'Last Comic Standing 4' sends Stella Stolper and April Macie home
By Andrea Sellers, 06/21/2006
NBC's Last Comic Standing 4 has eliminated the first of its twelve finalists, sending Stella Stolper and April Macie home at the conclusion of what amounted to a three-way head-to-head "Ladies Night" competition easily won by Michele Balan.
Last Comic Standing 4's fifth episode began with a long bus ride on a short bus that brought the newly-crowned twelve finalists to their new home away from home, the Queen Mary. As they headed to their cabins, the contestants realized they would be sharing cramped quarters with a fellow finalist. While settling in, some of the larger contestants became concerned about their ability to sleep on their cabin's twin beds. Between her inability to turn over and being forced to room with the pregnant Stella, Roslane "Roz" Gholston knew that things would heat up quickly. Meanwhile, Josh Blue wondered what would happen when Gabriel Iglasias rolled over during the night.
After they settled in, the finalists headed off to the banquet room for dinner and a prime opportunity to check out the competition. Stella quickly put a target on her own back by proclaiming herself the competition's bitch -- a title her fellow contestants were more than willing to concede to her.
The next day, the finalists discovered that, as in previous seasons, they would receive their challenges via Last Comic Standing's fortune teller machine. After receiving their first "fortune," the contestants quickly realized that their initial challenge would involve heckling. Later, Last Comic Standing host Anthony Clark confirmed their suspicions and outlined the terms of the challenge. The contestants would be randomly paired off, with one heckling while the other performed. Afterward, they would switch roles and the first round's hecklers would perform. Once everyone had performed, the studio audience would choose their favorite comic and their favorite heckler, both of whom would receive immunity from the first head-to-head challenge.
Before the performances began, Chris Porter expressed concern that although he was confident in his heckling abilities, an overly aggressive attack on Josh, who has cerebral palsy, might turn people against him, but ended up taking the risk. Meanwhile, Joey Gay employed a completely different -- and somewhat puzzling -- strategy when he decided not to heckle April. Although she was surprised by Joey's decision, April didn't return the favor when it was her turn to watch Joey perform.
After all the performances were over, Anthony announced that Roz's relentless attack on Rebecca Corry had earned her the best heckler immunity and Chris Porter was able to win the audience vote for best performance, beating out Kristen Key by one vote.
With the immunity challenge over, the contestants then headed down to the ship's boiler room to determine who would meet in the head-to-head challenge. As in Last Comic Standing's first two seasons, each finalist would go to the voting booth and vote against one other comic. However unlike the show's other seasons, the comic who received the most votes would be forced (allowed?) to face not one but two of the comics that had voted against him or her. Some of the votes, such as Roz's vote for roommate Stella, were not surprising based on the obvious tensions already observed within the group. Some nascent alliances also appeared to be revealed, such as Chris Porter choosing to vote for Michele Balan instead of doing "what he should have" and voting for Stella. Meanwhile, although Joey had declared that his earlier decision to not heckle April was a courtesy that he would have granted any of his fellow comedians, he voted against her.
After all the votes but Gabriel's had been revealed, there was a tie between Stella and Michele, meaning that Gabriel's vote would either break the tie or both Stella and Michele would head to the head-to-head challenge. When Gabriel's vote was revealed, he was shown randomly pulling a name out of a hat and demonstrating that he was not voting with an alliance. Rebecca's name ended up coming out of Gabriel's hat, meaning that both Stella and Michele Balan were guaranteed spots in the head-to-head. Due to the tie, the pair were allowed to jointly decide who would be the third participant in the challenge. After some brief discussion, they decided upon April Macie.
Going in to the challenge, April was extremely confident that she would be able to beat out Stella and Michele and remain in the competition, boldly declaring that she should get out of comedy if she couldn't beat Stella. Meanwhile, Michele was nervous about the upcoming challenge, causing Roz to try and build up her confidence before the competition. During their routines, Stella and April both appeared to focus on female topics while Michele presented a broader range of humor to the audience.
After all three women performed and the comedy club audience voted, Anthony announced that Stella had received the lowest number of votes and was eliminated. Then, with Michelle and April both waiting anxiously, Anthony revealed that Michele had won the competition with a whopping 83% of the audience votes. Shocked by her overwhelming victory, the obviously delighted comedienne's confidence immediately soared.