Derek Caballero, NBC
Marcus performs on NBC's "Last Comic Standing."

Marcus did not lose to Iliza Shlesinger in the finals of "Last Comic Standing" last week. He lost to the format.

If, as was the case in three of the first five seasons, it came down to a one-on-one showdown, I feel confident the West Jordan native would have won the title and the prize money from the NBC reality/competition show.

And, no, I'm not just saying that because he's a local or because I've shared podcasting time with him on "The Geek Show" (geekshowpodcast.com). I'm making that assertion because Marcus genuinely was the best stand-up comedian on the show.

But because this year's format had five finalists in the final vote, Shlesinger got all the votes from those who wanted to see a woman win. And that seemed like a big priority for the show's producers. Marcus, who finished second, split votes with three other men.

NBC did not release the vote totals.

I'm not suggesting that NBC actually fudged the vote totals. That is actually a crime that could land people in jail (a legacy of the quiz-show scandals of the 1950s).

On the other hand, the "Last Comic Standing" telecasts went out of their way to push the idea that a woman had never won the title. It was sort of like when the judges on "American Idol" pushed the idea of the chubby African-American guy (Ruben Studdard) as the deserving winner instead of the pasty, nerdy, white guy (Clay Aiken).

But, frankly, NOT winning the title of "Last Comic Standing" might not be such a bad thing. Because winning the title hasn't turned out to be such a good thing for anybody else.

Let's see, there was first-season winner Dat Phan.

Who?

And second-season winner John Heffron.

Who?

And third-season winner Alonzo Bodden.

Who?

And fourth-season winner Josh Blue.

Who?

And fifth-season winner Jon Reep.

Who?

Obviously, winning hasn't meant that some great career is suddenly laid out in front of you.

Plus, in addition to the $250,000 prize, Shlesinger also "won" a two-year deal that ties her to there's-a-reason-it's-in-last-place NBC. And when was the last time you saw a stand-up comedian do great things at the once-proud Peacock network?

It's been 19 years since Jerry Seinfeld's sitcom debuted on NBC.

We're going to be hearing about some pretty big things for Marcus in the next few weeks or months. Finishing second on "Last Comic Standing" may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

BIGGER ROLE: Sara Gilbert, who made a couple of appearances on CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" last season, will make a lot more this coming season. She's been signed as a regular for the sitcom — one of the funniest shows on TV.

Gilbert, who won two Emmys for her role on "Roseanne," will reprise her role as Leslie Winkle, a genius/sort-of love interest for Leonard (Johnny Galecki).

Gilbert and Galecki, of course, played girlfriend-boyfriend, later wife-husband Darlene and David on "Roseanne."

And "Big Bang Theory" co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre was a co-executive producer of that show for two years.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com