Clayton English Wins NBC’s Last Comic Standing
Atlanta comedian Clayton English won the $250,000 prize and a deal with NBC to develop his own television show.
English beat out 99 comics in a truncated season that cut out the challenges that were part of the show in seasons past. Unfortunately, NBC only aired eight episodes and nine hours total. This made it more difficult to judge who was the best going into the final five and harder to root for any particular comic. In total, we heard less than 15 minutes of material from each of the finalists.
But English, in an interview earlier this week, said NBC has already lined up a 70-city tour with the four other finalists, including a stop at Atlanta Symphony Hall November 8. (Tickets here) The impact of the show was immediate. He began lining up bigger clubs to headline even before the first episode had aired.
“To tell you the truth, I just wanted more work,” said English, who has been doing stand up for a decade and four to five of those years full time. “I got an agent. That’s getting me a lot more work. Everything I’ve been doing up to this point prepared me for this whole experience.” (He headlined the Atlanta Improv for the first time in late July.)
Marshall Chiles, who runs the Laughing Skull Lounge and is perhaps Atlanta’s most heralded rain maker for local comics, said in a text that he wasn’t surprised English took it home: “He is no longer Atlanta’s best-kept comedy secret. And there are many more behind him!”
My original interview with English before the season began when I heard rumors he had made it to the finals.
On the show, English came across as likable. Even when his material verged on edgy, he kept the tone light enough not to alienate the audience. And he gave Atlanta much love during his sets. He even had the Midtown skyline behind him tonight.
“I think I kind of made the point,” he said. “We need a little respect here as far as comedy scenes go. I’m trying to highlight it.”