And on the second night, there was another epiphany: the house had been a good thing. The house created conflict. The silly competitions in and around it gave the comedians and summary writers alike the most precious gift a reality show could create: the gift of Material. Without the house, all the comedians had was their two minutes on stage, randomly poking through an endless quantity of Jay Mohr, and that’s all the summary writers had to watch. No backstabbing, no near-pointless alliances, no Todd Glass trying to figure out how to hog sixty-five minutes of camera time in one hour. Just comedy. That’s all there is to comment on, with no way to bring any other elements in. It’s like getting an American Idol episode after the actual singing starts, and you don’t even have Simon to work with. It is summary death.
Think there’s any chance this one will go over ten pages? I’m going to call this in advance: my worst summary ever… Roll opening credits.
We come in to find twelve people on the stage: last night’s Season 1 performers on the left of the screen, Mohr in the center (so the extra-intense DAW spotlight can hit him without grazing any of the others), the Season 2 comedians on the right, and a stagehand desperately scrambling to get out of camera range before the show goes on the air. He doesn’t quite make it, which stands a good chance of being the funniest moment of the night.
The first business of the evening is to disburse the initial $50,000 – that’s 5k per comic per week at this point, which is somewhat less than the big publicity winners from Season 1 are making on the road, which means this is all about the DAWs, folks. Mohr gives the audience the usual tease/stall tactic about sharing it with them – that would work out to about $2.50 each, making this the first reality show to pay less than Forever Eden – the audience actually cheers for Season 1 and Season 2 by those names, and thanks to the short attention spans of the American public and the saving grace that is Alonzo Boden, Season 2 gets the cash. Hooray for Season 2! (So who wants the T-shirt franchise for this exciting new concept in fan relations? Not me: I’m more of a Segment Three backer.) Back in the Season 2 dugout/War Room, Corey Holcomb is so excited that he prematurely ejaculates his water bottle all over the floor. Of course, for Corey Holcomb, getting that $2.50 represents a 500% increase in his comedy earnings to date, so I really can’t blame him for being excited.
And now we learn that Jay Mohr, in the immortal words of Robin Williams, is actually a freaking Muppet. Why? Because we’ve tuned in during the first five minutes of the show to hear Captain Mohr say – wait for it – ‘Market research shows that we do better if we make you guys wait and sweat it out until the end of the show before we start eliminating people, so that’s what we’re gonna do.’ So tune in early every week, because you just never know what blatant, obvious, incredibly annoying license to kill the Mohrpet will dispense. It’s our very own Pigggg On Staggggge!
The comics are sent off-stage with Todd Glass digging to find change for a dollar, the voting methods are reviewed – phone, online vote, text message (duplicate host joke from last night), repeatedly hit the host until his groans of pain turn into Mohrse code – and the already-usual reminder: two minutes to perform, microphone cut off, ten second grace period before the comedian’s family is strapped to a chair and forced to read Mohr’s book. Life’s tough, and the host is in his cups.
And now, the comics:
Set #1: I’d forgotten. I really had. My subconscious – good, good subconscious – completely blocked her out. I didn’t recognize the name at all. And then Mohr says ‘Cha-cha-cha!’, and it all comes back like a world-record burrito with spoiled cream cheese. Since the return of repressed memories is seldom a non-traumatic experience, I get to watch Tere Joyce’s set from the floor. The good news: the memories are traumatic enough to block out the additional distress radiating from the screen.
Routine: New material, for the very little that’s worth. Her car broke down and she had to take the bus to the theater, someone told her she doesn’t look like a hooker (she doesn’t, as long as you don’t put the word ‘dissipated’ in there) and she’s not because she gives it away for free, she’s stolen Jay Mohr’s last drink, and she’s in therapy now and has every mental disorder known (which surprises no one). Her therapist pays her because she gets treated in the nude – apparently her therapist has some major issues to work out – and she’s learned to make noises which release emotional pain. I try a few of them out. Her performance still hurts.
Set #2: Jay London. Now, I like Jay. I like his hybrid Steven Wright/Chewbacca one-liners. (My spellchecker just recognized ‘Chewbacca’. Well, we all know who programmed it…) And I even like the way he makes fun of himself and reassures the audience that his presence is only temporary after a joke falls flat. It’s just hard to see how anyone would continue to like him for twenty-two minutes once a week. What would NBC have done with him if he’d won the exclusive talent development contract? Where could they put him? Is it true that Father of the Pride (which is already looking like a monkey-cage sized stink bomb) was developed just for his future prospects? If he’d won, animation would have returned to the NBC schedule in bulk. It would have been that or the continuing adventures of Troll Bridge Man.
Routine: standard Jay: he videotaped his hair and now he’s going to watch the highlights, his Hot Pockets have lint in them – don’t worry, sirs and madams, this summary will be over soon and you’ll never have to read me again – down jackets fit his personality, and ribbed condoms now come with barbeque sauce. There’s a lot of trolls in the United States and they vote, so Jay’s safe this week.