Comic Tom Cotter will do anything to make you laugh, including tickle you

Jim Konrad More Content Now
Tom Cotter

Tom Cotter has won several comedy awards in his career, but he is most famous for finishing second in 2012 on “America’s Got Talent.” He credits that to the replacement of judge Piers Morgan with Howard Stern. In fact, Cotter refused to go on the show until Morgan was replaced.

“I was hesitating every year. Piers Morgan can help your career, but he can hurt your career,” Cotter said. “I watched him verbally defecate on friends of mine. I said, ‘I’m not letting him do that to me.’ With Howard, it was a level playing field. Now there are three people who get me.”

Cotter was runner-up in national voting to a dog act. He lost out on the $1 million prize, but he did get some material for his act, and the satisfaction of being the first comic to get past the quarterfinals.

“Even though I use it in the act, I’m really not bitter,” he said. “I really love those dogs.”

The top six finishers on “America’s Got Talent” were contractually obligated to perform together. They spent four months doing shows in Las Vegas.

“The dogs were my favorite act in the show,” Cotter said. “Everybody there was bitter; they had been offered great money to do their acts elsewhere. The dogs didn’t give a (hoot). They were backstage wagging their tails and licking your face.”

Cotter said he is comfortable working the five “Cs” of comedy venues — casinos, clubs, colleges, cruise ships and corporate events. He says he does tailor his material to the venue.

“You can do pot-smoking jokes at a college and get away with it — and they identify with it,” he said. “But at corporate gig, usually can’t.”

Cotter has embraced Twitter, using the 140 characters for some quick jokes, while many entertainers just use it to alert followers to buy tickets to the next gig. But he admits it isn’t easy.

“For me it is a challenge,” he said. “I talk to some young comics and their act just sucks, but they are so good at social media, they put butts in seats. Some comics have no social media, but they are better comics and they can’t put (people) in the seats. It’s an injustice.”

Cotter has a regular gig on the “Red Eye” news talk show on Fox News. It’s on at 3 a.m.

“The reason I’m on that show is I am kind of the exception,” he said. “Most comics or Hollywood types, they lean hard left. I am more of a centrist. If anything, I lean a little right.”

As part of his act, Cotter says he claims to be running for president and will present his platform. Immigration? The environment? All an audience member has to do is ask. Like a good candidate, he also has a promise for those who see his show.

“I offer a laughter guarantee,” he said. “If I have to follow them home and tickle them, I promise they will laugh.”