Comedian Drew Lynch dazzles at LaughFest
“If there’s one thing that slays a dragon, it’s a stern talking-to,” said comedian Drew Lynch, pointing a finger toward the cackling audience before breaking into a sheepish smile himself.
The 26-year-old comedian visited Grand Rapids on Tuesday, March 13, to deliver a free stand-up performance hosted by LaughFest and Grand Valley State University's Spotlight Productions. Lynch had the crowd of more than 100 people laughing from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m.
Lynch grew up acting, and after high school, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue film. While on a softball team, he sustained an injury to his throat that left him with a severe stutter.
“The long and short of it is that when the people who represented me decided they didn’t want to represent me anymore because of my speech, I started to do comedy to re-establish an outlet I could have to make me feel something again," he said.
Lynch’s comedy took him to America’s Got Talent (season 10), where he finished in second place. His time on the show garnered him many new fans, and he now has a YouTube channel with upwards of 1.3 million subscribers.
“I’ve been following Drew since his America’s Got Talent audition and have been an avid follower ever since," said Capriana Calvachi, a GVSU freshman who attended the Tuesday event. "I watch his dog vlogs on a daily basis."
Lynch views performing in front of a crowd as a way to express himself.
“In the day to day of our lives, when I’m talking to somebody, I never feel like I get to say what I actually want to say,” he said. “On stage, it’s all you. You take sole responsibility and credit for what happens on stage. If something does go well, that’s due to your work. If it doesn’t, you’re also responsible. It’s a very independent art form.”
Lynch’s dedication to his comedy is clear to those who watch him perform.
“I love his quirky style of comedy and how real he is with his audience," Calvachi said. "He may not be loud, but his control of the room is fantastic."
Lynch's story can also be inspiring to those who attend his shows and follow his work.
“The fact that he has been able to accomplish so much in the stand-up world despite his severe stutter affirms my belief that anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it,” Calvachi said.
Despite his talent, Lynch faced adversity when he tried to break into comedy.
“I was highly influenced by other people’s opinions and what they saw," he said. "There are lots of people that have a lot of doubts about what you can do, and that always has more to do with what they can’t do. I had a lot of people say, ‘You can’t do it.’ I never found a greater motivator than someone saying I can’t do something because I’m too stubborn to let them be right about that.”
Lynch encourages young creators to ignore doubts and take action.
“I would just try to implore anybody who is trying to do anything to just do something before they think about it," Lynch said. "If you think about it for too long, you’re gonna talk yourself out of doing it. Many times, I’ve created projects, shows, jokes and routines where I somehow tricked my body into doing it before my mind told me I couldn’t.”