LOS ANGELES – Will a Canadian be the Last Comic Standing?
The odds are good heading into the Aug. 14 season finale with Vancouver native Lachlan Patterson among the final contestants.
The talent search series has benefited this season from an all-star lineup of comedy judges: Roseanne Barr, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Brampton, Ont.-born Russell Peters.
This season started with 100 comedians in the running. Patterson is thrilled he made it this far and prefers being judged by professional peers as opposed to viewers at home.
“With an audience it becomes more of a popularity contest,” says Patterson.
At stake is a $250,000 top prize as well as an NBC comedy development deal.
Canadians have been among the top laugh getters in the past. Gerry Dee got a big boost from the series in 2007, finishing third ahead of Schumer, arguably the hottest standup in the business at the moment. Sean Cullen and Debra DiGiovanni have also placed in the top 10.
Patterson, a seasoned comedy club veteran who has performed twice at Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival, says he knew he was in for a tough challenge.
The lanky, laid-back comedian got his start in the Vancouver comedy clubs.
“I would say that the pool of comedians in Vancouver is at least as strong as the pool of any other city.” Vancouver, however, is such a beautiful city, “the comics usually don’t leave,” he says. “When times get tough down here and you know there’s arguably the most beautiful city in the world to go home to, it’s hard.”
Patterson moved to Los Angeles in 2007 and has weathered several rounds of pilot auditions, an experience he’s not anxious to repeat.
“I feel like if I’d never done any pilot seasons, I would probably be better off than I am now,” he says. “If you aren’t ready, they just say, ‘All right, I don’t ever want to see that guy again.’”
Patterson says Quebec-born Norm Macdonald has been a big influence and gave the younger comedian a leg up by booking him as an opening act on several occasions. He’s also blown away by the support he’s received on the show.
“I mean, to hear Russell Peters say he’s been watching me — that’s pretty good.” Praise from Barr and Wayans has also been a boost. “I can tell Keenen is fighting for me,” says Patterson.
Wayans, of course, worked with another Canadian — Jim Carrey — on In Living Color. Patterson has been told he reminds folks of Carrey, which he considers the ultimate compliment. “Who doesn’t love Jim Carrey?”
Asked how his life would change if he won Last Comic Standing, Patterson says, “There’d be a lot of hate.” Comedians are supportive of each other — to a point.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” he says. “A lot of people watching the show will always think someone else should have won.”
As a Canadian, he feels he’s an underdog. Coming third would not be a disgrace, he says. After all, “that’s the Canadian Gold.”
© The Canadian Press, 2014