A year before comedian Drew Lynch took the stage before the judges on “America's Got Talent,” he performed 500 shows in one year to “get comfortable in every single environment.”
Known as the comic with a stutter, Lynch received the “Golden Buzzer” from fellow comedian Howie Mandel. It was a moment that changed his life.
“It's so vivid in my memory... it's something I will remember for the rest of my life,” Lynch said.
Lynch ended up finishing second on the 10th season of “AGT” behind ventriloquist Paul Zerdin. He also competed this year in the first “America's Got Talent: The Champions,” but was eliminated before reaching the finale.
Lynch brings his “Off the Cuff” tour to the Comedy and Magic Club Tuesday, March 19. He also co-hosts a weekly YouTube show “Dog Vlog,” with his dog Stella, as well an animated show, “Therapy Dog,” that can also be seen on YouTube.
Since his appearances on “AGT,” Lynch said he has a rigorous schedule and continues the work ethic he cultivated before “AGT.”
“I think what's so great about comedians as a species is that they are almost bred to continue that same work ethic, but just on the different platforms as their career progresses,” Lynch said.
“Prior to doing 'America's Got Talent,' I would like to say that I was working hard, but you're almost working so hard without as much as a return. So you're kind of still hoping for a big break or something to pay off in a way that will validate all the hard work that you're putting in.”
Lynch said he was always a theater kid and moved to Los Angeles when he was 19 years old to become an actor. He was on a softball team several years later and was hit in the throat by a softball when it took a bad hop. The force of the ball damaged his vocal nerves, which caused the stuttering. He also hit his head and suffered a concussion.
It was a difficult time for Lynch, who was still trying to find a break in the acting world. His acting agent dropped him because it's “not easy to market someone who stutters,” but he had been working nights at a comedy club so he could audition during the day.
It was a “mind blowing change,” but “when one door closes, another one opens.”
“After my injury, it left me something to talk about and with good reason, it was so prominent in my life,” Lynch said. “It was a time that I could use as like a form of therapy to push me through the difficult emotion of a time like that.”
Auditioning for “AGT” was an “arduous” process. He arrived before 5 a.m., for a 7 a.m audition. The process lasted until 8 p.m. that evening.
“I got to audition for the actual judges like a month later, so that was Howie, Howard Stern, Heidi Klum and Mel B... I wasn't so much nervous for the material and rehearsal part of the audition as I was about the interaction with the judges.
"I was so worried that myself was never going to be enough... shortly before hitting the stage I was kind of reminded I had gotten that far because of who I am. Why be afraid to be that?”
After he performed to a standing ovation, Mandel pressed the “Golden Buzzer” which sent him straight to the quarterfinals at Radio City Music Hall.
“I was hell bent on winning because a comedian had never won,” Lynch said.
But Lynch came up short, losing to Zerdin, but he was able to parlay that success to a busy career on stage. His act continues to evolve where now he would like to be known as a “funny person who happens to stutter.” He also has starting interacting more with his audiences.
“I think it's important to be able to make every show unique to that audience so they can get the feeling that could never be recreated again,” Lynch said.