Being a stand up comedian is one thing, but being a stand up comedian on a nationally televised reality competition show is an entirely different level of standup-ness (cause we just made that a thing). Tom Cotter jumped into the spotlight as the runner up during the 2012 season of America's Got Talent and has seen an instant increase in national bookings that have changed his life as a professional comic.
We talked with Tom earlier this year before a show in Fort Lauderdale. Now, gearing up for his first ever West Palm Beach Improv appearance, we circled back with the almost-champion comic to see how the taste of fame has changed his outlook. It's the special December time of year when you have to spend too much energy on your family and eat obscene amounts of food in public. So we figured this was the perfect opportunity to find out what Tom thought of 2013, which holiday is his favorite, and his riveting New Year's resolution, just as we look 2014 directly in the face.
New Times: 2013 is coming to a close. Where does it rank in Tom Cotter's years of life?
Tom Cotter: 2012 and 2013 both were phenomenal. 2012 was great because of the show (America's Got Talent), but by the time the show ended, it was September 12, which meant that all the really good booking that resulted from all that exposure happened in 2013. So economically, 2013 was the best, but to get me there 2012 had the happen.
Are you still watching AGT?
I did watch the show, and I came back to perform. I was on the results show, I did the Snapple finale viewing party remote from Buffalo, New York. I hosted that, and I came back earlier to perform just as a guest entertainer -- someone coming back to kill time. I wasn't allowed to tweet because they knew I was coming back to do the Snapple thing, and they asked me not to throw my support behind anyone, not that it would have mattered.
We are well into holiday season now. What is your favorite holiday of the year and why?
I'm a big Arbor Day guy. I love trees. But I would say second, Christmas is big in our family. Just because we exchange gunfire, so it's exciting, and also because it is a time of giving... The finger.
No, I love Christmas, I love the whole vibe and my kids are young enough where they still believe in Santa, and we can control their behavior by saying Santa is watching them. My theory is, and you are in Florida, so this doesn't work for you, but my theory on Christmas is it's just a reason to get prepared for the most dreary, cold, miserable months of the year. You are about to freeze for three months, and your heating bills are going to go through the roof. You are going to have to scrape your windshield and have to shovel your driveway. You are going to be cold and have to put on 20 garments every time you go outside, and that's all miserable stuff. So the birth of the baby Jesus gives us a little diversion and makes us spend some money and feel good about things.
What's the best thing to binge eat on before 2014 New Year's hits and you have to pretend to want to go to the gym a lot?
Well this is the time of year that the aforementioned 20 garments allow you to conceal the weight. And I just put on a ton of weight over Thanksgiving. I was down in Florida, my parents are in Stuart. And my dad turned 90, and we all went down there to celebrate, and I never saw the inside of a gym, and I just ate, ate and ate and ate.
I am a big pecan pie kind of guy. I know you aren't supposed to eat ice cream in the winter but I love the brownie a la mode. That's huge in my book.
What is your biggest regret of 2013?
The thing that would stick out most is the bad with the good. I got a lot of work this year that took me away from home, and whenever I am away from home, you miss school plays and you miss little league games and you miss important milestones from your children. And hopefully, when they are in therapy, they will realize that I did this so they can go to college one day.
You mentioned your folks live in Stuart. How long have they lived there?
They have lived there for 20 years. It started with my dad spending six months in Cape Cod and six months in Florida. And six months became nine months in Florida and now they are full time residents.
What do you like to do when you come to Florida?
Everything above West Palm Beach is a little less crowded. When I work in Florida during the season, it's from Boynton down. When you get to Fort Lauderdale and down, everything is so congested. So that's why I love West Palm and everything North. And when I go to visit my dad, we always do Lion Country Safari, and this time, we got to see a camel sniff and rhinoceros' buttocks which was great.
Any New Year's resolutions?
This year, I would really like to give up giving shit up to be honest with you, because I am sick of it.
What is your favorite kind of sandwich?
My favorite kind of sandwich would have to to be, and I have no Greek relation, a gyro or however you pronounce it. Love it. Obscenely fattening. Tons of tzatziki sauce. My breath stinks for days afterward but I just love it.
See Tom Cotter live at the West Palm Beach Improv, 550 S. Rosemary Ave., Suite 250. December 13 to 15. $20, two drink minimum. Call 561-833-1812, or visit palmbeachimprov.com for tickets.
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