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The Improv welcomes Cotter to Tahoe

Wednesday October 26, 2011 – By Howie Nave Tahoe Daily Tribune Just like last week, Harveys' Improv has a debut appearance. I've been waiting for Tom Cotter to get up here and still can't believe it's taken more than 10 years to get him to play our little room.

Cotter headlines at The Improv each night through Sunday, Oct. 30. Doug Starks opens and I am the host.

I first heard of Tom while out at the Boston Comedy Festival, where he won top prize for best comedian. He also had just taped a Comedy Central special, so yeah, I've been hoping to get him to Tahoe.

There's something about East Coast comics that have an extra edge about them, and that's Cotter.

The youngest of six children, Tom had to find a way to be a stand out and comedy was the best attention-getter, and it came naturally.

“I needed the spotlight on me because that was the only way I could get attention,” he said.

After graduating Dennison University in 1986, Tom entertained the notion of going to law school but deep down he knew his true love was comedy. He packed his bags two years later and headed to Boston and before long was becoming a regular on Boston comedy club circuit.

Fueled by his success in the Boston area, Tom in 1994 entered Seattle's International Stand-Up Comedy Competition. With critics raving about his performance, he went on to win by the largest margin in the history of the competition.

When it rains it pours, and shortly after winning that competition Tom was offered the headlining spot for the Reebok Campus America Tour. His connection with the audience made him a mega hit at colleges all over the country.

He's also a hit on television, appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn,” “New Joke City with host Robert Klein,” “The Ru Paul Show,” A&E's “An Evening at the Improv,” and the aforementioned Comedy Central special.

Tom's obvious enthusiasm for this kind of work has made him a popular choice for advertisers. His voice has become a familiar staple in commercial voice-overs for many high-profile clients as well including NBC, MTV, Pepsi, McDonald's, Chevrolet and Converse. Tom has also worked in film, theater and television productions appearing “Unsolved Mysteries” and on the big screen in “Next Stop Wonderland” yet still maintain a busy club and theater schedule across the country.

“If laughter is the best medicine,” he said, “I yearn to be drugged.”