Drew Lynch is making headlines around the country after a wildly popular performance on the NBC show “America’s Got Talent.” He uneasily took the stage in front of the judges and a national audience in New Jersey last month, but quickly won over the crowd and earned a standing ovation for his performance.
Lynch, who lived in Indianapolis during his childhood years, knew from a young age he wanted to be an actor. His family moved to Las Vegas so he could attend a performing arts school. After school, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream.
Things were looking good for Lynch. He was working as a ticket taker in a comedy club and going to auditions. In 2011, he landed a callback for the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” But the day before the audition, a life-changing accident happened.
Lynch was playing softball with a team from work. A ground ball took a wayward bounce and hit him directly in the throat. He went home feeling dazed, and fell asleep.
“I woke up talking much slower,” stated Lynch, now 23. And it got worse, slowly turning into a severe stutter.
He missed the audition, and a tryout for a Disney show. When he called his agent to explain what happened, he was dropped. Doctors told Lynch the stutter was temporary, it would get better. But it didn’t. The nerves in his vocal chords had been irreparably damaged.
Friends suggested he give comedy a try, talk about his injury to help release some of his anger and emotions. Lynch had never done comedy, but decided to take the chance.
“It was kind of cool. I don’t know how good or funny the jokes were really,” he said. “It worked because the moment was emotionally raw. It felt good because I was so down about everything I had lost.”
Lynch talks about his injury in his comedy. Judge Howie Mandel commended him for his performance.
“Comedy usually comes from a dark place,” said Mandel. “What you did is you looked for the light at the end of the darkness. That light is your comedy, and I’m telling you I haven’t been moved by an act like this up until this moment.”
Mandel pressed the “Golden Buzzer” for Lynch, sending him straight to the show’s live finals at Radio City Music Hall in New York in August. Until then, he will concentrate on his daily performances and his new-found journey in life.
“I was so focused on me getting to my goal of being this successful actor,” said Lynch, who admits to being self-absorbed before his accident but feels he has a whole new perspective. “What happened to me was maybe the world’s way of saying, ‘You can still get to where you’re going but you need to understand life.’”