Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Chris Coxen baffles the Last Comic Standing crew


Chris Coxen knew going into the Last Comic Standing, season five auditions he had no chance of making the show. It’s not that he lacks the talent to make the cut, but Coxen is a character comic – think Borat or Andy Kaufmann. So even though he had been invited to audition, he was pretty sure when he showed up to the New York auditions at the Gotham Comedy Club in March dressed as Danny Morsel, a mustached “combat dancer” who wears a ventriloquist dummy around his neck he calls “the War Doll,” the Last Comic judges wouldn’t know what to make of him.

In fact, the other comics at Gotham weren’t sure what he was supposed to be. “I was walking around with my wig and my moustache and the war doll, just walking around watching the faces of the other comics,” says Coxen. “That right there was entertainment enough.”

Coxen gave the judges, Alonzo Bodden, Kathleen Madigan, and ANT, the full Morsel treatment, dancing wildly to his boom box accompaniment. “The volume comes up and I stand up and I just start becoming completely unhinged onstage, moving around, throwing punches, and doing ridiculous dance moves and just screaming and going nuts,” he says.

His performance was met with a mix of confusion and amusement, and Madigan flashed a sign that said “no.” Coxen was not deterred. “I said, ‘The sign says “on,” does that mean I’m on the show?’” he says. “And she says, ‘No! It says no!’ She spins it around and it says ‘no’ on the other side, so I go, ‘It still says “on,” so I’m on the show! The War Doll and I will be back tonight, is that right?’”

Coxen has been told by representatives of the show that he’ll be on one of the first few shows, most probably tonight’s two-hour season premiere, but he doesn’t know how he’ll be portrayed. The goofball reel has become a staple of reality television, making stars out of the untalented (we’re looking at you, William Hung). “If they maintain the essence of what happened that day, it’ll be funny for everybody, you know?” he says. “If they do that, I don’t mind being lumped in, because the character speaks for itself. I was true to the character.”

Whatever makes it to air, Coxen isn’t expecting too much from it. “Realistically, a good laugh for myself and everyone that knows me,” he says. “And [for] every other comic, I think, there will be some very understated victory. Just because for all the comics, it’s a very bittersweet show. All the comics hate it, but at the same time, they would love to have the exposure of getting on there.”

For some context about Morsel and Coxen’s other characters, see his Web site, http://www.chriscoxen.com/.

Last Comic Standing, two-hour season premiere Wednesday, June 13, NBC, 9pm.

See today's Boston Globe http://www.boston.com/ for more about Last Comic Standing.

2 comments:

Timmy Mac said...

Do we know why he went with Morsel instead of Ripps?

Nick Zaino said...

I believe it had something to do with the immediacy of the character -- Ripps would take a bit more explaining and time to warm up to. Mr. Coxen, care to weigh in?