Drew Carey to headline; Tom Cotter to preform at 2013 Festival12-01-2012 08:00 am
Comedian Drew Carey has agreed to serve as the headliner for the 2013 Viaero Great American Comedy Festival in Norfolk next June.
Eddie Brill, the festival’s artistic director and warm-up comic for David Letterman, said Carey is excited to be part of a festival that was created to honor the legacy of the late Johnny Carson.
It was in November 1991 when Carey made his debut on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” an appearance that paved his way for stardom as a comedian and actor.
Brill said, “I am so thrilled that Drew Carey will be headlining our gala this year. He is an incredible comedian and performer and at the same time so very down-to-earth. Whenever he comes to visit the Letterman show . . . he comes early and stays late to make sure that he signs everyone's autograph with the crowds outside the theater. I'm excited for Drew as well because I know how much Johnny Carson meant to him and his career.”
Carey will serve as the host and headliner at the festival’s gala finale on Saturday, June 15, at the Johnny Carson Theatre.
The announcement of Carey’s appearance in Norfolk came Friday night at the comedy performance of Sinbad and festival alum Pete Lee at the Divots DeVent Center — a show co-sponsored by Divots and the comedy festival.
“Having Drew Carey be part of the Great American Comedy Festival will be a thrill for all of us,” said Lori Williams, the festival’s executive director. “It’s an indication of the festival’s commitment to keep growing in stature and fun.”
Brill also announced that Tom Cotter — who was the runner-up this year on the “America’s Got Talent” television show — will be part of the 2013 festival, too.
Cotter, who performed at the 2009 comedy festival in Norfolk, will be making a return trip to Norfolk to entertain as part of the Thursday and Friday evening performances of the festival set for June 13 and 14.
In addition to many other television appearances, Cotter made an even bigger name for himself on this season of NBC’s “America's Got Talent” – ultimately finishing as the runner-up in the national talent competition.
Carey’s appearance as the festival’s headliner continues an impressive list of names who have served in the role since the festival began in 2008 — Robert Klein, David Brenner, Larry Miller, Louie Anderson and Paula Poundstone.
Carey — who was born May 23, 1958, in Cleveland — is known not only as a stand-up comedian, but also as an actor, game show host and sports executive.
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years and making a name for himself in stand-up comedy, Carey gained popularity starring on his own sitcom, “The Drew Carey Show,” and serving as host of the U.S. version of the improv comedy show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, both of which aired on ABC.
He has hosted the television game show “The Price Is Right” since 2007.
He is interested in a variety of sports, has worked as a photographer at U.S. National Team soccer games, is a minority owner of the Major League Soccer team Seattle Sounders FC and a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.
In 1985, he began his comedy career by following up on a suggestion by a disc jockey friend in Cleveland. The following year, after winning an open-microphone contest, he became master of ceremonies at the Cleveland Comedy Club. He performed at multiple comedy clubs over the next few years in both Cleveland and Los Angeles.
He was first brought to the national eye as a comedian when he competed in the 1988 “Star Search” television show. But it was his 1991 appearance on “The Tonight Show” that catapulted his career. His performance that night impressed Carson, who invited Carey to the couch next to his desk; which was considered a rare honor for any comedian.
Later that same year, Carey joined the 14th annual Young Comedians Special on HBO and made his first appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman.”