Pat Clark: ‘Last Comic’ will stand tall in Turlock

08/21/2014 12:00 AM

08/20/2014 3:58 PM

Sometimes, you know what the outcome will be right from the beginning.

Such was the case with the NBC competition show “Last Comic Standing,” which crowned its winner last week – the unique standup comedian Rod Man. There really never was any doubt. The title was his to lose.

The best news for people in the greater Modesto region: Rod Man and the other four finalists from the rejuvenated TV show will play a gig Sept. 22 at Turlock Community Theatre.

The other comics aren’t any less funny than Rod Man – born Rod Thompson, according to IMDB.com – with Rocky LaPorte, Lachlan Patterson, Nikki Carr and Joe Machi also heading to Turlock.

This was Season 8 of “Last Comic Standing,” and I’ve watched the show from the get-go. While I always was a fan, it appeared the reality/competition show had run its course – Season 7 aired in 2010 – so the relaunch was a happy surprise.

Also a happy surprise was the loss of the embarrassing tryout phase, a la “American Idol,” where in the past seasons truly unfunny people were part of an otherwise funny mix and got up to the mikes to try to make the judges laugh enough to get into the competition round.

This season, the tryout phase was made up of seasoned comics – most of them good. There were no fools making strange noises or jumping around in stupid costumes and calling it standup. That was a much appreciated switch.

The judges were impressive, as well: Keenan Ivory Wayans, Roseanne Barr and Russell Peters. OK, so I’d never heard of Peters, but he was a solid judge and a funny guy when he did a standup set on the season finale.

I’ll admit, the host this season, J.B. Smoove, didn’t impress me much. He just wasn’t that funny. But that, my friends, is what the DVR is for – fast-forwarding through the boring stuff to get to the goods.

Who returns to host remains to be seen, but NBC has ordered a ninth season of the show.

The five comics coming to Turlock next month really were the cream of the crop, so the judges did well whittling the wanna-bes.

Rod Man was the laugh-out-loud guy from the start. His delivery of a bewildered Everyman is equal parts odd and charming. For winning the competition, he receives $250,000 and a development deal for a show on NBC.

The other two who competed in the finale – Patterson and Carr – were exactly whom I expected to be there with Rod Man. And Patterson almost stole it away; should have, maybe, because he had two really strong sets and Rod Man’s first wasn’t up to his usual par.

The cynic in me would say maybe that’s why the judges didn’t send one comic packing after the three delivered their first set of jokes during the finale, as was planned. Instead, they said they couldn’t decide whom to eliminate and gave a second set to all three.

As I said, it was Rod Man’s competition to lose.

Guessing the Emmys

Television’s Emmy Awards will be handed out Monday night, and while I can’t agree with all the nominee choices – omissions, to be specific – it’s fairly easy to predict who will and won’t win.

Heck, I haven’t even seen some of the shows and their actors up for the awards, but I can tell you who likely will walk away with the trophies in the main categories.

It’s a solid bet that “Breaking Bad” will run the table in the drama category – turning in a superb final season. As a fan, I can attest to the show’s stronghold in the nominations for best drama, actor, supporting actor and supporting actress. The show, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn, respectively, all likely will walk away with wins.

There’s no “Breaking Bad” nominee in the category of best dramatic actress, so others actually have a chance. I’d pick Julianna Margulies for “The Good Wife,” but Claire Danes (“Homeland”) or Robin Wright (“House of Cards”) might take the trophy.

In the comedy category, “Orange Is the New Black” – my own binge-watching obsession – is the favorite. While I haven’t seen two of the nominees, “Silicon Valley” and “Veep,” TV buzz alone points to a “Black” win. That said, I’ve heard a lot of raves for “Silicon Valley,” and “Modern Family” never can – nor should – be discounted.

And I’ll go out on a limb and say Louie C.K. (“Louie”) is going to win best comedy actor; Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”), actress; Andre Braugher (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), supporting actor; and Kate Mulgrew (“Orange Is the New Black”), supporting actress.

Those are my guesses and I’m sticking to them.

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