The last few rounds of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” have kept State College comedian Joe Machi very busy, and this week’s episode was no exception.
After surviving two elimination rounds last month, on Thursday’s show Machi moved on to the finals with three other comedians.
The final stage of the reality show was designed to be the toughest and most competitive yet. Gone are the opportunities to win challenges and earn immunity, meaning that the only thing standing between the comedians and elimination is the strength of their standup material. Machi was the first to perform, but not before receiving some advice from guest mentor Jay Leno.
“Never put your philosophy ahead of the joke,” said Leno after Machi asked him how he gets away with telling some of his more controversial, politically charged material.
In an earlier episode, the judges worried whether Machi had any new jokes left to tell after burning through so much of his material during the elimination rounds. Those fears were put to rest when he took the stage and told jokes about karaoke and daredevils:
“Why do daredevils wear flashy jumpsuits? I’m like, ‘Hey man, you’re jumping over buses on fire. You have my attention.’ ”
Judges Keenan Ivory Wayans, Russell Peters and Roseanne Barr praised Machi for his inventive writing and unique delivery style.
“I love the way you write jokes, and I’m always impressed when I see you show up with another set, after another set, after another set. So congratulations buddy,” Peters said.
Wayans said, “I look forward to seeing, if and when you come back, what you do next.”
After the remaining comedians performed, Rocky LaPorte was eliminated, meaning Wayans indeed will get to see Machi tell more jokes next week. Only two episodes remain until the top four are narrowed down to the last comic standing.
“I think I’ve been the underdog for quite some time. Sometimes, longshots pay off big,” Machi said.