@Ben I'm also a little floored that not addressing the Zach situation in LHR was a sticking point for the judges. If having to address the event was part of the judgment, it should have been stated in the rules. For a sketch show, I wouldn't want to hear about the guest they didn't get to use anyway! If you have a live sketch show and lose an actor or guest on the day of a show, you cut their sketch and replace it with something from the vault.
I think a different mindset applies for the chat shows depending on how they recover. If it's just the two hosts on a show that normally has guests, then you have to address the no guest situation. If you recover with another guest, then you wouldn't say anything! I also feel I wouldn't want the hosts to dwell on the loss or name the guest in most situations, unless I was going to an event billed as having that certain guest.
I'm hoping that not mentioning Zach in LHR's submission doesn't factor into the judgment. They wrote, recorded, and did fx for a passable sketch in 30 mins. That's amazing! Especially considering they spent all week prepping for an interview, which is something they never do!
The other shows did not have to write anything and needed very little prep time; they just had to be funny. TL did a great job, and appeared to actually think on how they might handle their recovery. LDDC are funny guys and have a great vibe with each other, but them stringing together indignant, repetitive jibes at the situation hardly feels like a good use of their time in this challenge. How long would that go on if this was an actual episode (which is part of the conceit of the challenge)??
If LHR gets eliminated because of this challenge, I don't feel like this reflects on them at all as up-and-coming comedy writers. That they managed to pull anything funny out of this situation I think is a credit to them. But man did they just have really tough competition this week.