He found himself in the comedy world. Working difficult gigs on land and sea, he was strident and kept doing what he does best. Just last year, he auditioned for America’s Got Talent and made it to the finals as the runner-up. But seeing a dog act walk away with the grand prize hasn’t stopped him.
He’s sharp, and he’s a human. He’s…
David Luna: What was your earliest memory in life?
Tom Cotter: Well, it’s very boring. I remember visiting my dad’s office during the day when I was a little kid. I could describe it to my mother years later, and she was shocked because he moved out of that office when I was about two years old. She thinks I saw pictures of it, and that’s how I could describe it, but I remember walking into the rooms and stuff. So, a two-year-old memory, that’s the first one I remember.
DL: That’s pretty far back. Do you have a good memory, would you say?
TC: Pretty good. I’ve impaired it as best I could in college with a bong, but I think it’s relatively sharp.
DL: Is comedy a prime focus in your life, or do you have other passions?
TC: Well, I have three spawn. My wife and I are breeders. When you have kids—of course I think it sounds trite—but they’re not just my main focus, they are my muse, and they’re on my mind. Because of America’s Got Talent I’m doing a lot more gigs now, better paying gigs, and some of them are difficult, but I’m doing them for the three college educations on the horizon.
DL: Does doing comedy in Vegas prepare you for a wider variety of audiences?
TC: I think Middle America comes to Vegas. I used to work on cruise ships a lot, and that was always a wide swath. It was little kids all the way up to their great-grandparents and everyone in between. So as a comedian it’s daunting because you have to be able to amuse a four-year-old and a 104-year-old, all while being squeaky clean because it’s a family show.
In Vegas I think you can be a little edgier, but our show at the Palazzo is still a family show. My style is innuendo and double entendre, so it goes over a lot of kids’ heads, but I still have to be cognizant of the fact there are little kids there, and when they’re in the front row staring up at me, it’s abundantly clear to me.
DL: What has been your greatest struggle working as a comic?
TC: I’ve been at this for a long time, and it wasn’t until twenty-six years into it that America’s Got Talent hit, which was where I kind of broke through the ceiling finally. I was flying below the radar before that for a long time. I had done some TV, and I was still working a lot, but I was working out on cruise ships where the boat people see you, but the industry doesn’t see you. The agents, managers, TV executives, they don’t see you. You’re in Siberia when you’re on a cruise ship.
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