State College comedian Joe Machi advances to top 10 on ‘Last Comic Standing’ TV contest

State College comedian Joe Machi advanced to the top 10 in the semifinals of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.”
State College comedian Joe Machi advanced to the top 10 in the semifinals of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” Photo provided

Comedian Joe Machi returned Thursday for another round of jokes on NBC’s reality competition “Last Comic Standing.”

After pleasing the judges and the crowd with his unique comedic style in last month’s season premiere, Machi, a Penn State alumnus and State College native, quickly advanced through the elimination round along with 28 other comedians.

This week, the semifinals began and, with help from celebrity mentors Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer, Machi continued to impress the judges.

Before performing in front of the audience, Machi met with Sykes and Schumer, who praised and critiqued the comedian. Machi began the session in a humble way.

“Some nights, it’s just your night; it doesn’t mean I’m any better than the other comedians, sometimes you just hit,” he said.

His mentors were quick to disagree.

“I think you’ve done all the work. I’ve known you from New York for years and you’re such a hard worker,” said Schumer, star of Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer.” Sykes agreed. “Yeah, it’s definitely not luck. You put in the work and constructed a great set.”

In addition to being an actress and a professional comedian, Sykes is the executive producer of “Last Comic Standing.” The only advice they had for Machi was to hit his mark, referring to a previous performance, when he wandered off to the side of the stage.

Taking their advice to heart, Machi entered the stage, stopped right in the center and began his set by poking fun at people who say they don’t want to bring children into the world today.

“What do you mean the way the world is now, the best it’s ever been in history?” he asked. “Two hundred years ago people were having 15 kids. Most of them would die. Most of your life was having kids, then watching them die. Then you would die. (It’s) something they prevent now by washing your hands.”

After a few more punchlines, Machi ended his set and listened to what judges Roseanne Barr, Keenan Ivory Wayans and Russell Peters had to say about his performance.

Barr started off by saying, “You know, Joe, I love you. I think that you’re fantastic. You’re different, you’re unique, your writing is just great.” Peters continued the praise, saying, “You’re one of the guys I’ve been quoting to my friends.”

The judges did more than just laugh at Machi’s jokes. They also advanced him to the next round, where he will compete against nine other comedians for a top prize that includes a starring role in a sitcom on NBC.

“I feel pretty good now. I threw up after because it’s a lot of stress,” Machi said after hearing the announcement. “All in all I’m happy I get to keep going.”

Visit www.nbc.com/last-comic-standing for a clip featuring Machi.