Why Taylor Williamson is Glad He Won 2nd Place on America's Got Talent

Henry Phillips
I wanted to name my fans "lame sons of bitches" but they wouldn't let me say that on TV.
Finishing a contest in second place can sting a little. But for comedian Taylor Williamson, a former America's Got Talent contestant, the level of exposure was just as good (maybe better) as winning the damn thing. Bringing a boyish quality and a sarcastic and somewhat dry delivery, Williamson has finally hit his stride after being in the stand-up game for 10 years. With his first headlining gig at the Irvine Improv this weekend (March 13th through 16th), we chatted it up with him to learn more about the man behind the "second place win." And for the record, he quickly became number one to us.

OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): Do you think it's easier or harder to start comedy early on in life? I mean, maybe life experience helps or maybe it's better to have fresh ideas.

Taylor Williamson: I think starting out younger is worse because you have nothing to talk about but, you're crazy and stupid enough to keep preforming even though people think that you suck. You just bomb all of the time but you think you're great so you keep on doing it even though you probably shouldn't because it's not a healthy thing to do. I mean, why would you keep putting yourself in physiologically damaging scenarios? Your brain isn't fully developed though so you don't know any better! Eventually you become funny. Well, hopefully!

How long do you think it took you to really get the hang of it or are you always a work in progress?

Well I'm always growing but I'm comfortable with the jokes I've written. When people come see me do an hour at a comedy club, I'm super confident because I know a majority of the jokes work so I know how it's going to go. When I'm trying out a new joke that I've never done before, it's terrifying. It's a really scary feeling and I go right back to, what am I going to do with my life if this doesn't work? [Laughs.] If I try out a joke and it doesn't work, I feel like all of the good shows were a fluke and the jokes that didn't work are real life.

Oh come on now! I'm sure you're on the right path but, have you ever thought of a backup plan?

No! I have no other skills! [Laughs.] Last year, my career was so bad and I had no money so I was thinking, "What am I going to do with my life?" It's like I was a failure for 10 years and then after Americas Got Talent I made some money and now I'm an overnight success in 10 years.

OK you comics are so hard on yourselves! I don't even get it.

[Laughs.] Don't get me wrong I mean, I have really high self-esteem and I think I'm amazing but the problem is, other people don't always agree with me.

I hear that if someone isn't hating, you're doing it all wrong. So speaking of America's Got Talent, how cool was Howard Stern behind the scenes?

Oh he's amazing! He's so cool! Not to sound all cliché but, there were so many dreams that came true. I've been paying my bills doing comedy forever but now I actually have a real career and I'm OK. It was super cool having Howard Stern think I'm funny and be cool to me. Howie Mandel was so rad and I got to kiss Heidi Klum so that was pretty cool too! Nick Cannon was rad too and there were just so many amazing things that I got to do throughout the whole thing. Howard Stern thinking I'm funny and getting a standing ovation from him was the best thing I think.

Did Howard try to push you to adopt a cat or anything? I know he's big on that now...

[Laughs.] No. I'm actually glad he didn't because if Howard told me to adopt a cat I'd probably be like, OK Howard Stern!

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