Stand-up comedy can be a tricky product for television, in part because it depends upon the relationship between the comedian and a live audience. It’s no coincidence that the most successful stand-up on television have been the HBO comedy specials that take a live performance and film it as a concert. A prime example from 1996 is Bring the Pain, which launched Chris Rock into stand-up stardom.
Stand-up comedy was part of the reality genre from 2003-2010, on NBC’s competition show Last Comic Standing, but since that got cancelled, unknown stand-ups who want to increase their exposure have to turn to America’s Got Talent, which pits comedians against singers, dancers, acrobats, magicians and more. AGT is selecting its semi-finalists at the moment, and one of last week’s winners has thus far managed to adapt his stand-up comedy to the requirements of a different genre.
Taylor Williamson is comfortable in his awkwardness, delivering his material in a relaxed manner, showing from his first audition in Los Angeles that he can draw on stand-up’s strength and adapt to the audience in the moment.