“Last Comic Standing” is the rare competition reality show where the early rounds can be better than the finals. Invariably there’s a comic or two who squeezes through to the final rounds with only a couple minutes’ worth of material, and the audience ends up hearing those few jokes over and over and over.

Whether that’s the case with this year’s batch of comics remains to be seen, but at least through the first round of auditions, you won’t hear any joke twice.

“Last Comic Standing” begins its seventh season Monday (June 7) after taking 2009 off. It’s got a new host — “The Office” and “Hot Tub Time Machine” star Craig Robinson — new judges in Greg Giraldo, Natasha Leggero and Andy Kindler and a whole new crop of stand-up comedians looking to take their careers to the next level.

Robinson doesn’t have a ton to do as host in the audition rounds, but as you can see in the video above, he’s good when he’s called on. Of the judges, Giraldo — a well-respected stand-up who seems familiar with several auditioners’ work — is especially good, offering thoughtful critiques without being “on” all the time.

The show has a two-hour premiere at 8 p.m. ET Monday on NBC, then moves to 9 o’clock the following week.

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Posted by:Rick Porter