The University Center filled with laughter as former “America’s Got Talent” finalist Drew Lynch hosted the Student Activities Board (SAB) Spring Comedy Show on Feb. 8 in the Main Lounge.
Lynch, who is known for his severe stutter, discussed personal accounts of situations he encountered and his feelings toward them. His stutter developed after he suffered a severe sports injury when he was 20 years old.
Following an opening act by comedian Kevin Garcia, Lynch started the show by explaining why he has to mention his stutter.
“If I don’t mention it, people will look at me like, ‘Does he know he stutters?’ or ‘Is he still cold?’” Lynch said. He said that people also like to tell him that he stutters and that some people have told him that he is probably faking the stutter.
In an exclusive interview with The Setonian, Lynch explained his injury and the effect that it has had on his life and career.
Lynch said that before the injury, he was an actor performing night shows at a comedy club in Los Angeles.
He was playing softball with his comedy club team when a player accidentally batted a “grounder” in his direction, striking his throat and causing him to fall on the back of his head. Lynch said that he suffered a minor vocal contusion and a major concussion that day, but his condition worsened after he went home and slept with the concussion. When Lynch woke up, he could not remember anything and his motor skills deteriorated.
After the incident, Lynch said that he needed to prove to others that he could still be a comedian, as he faced the problem of agents not wanting to represent him anymore.
“It brought out this weird insecurity from me,” he said. “It also matured me quite a bit because I had to face, for once in my life, myself, and I had to face a way to combat feeling alone and feeling like I was different.”
Lynch auditioned to be a contestant on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” but he didn’t make it. He auditioned again a year later and this time got selected. He finished the show’s 10th season in second place overall.
“It just happened to be the best platform for me to tell my jokes while they told my story,” Lynch said. “It was the best way of being introduced to an audience.”
Lynch said that his recovery is “still a long journey.” Now 26, he attends events across the country and runs his own YouTube channel where he posts a series of videos, called “DogVlogs,” about his service dog, Stella, as well as an animated video series, called “Therapy Dog.”
During the show, Lynch explained that Stella was given to him by the government because of the nerve damage in his vocal folds that could lead to a possible respiratory attack.
Lynch also said that once a woman came up to him and told him that her name was Gretchen. He responded saying that he stutters, adding that he thought the two were “sharing their problems.” He went on to joke how he would rather have a stutter than Gretchen for a name. However, Lynch did not realize that Gretchen Zink, a freshman accounting major, was in the audience until he noticed that she and her friends were laughing loudly.
“I thought it was really funny,” Zink said. “I haven’t really heard any reference to my name out of the context of Mean Girls or something like that.”
Leidy Nizama, a freshman accounting major, said that she enjoyed the show.
“This was one of my favorite SAB events,” Nizama said. “I hope that they bring in more hosts like Drew Lynch in the future.”
Liam Oakes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.