via press release:
‘LAST COMIC STANDING’ RETURNS TO NBC MAY 22 WITH JUDGES ROSEANNE BARR, KEENEN IVORY WAYANS AND RUSSELL PETERS, ALONG WITH NEW HOST JB SMOOVE
Wanda Sykes Will Be Executive Producer for Emmy Award-Nominated Series Set for 13 Episodes
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — March 21, 2014 — America’s most compelling comedy competition is back Thursday, May 22 (9-11 p.m. ET) when NBC’s Emmy Award-nominated series “Last Comic Standing” returns with three new celebrity judges — comedy icons Roseanne Barr and Keenen Ivory Wayans, along with international comic sensation Russell Peters — as well as dynamic new host JB Smoove.
The series will air Thursdays (10-11 p.m.) following the premiere.
Emmy Award winner Wanda Sykes and Page Hurwitz (“Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious,”), who are producing partners at Push It Productions, will executive produce the season’s 13 one-hour episodes, along with Javier Winnik (“The Marriage Ref”).
“We are ready to bring back the funny with this relaunch of ‘Last Comic Standing,’ and can’t wait to discover the next great stand-up,” said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming, NBC Entertainment. “With Keenen, Roseanne and Russell set as our new judges, JB as host and Wanda, Page and Javier at the helm, there will be plenty of laughter all summer.”
“Last Comic Standing” resumes its search for the funniest comic in the country with innovative format changes, surprise celebrity guests and unexpected twists. The season will open up with hilarious auditions, this time by invitation only.
The top 100 comics in America will vie for 20 spots. These 20 will then compete in a semifinal round and the best of the best will emerge, with the top 10 moving into the compelling challenge rounds. In this phase, they will compete in different comedy disciplines, such as sketch, improv and stand-up, proving themselves both individually and in teams.
Then the funniest of all will take the coveted title of “Last Comic Standing,” winning a prize package that includes an NBC talent deal and a half-hour scripted project to be developed by Universal Television.
Roseanne Barr began her career in stand-up comedy, turning her experiences as a wife and mother into a “domestic goddess” act that audiences couldn’t resist. She went on to star in and produce her own hit sitcom, “Roseanne,” which ran for nine seasons and averaged approximately 30 million viewers each week. The role earned Barr an Emmy Award as well as a Golden Globe, a Kids’ Choice Award and multiple American Comedy Awards. In recent years, she guest-starred on “The Office” and “Portlandia,” and her earlier TV credits include “My Name Is Earl,” “Futurama,” “The Nanny,” “Third Rock from the Sun” and “The Larry Sanders Show.”
Barr also had her own talk show, “The Roseanne Show,” which earned her a Daytime Emmy Award nomination as outstanding talk show host. Her big-screen credits include “She Devil,” “Freddy’s Dead,” “Blue in the Face” and “Meet Wally Sparks,” and she voiced characters in “Look Who’s Talking Too” and “Home on the Range.” She has written three books: “Roseanne: My Life as a Woman,” “My Lives” and, most recently, “Roseannearchy: Dispatches From the Nut Farm.” The series “Roseanne’s Nuts,” which she also executive produced, followed Barr as she ran a nut farm in Hawaii.
Keenen Ivory Wayans is a multi-talented writer, director, producer and entertainer, perhaps best known for his groundbreaking series “In Living Color.” His uncanny eye for talent was proven with “In Living Color,” where he helped launch the careers of Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez and members of Wayans own talented family, including Kim, Damon, Shawn and Marlon Wayans.
After collaborating with comedian Eddie Murphy and earning writing credit on the star’s concert film “Eddie Murphy Raw,” Wayans then partnered with actor/director Robert Townsend and had his first hit film with “Hollywood Shuffle.” He made his directorial debut with “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” in which he also starred, and went on to direct the record-breaking summer blockbuster “Scary Movie” and its sequel, “Scary Movie 2.” He also wrote, directed and starred in “A Low Down Dirty Shame” as well as directing “White Chicks” and serving as producer, writer and director of “Little Man.” Additional movie credits include “Dance Flick,” “The Glimmer Man” and “Most Wanted.” Wayans is currently set to write and executive produce a single half-hour comedy pilot and to launch a national stand-up tour with his brothers next year.
Russell Peters is an international comedy sensation who regularly sells out arenas all over the world. His tours have set attendance records globally and Peters was ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 highest-grossing comics, earning nearly $21 million in 2013 and garnering legions of enthusiastic fans. Peters has sold out some of the biggest venues in the United States, including Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Barclays Center and the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
He has performed with Dave Chapelle and George Carlin and his comedy performances on YouTube have had more than 100 million views. Peters’ comedy DVDs include "Outsourced," "Red White and Brown," "The Green Card Tour: Live From the O2 Arena" and his latest special, the first original comedy special for Netflix, "Notorious."
Perhaps best known for his breakout role as Leon on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” JB Smoove is a writer, comedian and actor who currently stars in the TV comedy “The Millers.” His feature-film debut was in the cult classic “Pootie Tang,” with Chris Rock, and since then he co-starred opposite Adam Sandler in “Mr. Deeds,” and also appeared in “Date Night,” “Hall Pass,” “The Sitter,” “We Bought a Zoo” and “The Dictator,” opposite Sacha Baron Cohen. He was a writer for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” a cast member on the sketch comedy program “Cedric the Entertainer Presents,” the host, co-creator and producer for the stand-up series “Russell Simmons Presents: The Ruckus” and he had his own Comedy Central special called “How I Dooz It.”
Additional credits include “Tough Crowd,” “Jamie Foxx Presents: Laffapalooza,” “Saturday Night Live” sketches, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Til Death,” “Bent” and “The Real Husbands of Hollywood.” He just launched season two of his show “Four Courses with JB Smoove” on the MSG Network, and is also a partner in the entertainment company Converge Media Group.
Emmy Award winner Wanda Sykes ranks among Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Funniest People in America.” Her stand-up specials include “Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious” and the Emmy-nominated programs “I’ma Be Me” and “Wanda Sykes: Sick and Tired.” Her big-screen credits include “Evan Almighty,” “Monster-in-Law,” “Over the Hedge,” “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” “Rio,” “Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps” and “Pootie Tang.” She can currently be seen on the Amazon Prime show “Alpha House,” created by Gary Trudeau, about a group of Republican senators who share the same D.C. rental house. For five years she co-starred on the comedy “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”
Sykes spent five years as a performer and writer on the critically acclaimed “The Chris Rock Show,” for which she won an Emmy. She also won three Sports Emmys in 2002, 2004 and 2005 for her work on “Inside the NFL” for outstanding weekly studio show.
Additional credits include “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Crank Yankers” and her late-night talk show “The Wanda Sykes Show.”
In 2012, Sykes joined forces with veteran producer Page Hurwitz to form Push It Productions, a production company dedicated to creating quality, comedy-based programming for network and cable television outlets. The company’s diverse slate of projects include sketch comedy, concerts, reality, talk/variety and competition formats. Their first set of specials, “Herlarious,” aired in summer 2013 and January 2014 on OWN and was the recipient of a 2014 Gracie Award. In just its first year, Push It has made a first-look production deal with NBC, has a new series on OWN, and has shows currently in development with NickMom (Comedy Camp) and Comcast.
“Last Comic Standing” is produced by Universal Television and Push It Productions.