're going to learn a lot more about what goes into being a standup comedian -- preparation, [etc.]."

"Last Comic Standing" Season 8 premieres Thursday, May 22 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC

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