‘Last Comic Standing’ finalist talks sex in uncensored tour

By John Benson

Louis Ramey and other show contestants bring their comedy to Powers on Sunday.

After failing to land in the semi-final round in the second season of NBC’s reality television show “Last Comic Standing,” comedian Louis Ramey decided to take a few years off to hone his craft.

Then this past summer the Atlanta funnyman returned to the Emmy Award-winning show, where he made it into the top five.

“My strategy this season was simple,” said Ramey, calling from Des Moines, Iowa. “I knew they wanted a three- to four-minute set, and I knew I had maybe seven really strong four-minute sets that I could do. My goal was to see if I could get a standing ovation every time I perform. My thought process was ‘I know I’ll make it to the next round if I do,’ and I did.”

Ramey said his comedy is built around a shotgun approach of getting in as many punch lines as possible. Fans will get to see this nonstop joke barrage in person when Ramey, with the Last Comic Standing Live Tour, comes to Youngstown’s Powers Auditorium on Sunday. The evening features the comedy of Ramey, “Last Comic Standing” season six winner Iliza Shlesinger, as well as semi-finalists Jim Tavare, Jeff Dye and Marcus (Mark Hardy).

While often compared to reality television show “American Idol,” the majority of contestants on “Last Comic Standing” are fledgling working comedians looking for their first big break.

“People think that everyone has to be a newcomer into the competition, but most people that start doing comedy, it takes them up to about three or four years before they’ve written their first half-hour of material that’s strong enough to be on television,” Ramey said. “It’s one of those things that people who look at it from the outside, they seem to think that being a successful comic is one big move, when it’s not. When it’s actually a bunch of little moves, all done right. So it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. And this gets me ahead of the game. I have more people now who actually know my name (because of ‘Last Comic Standing’).”

As far as stage topics, Ramey has a familiar and predictable one-track mind that he feels audiences may not often discuss openly but know plenty about.

“It’s sex, sex, sex,” Ramey laughed. “Sex sells. So I’m doing all of the material that I couldn’t do on television. It’s adult without being dirty. It’s an adult topic without being too overt. And what makes it so funny is that we all do it and no one wants to talk about it.

“So I’m going to talk about something we all do and people look shocked, but it’s nothing dirty. And I’m not using any obscene language. It’s just the topic people find difficult.”

Nevertheless, Ramey said fans of the television show will get to experience their favorite comedians unfettered by network standards. This is why he feels every year the Last Comic Standing Live Tour has become so popular.

“If you like the [television] show, the live show is 10 times better,” Ramey said. “So it’s time to come out and see us all battle to see who is the funniest now doing our own material without TV censors. The gloves are off.”

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