by Ryan Meehan
Grant Cotter is a stand-up comedian, writer and television host from San Diego, CA. A staple in the LA comedy scene, Grant is a three-time winner of The Laugh Factory’s Fresh Faces competition. This year Grant will make his TV stand-up debut on BounceTV’s Off the Chain and OC Weekly named him one of the Top 5 Comics to Watch. Grant is the only comedian to perform on the Vans Warped Tour and is known for his high energy, quick wit and rapid fire delivery. His off the cuff improv ability lead him to be cast as one of the stars of MTV’s new prank show Jerks With Cameras (Thursday’s 10:30/9:30c on MTV). He currently hosts his own segment on AXStv and his stand-up can regularly be heard on LA’s KLOS ‘5 O’clock Funnies’. He’s also our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: What was the best prank that you pulled when you were a youngster and how much trouble did you get into?
GC: In High School my parents went on a cruise for a week and left me home alone. They would call everyday to check their messages – so I had my friend’s older brother call and leave a message pretending to be my Vice Principal saying I had been expelled for putting dead fish all over campus; causing the school to smell like a fishing boat. My parents heard this message and flipped out! They kept calling and calling and calling and I wouldn’t answer so they got off their cruise in Mexico 4 days early and flew home only to find out that it was all a bullshit prank on my end. They were so pissed. I really did put dead fish all over the school but I never got caught. OOPS I guess I just admitted it. Is there a statute of limitations on stinking up your school? Also, I didn’t kill the fish – they were already dead.
RM: At what age did you discover that you could actually turn your antics into something productive and even make a career out of it?
GC: I was always the funny kid in class, being a smart ass and talking back. I remember in Middle School going to 6th grade camp and I was in charge of reading the weather report at breakfast each morning. They gave me a microphone and an audience of 100 other 6th graders. In between talking about the barometric pressure and humidity levels I slid in a joke about our PE coach’s ugly hair (shout out to coach Dave’s hair) and the room erupted and I was king of 6th grade camp for a weekend. It was rad. After that I knew I wanted to be funny.
RM: Your act has been described as raunchy…What do you think crosses the line as far as good taste in material?
GC: That was from an old quote when I was like 19 or 20 and still figuring my comedy out. Not that I have it all figured out now- just a bit more than I did back then. Being raunchy or blue when you’re just starting out is an easy way to get laughs. You think to yourself “wow I am so provocative and edgy for saying the word “pussy fart” and people laugh because that’s a dumb word combo– but as you develop and learn about yourself and what you’re capable of– your taste in material changes. I am a comic and I laugh at some fucked up stuff- so I think nothing really crosses the line if it’s done well. Different people like different things.
RM: What are the best and worst things about being a standup comedian? How would you answer that same question substituting “on television”?
GC: The best part of being a standup comedian is waking up everyday knowing that I made a career for myself by myself doing exactly what everyone told me not to do growing up.–being a class clown, talking out of turn, not keeping my opinion to myself. It’s a great feeling.
The best part about being on TV? Being able to pay my cell phone bill.
RM: Of all the things you’ve learned studying with the Upright Citizens Brigade, what has been the most important as far as taking what you’ve learned onto the stage?
GC: The best thing I learned at UCB was to always play to the top of my intelligence and just go with the flow. Comedy is a muscle and UCB helps you flex a muscle that you don’t get doing stand up.
RM: For those who might not be familiar with it, what’s “Cracktastic” and how were you able to get guys like Adam Carolla and Kevin and Scott from Kids in the Hall to do that show?
GC: Cracktastic was a pop culture webseries where I talked shit about celebrities in the news and interviewed people I liked. I got to open for ‘Kids In The Hall’ one weekend at the Improv and Kevin and Scott were nice enough to sit down and chat with me before a show. Same with Adam Carolla, I was performing with him and asked if I could interview him.
RM: What was the whole experience of doing “Last Comic Standing” like for you? Do you think that it’s possible to get pigeonholed into being “too clean” if a comedian does too well on that show?
GC: Last Comic Standing was rad. I was maybe only a year or two into doing stand up– I probably wasn’t that funny but I totally thought I was. I slept in a tent in front of the Improv for 2 night with my friend Friendly Frank to get an audition. We waited in the rain for 3 days with 300 of some interesting, off the wall people I have ever experienced. Some were real comedians others were random people in costumes and homeless people looking to socialize. Everyone was smoking weed, drinking and telling tales of how famous they were (I was so new to comedy I didn’t realize that if they were sleeping on the ground next to me to get an audition that they probably weren’t famous). Finally after a long weekend of partying and reciting 90 seconds of my best material in my head over and over, I went in to audition. I performed for 3 people in a room full of cameras and lights. I don’t remember what I said or if they laughed I just remembered they politely said “keep doing it and come back next year”- then the show got cancelled for the 2nd time.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
GC: 2014 is rad so far! I’m on a new show on MTV called ‘Jerks With Cameras’. It’s a fast paced hidden camera show where we prank unsuspecting people on the street and compete to see who can get the best reactions out of people. I spent 3 months with some of my best friends in comedy laughing nonstop. It was literally the best time of my life thus far so– It was a dream come true. I got a little part in a movie called ‘Spare Change’ that I shot with some really funny and talented people, it was such a fun experience. I filmed a spot on a new stand up show called ‘Off The Chain’ on BounceTV that premieres on April 1st and have some new episodes of ‘Mystery Diners’ on the Food Network premiering in March. Aside from all that? Just doing a ton of stand up- You can see me at the Improv or the Laugh Factory in Hollywood every week. COME TO A SHOW!
“Elevator Jerk” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZREyvgUbiQ
Official Website: www.GrantCotter.com
Grant on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/GrantCotter
Grant on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/GrantCotter
Grant on Instagram: www.Instagram.com/GrantCotter
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