Bill Bellamy, wearing a dapper silver suit, introduces the sixth season. "This year, our search is bigger than ever," Bellamy says. "We'll see comics from six continents and more than 20 countries." Contestants will compete for $250,000 and the title that will "change someone's life forever!" Bring the funny!
We start in New York City. Fearne and Bill stand outside Gotham Comedy Club where a line of hopefuls stretches around the block. Inside, Richard Belzer and Steve Shirripa judge the contests.
First up: Buck B'Gak, a man dressed as a rooster and setting the stage for a string of less-than-impressive acts to follow. Comic Louis Ramey breaks the unfunny streak by describing a black man's trip to lily-white Aspen. He advances to the showcase.
Another string of poor performances ends with Adam Sank, who describes working at FOX News Channel as a "gay, liberal, pro-choice Democratic." He too advances to the showcase.
Super-cute 24-year-old Esther Ku also shines. Her delivery is described as "conversational and funny" by Belzer.
A number of horrible performances follow, including an obese man in a woman's bathing suit. The streak ends with Christian acoustic folk duo "God's Pottery" performing a parodic tribute to waiting until marriage. "Virginity Rocks," indeed,
Fearne interviews the folks waiting in line. Inside twin comics Stone & Stone have Belzer rolling. They're in for the showcase. So is Dan Naturman, who describes the perils of online dating.
Fashionably challenged comic Susannah Perlman is up next. The judges are stone faced. They harshly cut off Perlman's story of cat-owning men with beards. More cringe-worthy performances follow -- most of them involving abusing babies (eh?).
Al Jackson -- whose wife is giving birth tomorrow! -- tells why he still loves Dubya (Bush: "Is our children learning?"). Jackson will be back tonight.
Montage time! Other comics who advance: Marc Theobald! Dan Curry! Michelle Buteau! More! Up next: a live audience!
Bill primes the crowd. The comics get ready in the back. Nerves!
Bill Sank is up first. His Project Runway act kills -- especially the Heidi Klum impersonation. God's Pottery is up next. They sing "A Brand New Start with Christ "(for those celebrating Roshashana). Dan Curry's text message bit proves popular. Esther Ku impresses the audience and the judges. Al Jackson, meanwhile, welcomes a son and then makes 'em laugh with some more Dubya-is-a-moron humor.
Back from commercial break, Dan Naturman's no-Internet-on-Star Trek routine goes over well. Marc Theobald's woman "love acandle" bit earns laughs. Louis Ramey's black-man-at-a-tanning-salon proves a big hit. Angry Bob, a huge man with a bushy goatee, is followed by Michelle Buteau and the stereo banter of the Stone twins.
Who will advance? More after this short commercial break.
Back from break! The comedians gather on stage. More nerves! Bill takes the microphone. The first comic moving on to the semifinals is .... Louis Ramey! Next: Stone & Stone, followed by Esther Ku, God's Pottery and Dan Naturman. Adam Sank is crushed. The rest are exuberant!
The next stop: Tempe, Arizona. Bill and Fearne arrive in a hot air balloon. Now that's funny (or just weird). Inside, judges Fred Willard and Kathy Najimy size up the first act: Dick Dynamo, out-of-shape and out-of-control "American Gladiator."
"Will Ferrell just called," Willard opines. "He said 'over the top.'"
Sorry, Dick. You're out. More unfunny awfulness encapsulated in a montage. Then, Marcus! The good-looking 20-something has a certain "something" -- and that something is a penchant for impressions. Dubya and Peter from Family Guy follow.
Willard, a "sucker for impressions," give him a pass. Chantel Rae, Bobby Miyamoto and Adam Hunter also advance.
Back from commercial break. Tempe is hot, hot, hot. Speaking of heat: here comes Rob Little! His bald-and-chubby guy routine impresses. He'll be back tonight. Law-student-turned-comedian Christina Pazsitzky dubs Christian rockers, serial killers and vegans the "least fun" people in the universe -- to the delight of Kathy Najimy.
And now for something completely different. Alien Warrior Comedian Seteri 4 ("you didn't know it was going to be an ethnic show tonight") takes the stage looking like a cross between Darth Maul and a T-Rex. Najimy doesn't buy it. Seteri 4 is OUT. Robert Mac, on the other hand, is in.
Its showcase time again. The Tempe crowd files in and takes their seats. Robert Mac, advocating purple voters (as opposed to red and blue), impresses. Jim McCue, who lost 60 pounds "stalking a jogger," leaves 'em laughing. Chantel Rae loves being a girl -- and the audience loves her for it. Bryan Kellen, a self-professed dork, gets the nerd vote.
Sleepy-eyed Josh McDermitt ("My grandpa died recently ... yeah, that's funny") provides an understated, but funny few minutes. Marcus shows off his tattoos, then impersonates Jack Sparrow, Matthew McConaughey and Gilbert Gottfried.
Back to the Tempe Improv after a short commercial break, Adam Hunter doesn't see the point of going to a bar with his girlfriend. The crowd agrees. Christina Pazsitzky is back on vegans, describing dinner with one as "a nightmare." The crowd, apparently carnivores, eats it up. Phil Palisoul describe misspelling a word so badly that the spellchecker doesn't recognize it. Bobby Miyamoto and Rob Little wrap it up.
Back from break, Bill is breaking the good/bad news. Comics moving on include: Marcus, Phil Palisoul and Adam Hunter.
More laughs next week. So says Bill Bellamy.