America’s Got Talent goes to the dogs in 2012: Stand-up comedian Tom Cotter finishes runner-up

For many years, David Letterman presided over a late-night TV segment called “Stupid Pet Tricks.” Letterman’s show would fly in pet owners and their pets to have them show off their, well, stupid tricks they had learned. Simple. Stupid. Fun.

One of these people won America's Got Talent in 2012. Hint: It wasn't the person.

In 2012, however, television viewers in both the United Kingdom and the United States of America have elevated the stupid pet trick to a level that’s somehow more impressive and more worthy of fame and fortune than any “talent” a human being may possess. Earlier this year, the viewers of Britain’s Got Talent awarded the top prize to a dog named Pudsey. The dog and its owner already have scored a book deal (!). And last night, on America’s Got Talent, we learned that American TV viewers had picked Olate Dogs over veteran stand-up comedian Tom Cotter as deserving of the million-dollar grand prize and a headlining show in Las Vegas.

After learning his fate on live TV last night, Cotter told viewers when asked by AGT host Nick Cannon: “Unbelievable. It’s really great. And I’m going to fall down the stairs and get my own million dollars tonight.” A workman’s comp joke! Get yo paper, Tom!

You can watch the clip and Cotter’s reaction below:

Here was Cotter’s performance in the finals, where he was one of the six remaining acts. In the semifinals, Cotter walked onstage with a game-show board behind him of potential premises and asked judge Howie Mandel to pick a topic, any topic. For the finals, he “was literally rolling the dice with his act.” Same deal, except with a dice trick replacing the judges as the premise-picking device. Roll the clip!

For the first time, America’s Got Talent presented a finals without a singer still in the mix. Perhaps because they’re all vying for TV time this month already on The Voice, The X Factor and standing in lines for auditions of another season of American Idol?

Congratulations to Cotter for making it as far as he did in primetime network TV this summer, as well as to stand-up Jacob Williams for reaching the semifinals. Best performance ever for stand-up comedians on AGT, unless, of course, you count past AGT winner and musical ventriloquist act Terry Fator as a stand-up comedian. Do you? That’s a debate for another time and place.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Burbank, the producers of Last Comic Standing wonder if this means they should bring the ol’ band of comedy scouts and wannabe stand-up comedian stars together for another summer.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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