America's Got Talent 2013

When America’s Got Talent Season 8 began, there was a large assortment of comedians and impressionists who auditioned, but many were weeded out early on in the audition process. Two stand-outs remain though, namely John Wing & Taylor Williamson. These two men could not be more different. One is a mature, polished, family man and the other is a young, seemingly overly awkward single guy. A closer look at these two guys reveals that they are both experienced professionals already having achieved a certain amount of success in their careers. Could a comedian win first prize?

Taylor Williamson, 27, is originally from Del Mar, California.  At his initial audition, Taylor said he was a professional comedian, except for the fact that his mom pays his cell phone bills.  In his pre-performance  footage, Taylor told us that so far this year he has performed in a coffee shop, a cafeteria, a pizza parlor and a few other not very impressive venues.   His performance was good and his jokes were funny.    Heidi Klum thought he was very funny “in a shy and dorky kind of way”.  Howard Stern said “the sign of a true wit is your repartee with Mel B and Heidi”. At the time, judge, Howie Mandel said to Taylor, “I haven’t seen you before, how long have you been doing this?” and “I love it that you haven’t been seen and we can discover you right here on America’s Got Talent”. The notion that Taylor is being “discovered” on America’s Got Talent seems a little disingenuous.

Taylor Williamson began performing stand-up professionally while he was still in high school in Del Mar, California. When we first met Taylor at his initial audition his awkward persona endeared him to the judges. His routine in Vegas consisted of jokes such as saying he would “tell his kids to be friends with every color of the rainbow, meaning no black or white people.”

Taylor says that since he was under 21 when he started performing, he had to stand outside the comedy clubs and would go in just to do his set and then have to go back outside and wait. So he was unable to watch the other comedians’ sets. His influences came from comedians he saw on television such as Zach Galifinakis, Norm MacDonald and Greg Giraldo. He also says he tends to stick to one-liners because if he starts a story, “two minutes in if they’re not laughing, it’s just very awkward to go, “Never mind.”

Taylor has made appearances on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, being the youngest stand-up comedian to do so, MTV, Comedy Central’s Live At Gotham, Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, as a finalist in Last Comic Standing and last year put out his first comedy album entitled “Laughter? I Hardly Know Her!” Apparently the Labradoodle joke from his semi-final performance is on the album along with almost an hour’s worth of other material.

In an interview on Splitsider.com Taylor said he likes to perform outside of Los Angeles because it’s easier to perform in front of “real people” to test out new material. He says many audiences in L.A. are jaded and not easily impressed because many are in the entertainment business. “It’s not a real testing ground for your material.” He also said “My favorite comedian told me to drop out of college. He was like, “You’re already paying your bills doing what you love. What else would you want to do with your life?” So he did drop out of California State University after two years, but says he probably shouldn’t have. Taylor says “This past year was the worst year of my career, then out of the blue this America’s Got Talent thing happened. Now I’m getting recognized by 9 yr. olds at Nordstrom.” As to his reputation of being “the awkward, cute, dorky comedian”, Taylor says “I don’t mind being awkward or dorky. I feel like in any other job that would be tragic. Like if I showed up at Home Depot and everyone was just laughing at me that would be really bad.” He says “My uncle says he’s so proud of me because I’m making people forget about their worries and making them happy, but it’s totally a selfish thing. I just do it because I enjoy it a lot. It’s also a huge cry for help, let’s be honest.” Last month he performed at the Atlanta Improv Comedy Club and in August had several performances at a club in New Jersey. Taylor was one of the youngest members of The LaJolla Comedy Store’s Best of San Diego. He was made a regular performer at The Improv in Hollywood and he currently tours around the country performing at clubs and colleges.

Watch the video below of Taylor’s performance during the semi-final rounds on America’s Got Talent Season 8.

John Wing, 53, an Ontario, Canada native, was voted into the semi-finals by a 3 to 1 vote from the judges, with Heidi Klum using her wildcard pick for Duo Resonance instead. She hasn’t traditionally been a fan of the comedians this season, so far.

John actually has a pretty good singing voice. He can be seen on YouTube singing songs in some of his stand-up shows. One from 2005 features the lyrics (to the tune of Monty Python’s “I am a Lumberjack”) “I am Canadian and I’ve never been to war, though we have an army, no one knows what it’s for. I’m Canadian and I’m not gay, I’m just so polite that it seems that way’. At around the same time, his jokes ran along the lines of “when I was seven, I asked my parents for a dog for Christmas. We didn’t have any money for one. So I prayed and prayed and that Christmas there was a miracle, my Dad went blind”.

He’s been in the comedy business for over 30 years. The most recent information I could find is that he lives in California with his wife and two teenaged daughters and reportedly has quite an extensive collection of his trademark bowties. He moved from Canada to Los Angeles in 1988. His professional experience over the years includes several appearances on The Tonight Show and at the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival as well as at many other venues such as Caroline’s Comedy Hour, MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Hour, Evening At the Improv and three TV comedy specials. John Wing’s clever observational brand of comedy is appropriate for audiences of practically all ages, at least young teens and above. According to an interview with the star.com John says he is always happy to see white hair in the audience. “His relevant one-liners make the college kid, along with his mother and her mother laugh”. Even with the success he has had so far he is still not comfortable saying he’s made it in the business. “I haven’t done too many shows in my life where the people paid specifically to see me”, he says. He has written 2 books, “Ventriloquism for Dummies” and “When You See the Red Light, Get Off”, both of which are a memoir of sorts detailing his struggles to find his place in the world of stand-up comedy and the first 10 years of his career. He has also had several books of poetry published. He says his first, “A Cup of Nevermind” sold more than 18 copies, not including family members. He is about to publish his 8th collection of poetry. He appears regularly on CBC Network’s “The Debaters” and co-wrote and starred in the CBC radio sit-com “Man, Woman & Child”. According to his website, he began working on cruise ships in 1998 and continues to do so. He says he was asked to audition for America’s Got Talent after he was seen performing by a producer at the Montreal Comedy Festival.

Watch a video of John Wing in his semi-final performance on America’s Got talent Season 8.

The best comedy and the funniest is usually what is based in reality. John Wing does that masterfully and has plenty of life experience to draw his material from, whereas Taylor Williamson dwells more in the realm of the “number two pencil, isn’t that disgusting” and his not so successful dating history. As Howie is always saying “comedy material is subjective” so it’s all just a question of what type of comedy you find more appealing.

Do you think it’s possible for a stand-up comedian to win America’s Got Talent this season and if so, which of these two comedians would you like to see take the title?

Source: NBC.com/America’s Got Talent,splitsider.com, collegemagazine.com, thestar.com



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