Perry Kurtz is a stand-up comedian who has been performing since 1974, and bills himself not only as a contributing writer for Tonight Show with Jay Leno, but also as a corporate comedian for hire for you with the tagline: “Off the Wall, Off the Cuff, and Never Forgotten.”
And so it would be last night, when his time came to audition for NBC’s America’s Got Talent, he’d live up to that promise — even telling his Facebook friends earlier yesterday to make sure to tune in: “Boy, will you be surprised.”
Kurtz showed up for a hot minute in the telecast, but not to perform stand-up comedy. No, instead, he told the judges he was a 62-year-old former male stripper and that he had a rap song for them and the audience. A freestyle rap, it’d turn out to be. Or not to be. That was the question?
Roll the clip.
Now, for the other side of the story, Kurtz told The Comic’s Comic what really happened.
Kurtz said producers had seen this video from 2012 of him rapping at a pool party, and asked him to do something like this instead of stand-up:
“They told me that they wanted me to rap and dance,” Kurtz told The Comic’s Comic. “They had more than enough comedians and didn’t need any more. However, they set me up to fail. They did not give me a microphone stand, they played music I never heard before, Howard (Stern) had all these pre-written jokes about me, to which I responded, but it was cut out, and when I started to say something they shut off my microphone to the entire ground floor except for the judges and a balcony. The balcony was dancing and laughing and screaming. The ground floor couldn’t hear me and they started to boo when a guy told them to stand up in boo me. they cut out all my dancing and my replies to Howard. They needed a patsy, and I was it.”
Kurtz also received an even briefer moment of screen time earlier this season on AGT, backstage confiding in someone that he has been performing stand-up for almost 40 years. Which makes the audition all the stranger. Until you remember his own corporate comedy motto: “Off the Wall, Off the Cuff, and Never Forgotten.”