Crowd relates to comedian’s real-life humor

It was freezing on Saturday night as I entered Helium Comedy Club, shivering from the rain and lack of heat.

As I sat there in the intimately lit venue on Mississippi Street, decked out with black tables lined together in a close-knit manner, I wondered how this was going to pan out. Would it be funny? Or was it going to be one of those painfully awkward shows where comedians make jokes, and then the metaphorical sound of crickets fills the room?

As he stepped out on the small stage, standing in front of this colorful painting of the outside of the club in the background, Tom Cotter greeted an eager crowd, and proceeded right into a joke about our city.

“It’s freezing here,” Cotter said. “My nipples got here five minutes before I did.”

As the crowd burst into laughter, I could tell we were in for a night of sexual innuendos and crude commentary. But as the old saying goes, “sex sells,” and the audience was captivated by Cotter’s views on both female and male anatomy.

Cotter is known for his appearance on the seventh season of “America’s Got Talent.” He came in second place and lost the popular vote to the Olate Dogs. Yes, he lost to a group of performing dogs.

“I should have bought poisonous puppy treats,” Cotter said to a lively crowd.

Growing up in a household where my mother’s cats were her pride and joy, and she splurged the most ridiculous necessities on them, I could appreciate Cotter’s bit on little dogs who get pampered. I love dogs, but the big bulky kind who will sleep next to you like a body pillow. Not the ones that Cotter refers to as, “yappy,” that get “carried around in purses.”

“They shiver in August for no damn reason,” Cotter said, picking on little canine breeds like Chihuahuas, which look “cracked-out.” But according to Cotter, they make convenient pets because when they die, you can just flush them.

“If your dog wears a sweater, kill it,” Cotter said. The echoes of laughter in the small space lingered throughout the drafty building.

Cotter’s honesty makes him a good stand-up act. He interacted with the crowd throughout the night, calling out anyone he wanted. The job of a comedian may be to put it all on the line and expect awkward silence, but he reversed the roles at times and from those call outs, he developed some laughs that had the audience in an uproar.

“You two right here,” Cotter points to a couple in the front row. “What’s your story? Are you married, engaged, or happy?”

Cotter’s range of material appealed to various ages. He poked fun at everyone and the jokes aimed at my generation were something I couldn’t help but laugh uncontrollably at, like when Cotter talked about the way kids talk these days.

For instance, he once he had a student come up to him after a show and tell him how much he loved him by saying, “I feel ya, bro.”

And Cotter looked at him and said, “No, you most certainly did not, ‘feel me.’”

Or his attack on the infamous, “gangsta apparel,” referring to those guys who wear their pants practically down to their ankles and walk around with a limp.

“They always say things like, ‘I’m a gangster, I need to wear them like this,’” Cotter said.

“No, you’re an asshole who needs a belt.”

When it came time to ask if there were any college students in the room, a girl replied she went to “N-Trip,” the local term for Niagara County Community College. Cotter, a Rhode Island native who’s lived in New York City, stared at the girl.

“N-Trip?” Cotter said with hesitation. “It sounds like a disease you get in college.”

And if we’re all being honest, most of us girls own those pants with the words written across the butt. And Cotter’s honesty once again prevailed with his bit on the subject, causing quite a commotion throughout the venue.

Cotter said when males stare at pants that say things like “Hottie” on the rear for 20 minutes, the girls get all offensive and are like, “Oh, my God, like why are you staring at my ass for like 20 minutes?”

And Cotter replies in his bit, “Because I’m a slow reader.”

Overall, Cotter seemed to win over the crowd with his provocative jokes and stabs at American society. His stance on the argument to legalize marijuana was clear in his description of the crowd that night. As the night wore on, the crowd was drinking more and more, and Cotter often times would make those jokes pointing to audience members saying, “In about two hours, this guy is going to get violent and start throwing things in a rage, that’s what alcohol does.”

Cotter then went into saying in marijuana’s defense, “The only thing you attack when you’re high is a Rice Krispies treat.”


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