Cotter, a 48-year-old who won the Seattle competition in 1994 and Boston’s contest in 2004, is the first comedian to reach the finals of AGT since Grandma Lee made it to the top 10 in 2009. Singing ventriloquist Terry Fator, who headlines a show at The Mirage in Las Vegas, is the only funnyman to have won AGT’s grand prize (he did so in season two).
“I have digestive issues I can’t discuss right now because of nerves,” Cotter told Nick Cannon upon hearing the news delivered on live TV last night that he was still in the running, “but it feels tremendous. Thank you very much.” He felt much better when, later in the program, he found out he was one of the first three finalists named for this seventh season.
For his semifinal performance that put him through, Cotter emerged onstage with a giant projection behind him offering eight different topics — he then asked judge Howie Mandel to pick a topic, and Cotter proceeded to tell a couple of minutes of jokes on said topic. Roll it.
Ventriloquist Todd Oliver was the final elimination in last night’s semifinal round. Oliver currently has an ongoing show with his “talking” dogs in Branson, Mo.
One more stand-up comedian, Jacob Williams, remains in the running this season. Williams will perform in his semifinal round on Tuesday, Sept. 4.