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Bill Bellamy and David Friedman Talk Last Comic Standing

MovieWeb - USA - Bill Bellamy and executive producer David Friedman are on another quest for the funniest unknown stand-up comic in America with Last Comic Standing, which comes back to NBC on May 22 at 9:30 ET. I was recently in on a conference call with the second-year host and producer of the hit reality show and here's what they had to say.

Bill, how did you get mixed up with this show to begin with? And what is it about the show that blew your skirt up enough to want to be a part of it?

Bill Bellamy: First of all, it was just timing I think. You know, the producers - some of the producers on our show already knew my work and stuff that I've done with comedy - and gave me a call, and asked me would I be interested in a project. And at first, I was like what - because I haven't hosted anything since MTV, you know. But I watched, you know, some of the tapes of the shows and I saw, you know, the comics and things. And I thought about what I could bring to the show, and I thought it would be a fun job. And it's turned out to be incredible because not only are we going around giving other comedians an opportunity - I mean, we are really getting into the world of comedy and showing people, you know, how hard it is and how - some people make it look easy. But we come across a lot of non-funny people, too. So it works both ways. It's really good.

Yeah, so non-funny people - what do you do? You just sort of have a smile frozen on your face, or are you rough with them?

Bill Bellamy: Well the thing is, when you put them all together, they really become hilarious. That's the power of the edit. We've had some crazy people. Everybody that's on line, obviously is not a comedian. I think they just want to be on TV, some of them.

Would this kind of show helped you when you were just starting out?

Bill Bellamy: Yes, sir. I would have loved an opportunity like this because I mean, the viewership is so huge. It's mainstream America. You get an opportunity to perform on such a huge platform. And then you get to win some money and a comedy special, and a car. Man, you should've seen my little club car back in the day.

Was there a pivotal moment in your life when you realized that being funny could be something that could be a career as opposed to just, you know, amusing your friends, amusing yourself?

Bill Bellamy: That point came in college on pretty much just stepping outside the box. I got into this little talent competition and was hoping that I would be funny. And, you know, I kind of put together like three minutes. That probably is all I had at that time and once I got on stage and I was in front of the people, and I got that rush, I knew at that time that this was something I wanted to do. I didn't know if I could get better at it. I just knew the gut feeling was that I liked it a lot. And, you know, 16 years later look what's up.

You sort of hinted at it before, but is it - are you tough to please? Are you - is it hard to make you laugh now that, you know, you've been in comedy for so long?

Bill Bellamy: I would say yes and no. I mean, it just depends. I mean, as a comedian - I'm a comedian's comedian. I look for originality, you know, good writing, you know, personality coming through your material and I get a sense of who you are. And, you know, when I see that shine on stage, I get excited because I know that there's a lot of potential for that person. And, you know, even though we only give you maybe four minutes or three minutes in certain sets, you can really tell in the short period of time if the person has the magic, you know.

You're not like, you know, you're not like a Grinch out there?

Bill Bellamy: No. I'm for the comedian, you know. A lot of people are like man, you seem so, you know, excited and you want everybody to do well. I really do. I mean, I don't want anybody to come on TV and fail. You know, I want these guys to take advantage of this opportunity, go all out, try not to be so nervous about being on TV. I mean, it's easy for me to say because I've done it so much. But I'm just saying, just forget about you're on television and just pretend you're in the club, you're comfortable and just do what you've been doing. That's what I encourage them to do.

I was a little confused watching these first two hours because there would be a couple of people who would - could go ahead and then they'd say we've only got one left. And I didn't know if they - just those were the only people who got it. How many people for each city got a go ahead to the semifinals?

David Friedman: What did you watch? What did you get to see?

New York and then Tempe.

David Friedman: Oh, you did. Okay, yeah. You know, the process is such where the - you know, all day long they come in and audition for our talent scouts. The talent scouts weed through, as you can imagine. I mean, in some cities (you see) thousands of people. And then the ones that they like are asked to come back.

I couldn't tell - it looked like only about four guys went to the semifinals from New York.

David Friedman: That's probably accurate. I can't remember - I don't have the numbers in front of me. But let's say the four guys or four people came out of New York and two or three more came out of Tempe - eventually we end up with 32 people that go to Las Vegas and the semifinals. So from every city it varies. Some you get four. Some you get three. Some you get five. And basically more what the scouts feel were the best three. There were no hard numbers. It's not like we said that in every city we're going to pick three or in every city we're going to pick five. It really just depended on the numbers game and how many we really said that, you know, we just have to have these three or you know what, only two really sort of blew us away so we're only going to take two from Tempe or wherever.

So let me ask both you and Bill this question, though - if you were a comedian trying out, would you maybe have picked some other city, other than New York to try out in? Because there was so much talent in that New York one.

David Friedman: Yeah, definitely - it definitely plays a hand. I mean, there's a lot - we see that like in Tempe and, you know, a lot of people from the West Coast like from California or LA, will fly to Tempe. We also ran in San Francisco, so you have something from - you know, so you kind of - I see a lot of the comics sort of making choices as to where they might want to go audition because you're right, the numbers game does play a hand in it, for sure.

Bill Bellamy: Yeah.

David Friedman: But it is also hard to anticipate. It's hard to say just because the numbers are big doesn't mean the talent will be great. You know, we go to Minneapolis where it's 15 degrees below zero, but we've got great talent there. So it's really hard to kind of guess where you're going to shine, over what city.
Source : Originally Published MovieWeb - USA, May 22, 2008
Celebrities : Bill Bellamy
Categories : Last Comic Standing, Reality shows, Actor News, Comedian News, Celebrity News
Posted 5/22/2008 09:05:29 AM | Permalink
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