Road Rules’ Theo changes his name, makes it to the second Last Comic Standing round

On the two-hour debut of Last Comic Standing 4 last night, the show burned through all of its audition rounds. The show updated us on the season two and three winners, but oddly neglected to mention season one winner Dat Phan.

But the biggest news from the episode is that Road Rules star Theo may leave his fellow MTV attention whores behind and get an actual job. Theo showed up for the LA auditions with a new identity, shortening his given name, Theodor Capitani Vonkurnatowski, to Theo Von. That’s a lot smarter than the way he treated his interview segment like an MTV confessional camera. “I was on MTV Road Rules years ago. I feel like a lot of times people don’t take me seriously as a comedian because I’ve been on television before. Let’s put it up on the stage, let’s see what’s going on,” he said.

No, we don’t take you seriously because you’re pretending as though you didn’t also appear on five Challenge shows–including one that debuted 22 hours earlier!–and Bravo’s train wreck Battle of the Network Reality Stars. In any case, Theo told a joke about Kevin Federline, and he advanced to the next round. He may even have a chance to break free of his MTV persona, because ultimately, there are very few of us in the world who, when we hear “coral” or “derrick,” we don’t think first of calcareous skeletons or an oil well.

Theo wasn’t the only quasi-famous person to appear, and certainly there were many more who I didn’t recognize, especially because the show has been criticized in the past for allowing established names to advance while discarding fresh new talent. In Chicago, there was Jimmy Pardo, most recently seen as the “bellhop” on The Surreal Life 6‘s debut episode.

And in LA, Doug Benson from VH1’s Best Week Ever also made it through to the next round. His presence was kind of pathetic, and not just because his stand-up was crappy compared to his usual wit: This guy is on the best cultural criticism show on television, and he needs a relatively low-rated NBC summer reality series to help him become famous?

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.