Last Comic Standing -- Just Barely
So, I've finished watching Josh Blue crowned the latest Last Comic Standing tonight -- and yes, we voted for the comic-with-cerebral-palsy-dude yesterday via our handy-dandy digital cable remote -- and I have one question left.
Was there something fishy going on?
I ask, only because runner-up Ty Barnett cracked some lame joke about expecting to be stuck watching Josh win the show, before uncorking a kick ass set that probably would have won him the competition -- if he'd only performed it THE NIGHT BEFORE. You know, when people could vote for him?
Barnett seemed to be acting like the result was a foregone conclusion. But I couldn't tell if that was because he was pissed at himself for doing such a lame-o set last night before the final viewer vote, or if he was, um, encouraged to suck to pave the way for Blue's win. (To see some comedy cognoscenti accuse Josh of ripping off other handicapped stand up comics, click here and scroll to comments)
Watching the parade of past winners and creator Jay Mohr work it during the finale, I was struck by just how diverse this program's slate of winners has been -- how many other reality shows have had a Vietnamese guy, white guy, black guy and now handicapped guy as top winners? (I know. No women?) I was also struck by how they all stunk up the joint, save for Alonzo Bodden -- I know he's a little old and a little dark for Hollywood, but this guy should at least be writing scripts for somebody big!
I've been avoiding the flood of summer reality TV nonsense like the plague, but Last Comic managed to hook me in ways Work Out and Flavor of Love couldn't (but I gotta admit, watching Isaac the Love Boat bartender, Tina "Family Ties" Yothers AND Vincent "Big Pussy" Pastore on VH1's tribute to celebrity humiliation, Celebrity fit Club 4 comes awfully close, too!).
But I still never understood why Last Comic's latest host Anthony Clark -- a stand up veteran with at least two horrendous sitcoms to his credit -- always had flop sweat like he was making a hostage video most of the time he was onstage.
In the end, tho, I gotta agree with my girl -- D-list queen and onetime Last Comic judge Kathy Griffin: most of these comics were too generic and too lame to care about, even among the winners. One plus, tho: no Hasselhoff.
Times Picayune Photographer Tries for Suicide By Cop
I never met John McCusker during my week or so hanging out with staffers at New Orleans' Times Picayune newspaper for my story on their post-Katrina travails. But I often wondered how the newsroom endured something so traumatic -- evacuating, building a new life in Baton Rouge, coming back weeks later to a devastated town -- without major psychic damage among the staff. (here is a McCusker photo from the paper's Katrina coverage - click to enlarge)
Turns out, they didn't. McCusker, a key figure in their Pulitzer-winning coverage of Katrina's aftermath, was arrested Tuesday night after a confrontation with police in which he appeared to be egging them to kill him; some news reports said he had just found out insurance wouldn't cover the cost of rebuilding his home.
McCusker hinted at similar issues during an interview with American Journalism Review: "After taking a leave of absence for a month, Times-Picayune photographer John McCusker went back to work on June 20. McCusker spent much of the leave sleeping off exhaustion and attending therapy sessions three times a week. As a colleague told him, it was easier getting into the foxhole than getting out.
i was always surprised that the Times-Picayune didn't have some sort of mass counseling program underway to deal with all the trauma. Something tells me they may have to rethink that notion soon.
(photo subjects in bold; click all photos to enlarge)