For three foolish summers, NBC had some silly summer shows while a better one ("Last Comic Standing") had been cancelled. Now "Comic" is back on Thursdays, bringing us some excellent stand-up comedians. Here's the story I sent to papers about a terrific one, Lachlan Patterson.
By MIKE HUGHES
LOS ANGELES -- Lachlan Patterson gets a lot of questions,
but this one tops (or bottoms) the list.
“I really hate it,” he said, “when people say, ‘How come you’re
OK … except he really should be famous. Like many stand-up
comedians these days, he’s clever; unlike most, he’s also 6-foot-4 and
On this summer’s “Last Comic Standing,” one judge (Keenen
Wayans) compared him to a store manikin; another (Russell Peters) said: “You
have the look that makes guys want to hate you.”
But they like him as soon as the comedy begins. Then they
ask why he isn’t famous.
Maybe it’s because he’s a quiet Canadian, not the type to
sell himself. Or maybe he just needs one big break … which is a “Last Comic
Standing” specialty. The show has “been an incredible talent-search vehicle,” said
Paul Telegdy, head of NBC’s alternative and late-night shows.
None of the seven previous winners has become a big star
(the most successful may be Alonzo Bodden), but many contestants have become
cable or TV fixtures. They’ve included Amy Schumer, Gabriel Iglesias, Ralph
Harris, Kathleen Madigan, Gary Gulman and Ralphie May.
Now Patterson – who’s in this year’s final six – could find
fame, belatedly proving his father wrong.
His dad had warned against a comedy career, an opinion worth
listening to. He’s a high school guidance counselor, Patterson said, and “has
access to all the information on jobs.”
He was also Patterson’s coach in baseball, soccer and basketball
– which dominated after the kid grew five inches at age 16. Later, after
quitting college, Patterson took a stand-up comedy class.
He did well in Canada, then moved to the U.S. in 2007. Three
years later, “Tonight” people scouted another comic and spotted him. “They
said, ‘We’d really like to use you, but we can’t say when.’”
When the call came, it was instant; Patterson was needed
that night. He savored the experience – “in Jay Leno’s audience, they applaud
jokes” – but didn’t become famous. For a while, he quit working the national
comedy-club circuit; in Venice, Cal., he surfed and was sometimes a dog-walker.
Then “Last Comic Standing” suddenly returned, after missing
three summers. “(Comedian) Wanda Sykes came to say, ‘Let’s do this again,’”
said Bob Greenblatt, NBC’s programming chief.
Patterson – who had been rejected in a previous year – returned
and thrived. “I think you could take this whole contest,” Roseanne Barr, one of
the judges, told him.
He could. He really should be famous, you know.
“Last Comic Standing,” 10 p.m. Thursdays, NBC,
rerunning at 8 p.m. Mondays.
Going into the July 24 hour, it has Lachlan
Patterson, Nikki Carr, Rocky LaPorte, Joe Machi, Rod Man and Karious Miller;
viewers will be able to add one more Online.