If you tell Rocky LaPorte you voted for him on “Last Comic Standing” he will thank you warmly, but know you are lying.
The stand-up comic was a finalist on the eighth season of the NBC reality show in 2014. The exposure on the series, which showcases up-and-coming and veteran comics alike in a multi-week competition, gave LaPorte’s career a bump and brought about enthusiastic encounters with fans who swore they voted for him.
The only problem is on his season, the judges made all the decisions and eliminations — not the public.
“They mean well,” LaPorte said of his would-be supporters. “Feedback has been overwhelming and so nice. I’ve met so many kind people from it.”
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LaPorte will stop to play the new H.O.S.T. House Comedy Night series Friday, May 19, in Patterson. Launched earlier this year, the new comedy series benefits H.O.S.T. House, the only homeless shelter serving the West Side of Stanislaus County.
Known for his everyman persona, LaPorte is a veteran comic who’s toured nationally for more than two decades. He has appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” had a special on Comedy Central Presents and traveled to Iraq to appear in the 2005 Showtime special “Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Movie.” His other film and TV credits include “The Shaggy Dog,” “Cheers” and “Evening At The Improv.”
After his appearance on “Last Comic Standing,” he went out on a three-month tour with the other finalists. Since then he has kept busy touring and performing. LaPorte said one of the keys to the show’s popularity was the diversity and range of the comics it showcased.
“I think it’s a great show. It exposes the country to a lot of people they normally wouldn’t see. There’s great comics all over the country that people don’t get to see. What better thing is there to go out and laugh?” he said.
As for his own comic style, LaPorte said he has been pleased to see his self-deprecating humor connects with new audiences.
“People in real life they think I’m dumb. I think they feel sorry for me. My character on stage is a simple guy. It’s not too far from who I really am,” he said. “I never wanted to be an attacking comic. I always wanted to be the butt of the joke — more like Woody Allen and Rodney Dangerfield. People loved those dudes because they are poor souls. People go, ‘I want to help this poor bastard’.”
He said he appreciates each new audience, even when they tell him white lies about voting.
“I honestly appreciate the people. I know people pay babysitters, pay to park, pay for a ticket. I get as much from the audiences as they get from me. It makes me happy to make them happy,” he said. “When you are in a room and everyone is laughing at the same time, you’re free. You’re not thinking about bills or the boss. You’re free and living in the moment.”