‘Last Comic Standing’ Returns to NBC in May, Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans & Russell Peters Named Judges

By March 21, 2014

It’s been four years since there was a new season of the stand-up comedy competition show “Last Comic Standing,” but NBC is finally bringing the series back beginning on May 22nd with a two-hour season premiere at 9pm Eastern time.

NBC made the announcement today, complete with a new host and set of judges. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star and stand-up comedian JB Smoove will host the show, which will air regular at 10pm Eastern time on Thursdays following the premiere timeslot. And he will be joined by longtime comedians Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Russell Peters.

For those who have never seen “Last Comic Standing,” it’s basically “American Idol” for stand-up comedy, but the competitors aren’t necessarily everyday people you haven’t heard of. Previous seasons have seen plenty of comedians that had TV series guest spots, Comedy Central appearances and more, but this show aims to raise the profile of their stand-up career and turn them into a well-known headliner like Louis C.K. or Jerry Seinfeld. Previous contenders include Doug Benson, Amy Schumer (seen below), Tommy Johnagin, Myq Kaplan, James Adomian, Gabriel Iglesias and other comedians who have gone on to have even greater success.

Amy Schumer - Stand-Up

However, this new season will see a format change, and rather than having open auditions as previous seasons have done, this time contestants were asked to audition by invitation only. As the press release explains:

The top 100 comics in America will vie for 20 spots. These 20 will then compete in a semifinal round and the best of the best will emerge, with the top 10 moving into the compelling challenge rounds. In this phase, they will compete in different comedy disciplines, such as sketch, improv and stand-up, proving themselves both individually and in teams.

This sounds much different than the “Last Comic Standing” audiences might be used to, so that should make things interesting. As for who is crowned “Last Comic Standing,” the winner will receive a talent deal at NBC and the chance to develop a half-hour scripted comedy series with Universal Television.

Personally, the line-up of judges leaves something to be desired, but most of the better or popular comedians are busier with their own shows, projects and stand-up tours. It’s not that this group of judges hasn’t paid dues and isn’t talented, but it doesn’t necessarily seem like the best team, but we’ll see what happens when the show returns on May 22nd.

Will you watch the return of “Last Comic Standing” this spring?

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.