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Ben Kronberg Turns Harsh LAST COMIC STANDING Judgment to His Advantage

Last week, the stand-up comedy reality competition series Last Comic Standing returned to NBC for its eighth season, ironically enough, with a little drama. Contestant Ben Kronberg performed his set, which has a seemingly awkward start in silence and Ben searching through his notebook for jokes. Last Comic Standing judge Roseanne Barr did not appreciate this move and described it as wasting time and not respecting the audience. Kronberg engaged in a back-and-forth with Barr that Ben had fun with, but one that Roseanne, yet again, did not appreciate.

The exchange ended with Roseanne telling Ben, “Go fuck yourself!” Following that, Kronberg took to Twitter and started the hashtag #GoFuckYourselfBen to satirize Roseanne’s remarks on his performance. It shouldn’t surprise you that Ben’s hashtag became popular with plenty of fans and other comedians jokingly telling Ben to #GoFuckYourselfBen. Kronberg took Roseanne’s “advice” and made it to something viral, probably to the chagrin of Roseanne.

Now, before we go any further, you should note that reality TV competitions are edited for television. As shocking as it may be, the performers featured may not be as bad (or good) as the show would have you believe. In talking to several comedians who have been in the preliminary rounds of any season of Last Comic Standing, many have commented that they had a great set only to find criticism from the judges. Thus, a comedian’s set on a televised competition series might not get to play out on TV the way that a comedian intended.

If you’re familiar with Kronberg from his late night stand-up appearances or his half hour special on Comedy Central, you might know that Kronberg is an atypical and very funny stand-up. That long pause at top of his LCS set is something he does quite often to big laughs. Ben has also found a way to make looking through his notebook, a practice that is often frowned upon in stand-up, another unique, funny facet of his comedy.

30 years ago, Roseanne Barr made it big as a stand-up comedian. A product of the stand-up comedy boom of the 80s, she thrived and worked her way to getting her own sitcom with her name on it, Roseanne. It might sound obvious, but stand-up comedy was different back in 1984. The Internet didn’t exist, the styles of comedy weren’t as diverse as they are today, and many audiences were enjoying the first boom of popularity for a fledgling art form.

Nowadays, the Internet is an essential part of our lives, so many different types of comedy are finding their fan bases, and people’s tastes have gotten more sophisticated having already seen a decent amount of stand-up comedy. That’s why Kronberg can challenge certain tenets of the art form and still be hilarious. Even after a week of this happening, people as well as Ben himself are still enjoying tweeting #GoFuckYourselfBen.

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17 comments

  • Roseanne sucks. shes on a power trip each show and laughs annoyingly loud at nothing during sets. Ive watched every season of last comic standing but this season is the worst. I wont be watching anymore, mainly because of Barr.

  • I still can’t tell if this show is good for comedy or if it’s really really bad for comedy… I’m kinda thinking the latter. I enjoy Ben Kronberg, he does a lot of alternative stuff which I love. I guess the exposure is good for comedians though…

  • Is comedy more diverse today than the 80s?  I think comics like to think so, but the trailblazers of the 70s were out there with the new wave that became mainstreams of the 90s, mixed with the Emos and Sams of that time.

    • Seems like more diverse comedy is more likely to find an audience but it’s hard to say whether it’s actually more diverse per se – in the 70s you could have highly experimental, form defying stuff that’s only playing to tiny rooms so maybe a few hundred people, total, ever saw it. Nowadays, with the net, even the most out-there stuff could find its niche and have tens of thousands of fans.

      We have to be more aware of form and genre today too right ? Which means it’s easier to play with it.

  • Actually, that’s an old Billy Connolly joke (it’s in his An Audience With… special from the early 80s) and it is a great joke. It’s on YouTube if you want to see it done really well.

    Roseanne not seeing that is typical ‘think of something to say to justify my role’ bullshit, but the comic should have had the sense to shut up and listen, he’s put himself in that position, no-one is dumb enough to think these TV ‘talent shows’ are fair, or geared towards the contestants.

    Showing off like that is the equivalent of being snarky to the cop who’s pulled you over when you know you’ve had one beer too many, fucking stupid.

    I should say, I’ve not heard or seen this guy outside of this (also heavily edited) clip, so I’m in no way commenting on him as a stand up.

    • You actually make Roseanne’s point for her. Her complaint was that the bit was not original, had been done before better, and since the standup had a short time in this format, it was a waste of time. I don’t think you’re disputing ANY of her points. And I’m not a fan of Roseanne.

    • It’s more like being snarky to a cop who’s pulled you over when you get paid to be snarky and you know there are cameras broadcasting your responses to an audience of potential fans who *might* appreciate your snark i.e. it could be worth a night in jail.

      Turns out the audience seemed to be largely on Roseanne’s side but hindsight’s 20/20 right ?

      • Yeah, problem with that is the cop writes down your snark and reads it out in court with all the humour and inflection removed, and you sound like a dick – much like with everything written in the comments on the internet…

  • Wow, apparently Rosanne doesn’t like being challenged, like at all. Clearly he had a bit about challenging perceptions of a comedy show (not sure if this was a venue for that) so he tried to flip the whole idea on it’s head. I’ve seen it done better but damn Rosanne, roll with the bit, give the guy a chance.

  • I understand you can edit clips to make people look bad, but from what was shown, he just seemed like an arrogant jerk. Judges are there to criticize, and contestants are there to be judged. It was disrespectful of him to speak to her the way he did. 

    • He seemed to me in his responses at the end to be, fairly explicitly, “doing a Roseanne”, giving back the same attitude she had, making light of criticism while at the same time not just accepting it and so on. Watch her stand-up and you’d see some of the same speech patterns he used.

      He was playing his response for laughs in other words. Stand-ups are independent by nature and irreverent by profession. Expecting him to just stand there and take it is unrealistic. What I would’ve expected is for Roseanne to see what he was doing and maybe roll with it a bit more but it’s a sad fact of life that as we age we tend to lose our playfulness.