Last Comic Standing is a TV knockout competition for aspiring stand-up comedians. Every season starts with open auditions, with contestants forming a semifinal group of 40. The group of 40 became a group of twenty, giving way to ten finalists.
Unlike other competition shows, Last Comic Standing is not restricted to only amateur or unknown comedians, and every season featured at least a couple comics who had been performing for years and to whom viewers may have already been familiar with through Comedy Central stand-up specials or sitcom guest appearances.
Last Tropes Standing:
- Cheap Heat: Used and lampshaded by Doug Benson: in a joke involving one of those "The end is nigh" types asking him if he's going to Hell, "Sorry, I'm not headed in that direction... but if I were going to Bakersfield - BOOM! Local reference, right outta the gate!"
- Don't forget: "Anyone here from Canada?" *large part of the crowd cheers* "Canada sucks!" *crowd laughs*
- Hide and No Seek: The other comics tricked Dat Phan (the eventual winner) into a game of hide-and-seek, waited for him to hide, and then went about their business as before.
- I'm Going to Hell for This: A large part of Josh Blue's routine consisted of jokes about his difficulties with cerebral palsy. After a few of those went over well, he yelled at the audience, "You're all going to hell for laughing at me!"
- The Last Title
- My Parents Are Dead: Happens in a challenge where one comedian performs their act and the other heckles them. When Chris Porter, in the role of the heckler, cracks an I Banged Your Mom joke at Josh Blue, Blue responds with this trope. Later, when their places are reversed, Porter makes the same joke in response to one of Blue's heckles, except with "sister" in place of "mom". Blue again says she's dead, but this time Porter's ready with the comeback "No, she just doesn't call you anymore."
- Non-Gameplay Elimination: Gabriel Iglesias was ejected for using his cellphone.
- One Judge to Rule Them All: There was a panel of four celebrity judges in the Season 2 semifinals. However, it was revealed that the unseen producers' votes counted for 50% of each contestant's score, with the total scores from the celebrity judges counting for the other 50%.
- Product Placement: The network tried to play it straight by having a minion from the then-upcoming Despicable Me show up as an auditionee. It might not have been a good idea to do that with a judging panel of Deadpan Snarkers.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: The other comics tended to pick on Dat Phan as well as criticize his act harshly while on camera; they were right in that Dat was limited in his material but weren't aware/forgot that Last Comic Standing was a fan-voted honor, so naturally that just made him appeal more the audience at home and get sympathy/underdog votes, thus him winning the entire show.
- Reality TV Show Mansion
- The Runner-Up Takes It All: Ralphie May and Alonzo Bodden are better known than Dat Phan and John Heffron, respectively.
- Trope Co. Trope of the Week: The series had at least one season where the contestant with the most viewer votes would automatically advance to the next round or, in the host's words, get a "Capital One No Hassle Pass".