Entertainment & Events
Wayne Cotter joins West Coast Funnies, July 18
Wayne Cotter knew he had made it big as a comedian not when he appeared on the David Letterman Show, but when his performance was canceled. Not just one day or two days, but almost three days in a row.
Cotter had been backstage several times when Jay Leno, his friend and mentor, had performed. Finally in 1987, it was Cotter’s turn to take the stage. After a day of rehearsals on the set, however, “I got bumped off the show,” he said.
“In those days, people were nervous of Dave because he was a crazy and unpredictable guy. Barbara Walters was on, and she was really nervous,” Cotter continued, adding, “Somehow, they talked about all the things she was afraid he was going to talk about. It was so funny, and they just kept going.”
The Letterman staff was very apologetic, and promised he would get another chance in the future. Sure enough, he received a call the very next morning to appear on that day’s show. “Then I got bumped again,” he repeated.
Again, the staff apologized and reassured him he would be able to appear on the program soon. “Letterman even came and apologized that time. To tell you the truth, I was just excited to get past security,” Cotter joked.
Back at his hotel, once again, he was invited back for a third day. Even with the possibility of another cancellation – and a few on-air comments from Letterman himself – Cotter finally had his moment in the spotlight.
“Letterman was making jokes all throughout the show. ‘We to have a guy today who’s a regular on our show without ever appearing on the program.’ ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, stay tuned for Wayne Cotter – maybe.’ So by the time I walked out, I couldn’t have asked for a better set up than that,” Cotter said.
Cotter delivered one of his best performances, joking beyond his allotted five minutes and receiving more-than-usual praise for the show’s host.
“It was amazing. I can’t think of a better day than that,” he said, correcting himself with, “or a better week, really.”
Cotter soon became a favorite of the talk shows, having appeared dozens more times on the Late Show with David Letterman – without getting bumped – plus appearances on The Tonight Show, first with Johnny Carson and later with Jay Leno. With Leno, he also starred in a recurring role as a man-on-the-street roving reporter.
“I did this show in Carlsbad a few years ago,” Cotter recalled, adding he has performed at several comedy clubs throughout San Diego in his career. “They do some sketches. They do a little Weekend Update thing. Then I come up and do my thing. It’s a lot of fun.”
Cotter describes his comedic routine as, “ me talking about things that are real in the world that strike me as funny.” For example, he finds parenthood to be a great source of comedy. “Although,” he adds, “not enough to write off the expense.”
A lot of his material draws upon the fast-paced information technology business, an industry where he once worked as a full-time Electrical Engineer. He still performs frequently for such companies as Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM. “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” he says. “When I quit my day job and started doing standup and started to get attention, every interview was about how a dorky nerdy computer guy turns out to be a hip comedian. Since then, people have figured out comedians are a bunch of nerds, too.”
You can expect his inner nerd to surface at his July 18 performance. “I am always trying a bunch of new stuff. It’s an ever-evolving repertoire,” he continued, adding he’ll be trying out a couple new geeky jokes at his San Diego performance.
He tried a few out, as practice. “In two years, we’re going to have a television in our shopping carts,” he said, learning of the technological breakthrough in an industry publication. “Someone has cracked that problem, which is such a priority. Let’s not worry about getting the fourth wheel to work. It is a nice break for the homeless though. Put a toilet in the thing, and there wouldn’t be homeless any more.”
He didn’t stop there. “My Macintosh works and it can do everything, and yet my dishwasher got recalled because a switch was a fire hazard. How much do you have to screw up to make a machine that fills with water, and then bursts into flames? That’s an impressive error.”
To see more of Wayne Cotter’s impressions – and his comedy performance that has impressed David Letterman, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno and corporate executives across the globe – stop by and see him perform at the West Coast Funnies.
West Coast Funnies
Hosted by Kurt Swann, featuring Wayne Cotter, Wally Wang and the Pearl Street Players
July 18, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $15 online, $20 at the door
Performed at the Carlsbad Village Theatre, 2822 State Street (In Carlsbad)
Box Office: 619-997-3033
- Check out a video clip of Wayne’s routine, featuring several late night talk show appearances.