'America's Got Talent' finalist entertains at Phoenix club Stand Up Live

America's Got Talent comedian Tom Cutter performs at Stand Up Live! on Aug. 22. (Photo by Olivia Richard) America's Got Talent comedian Tom Cutter performs at Stand Up Live! on Aug. 22. (Photo by Olivia Richard)

"America’s Got Talent" season seven finalist Tom Cotter showed Arizonans just why he was the NBC hit show's "top human finalist" at downtown Phoenix comedy club Stand Up Live on Friday night.

Stand Up Live, a jazz-club-style comedy venue that makes up what it lacks in size with high energy, headlined Cotter’s first leg of a world-wide tour that includes upcoming stops in Iowa, New York and Hong Kong.

With a line out the door and audience groups ranging from ladies' night out to date night to bachelorette entourages and even a birthday celebration or two, the eager anticipation could be felt from the tip of the first stiletto in line to the very last polo shirt in the booth seats.

Cotter’s name was cemented in the world of laughs nearly two years when "America's Got Talent" unveiled its newly updated panel of judges in 2012.

Cotter says he “stepped in Leprechaun poop and got very lucky.” With a new panel of judges open to American comedians, America watched captivated and enraptured as Cotter debuted his unique brand self-defined “rapid-fire comedy” to the judges: comedian, actor and television host Howie Mandel, business mogul and media personality Sharon Osbourne, and new judge comedian and radio personality Howard Stern, along with the rest of America.

With his witty and cleverly crafted humor, Cotter left no doubt that he is indeed an edgy bag of crazy wrapped in a two-piece suit. In a sold-out house he proved that comedians have still got it.

"The drinks flowed and so did the laughs,” comedy club virgin Shelly Lukes said.

Covering topics all across the board from racism to flying and even old age, Cotter came out swinging, reading the world and the idiosyncratic people who inhabit it the riot act, to the chorus of non-stop laughs.

Some of his jokes skirted the line of what bride-to-be Melissa Tomlyne called “gut-busting hilarity” and blush-worthy vulgarity, though the real strength in his act lies in his uncanny vulnerability he is able to bring to the stage, combined with his willingness to put it all on the line for the sake of the joke.

Any serious "America's Got Talent" fan knows how notoriously more difficult it is for comedians to take the stage than other acts, according to the judges.

"I think its just as difficult," Cotter said. "We’ve all got to chisel our acts down to 90 seconds.”

As for how his life has changed since being narrowly beaten out by Olate Dogs, Cotter said his kids understand what he does and "no longer think daddy’s a rodeo clown.”

When is comes down to who he roots for on "America's Got Talent," Cotter admits to having a soft spot for comics. He's cheering on his close friend and fellow comedian Dan Naturman, who recently advanced to the round of semi-finals. Cotter also hinted that a fellow comedian and friend, which he declined to name, might receive one of the coveted call-back calls from the judges, allowing them to also advance to the semi-finals.

If Friday's performance is any suggestion of what lies in ahead for the doggy-defeated headliner, whose late night comedic philosophy is “church is on Sundays, comedy is tonight,” we can be sure that he will continue setting his laser-focused dose of truth on sold-out crowds, whether it be at the world renowned Radio City Music Hall in New York or an intimate late night audience at Stand Up Live.

Tickets to Stand Up Live events begin at $22. Cotter remains in town until Aug. 30, and there are still a few tickets available to select at either 7 p.m. or 10 p.m. It is definitely worth the money to see this hard-hitting comedian shine a reflective mirror at the audience, society and the world. Warning, with Tom Cotter in the building, no one is safe.


Reach the reporter at oprichar@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @OliviaRichard1

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