Campus News

UB alum goes for top prize on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Gary Vider

Gary Vider will perform in the finals of "America's Got Talent" on Sept. 15.


Published September 14, 2015

“I got #boobissippi trending on all social media, which is pretty awesome.”
Gary Vider, UB alum and finalist
"America's Got Talent"

Vote for Gary Vider!

The UB graduate isn’t entering the presidential race, but he is one of the finalists on “America’s Got Talent.”

Vider’s standup act, delivered in a straight-faced style just a few heartbeats above deadpan, has carried him from his initial appearance on the show in July to the show’s final round.

He is one the remaining 10 contestants vying for the show’s $1 million top prize, which he casually says, “I’m happy about that.”

Those 10 contestants all perform at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15, on NBC.  Voting begins after the show and continues until 7 a.m. on Wednesday, with the results announced live later that day at 8 p.m. as part of the final episode of the show’s 10th season.

Viewers can vote online when the voting opens after the show.

Vider received a BA in English from UB in 2006, but he knew he always wanted to be a standup comic.  In fact, he took an independent study on comedy writing with Andrew Stott, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education.

Stott has a background in comedy as both a standup performer and author. He’s written a book on theoretical methodologies of comedy, now in its second edition, and currently is editing a six-volume history of comedy.

Vider, meantime, followed his academic work with road work in clubs, taking jobs wherever and whenever possible, testing jokes and sharpening his act, he says.

But none of those gigs compare to the audience that has watched him move from the show’s audition broadcast in July to tomorrow night’s finals.

“AGT is one of the biggest shows on television,” he says. “The exposure I have gotten is unlike anything else on TV.”

Yet Vider makes the process sound simple.

He says it started by sending a recording of his act to the show’s producers after seeing an advertisement that contestants were being sought for the upcoming season.  A lot of paper work followed, which led to an audition in front of the program’s celebrity judges, he says.

“As each round has happened, I’ve been nervous, excited, anxious, stressed and gassy,” he says. “AGT is a high-pressure situation and for each performance you have to go in thinking it may be your last, so you have to top what you did previously.”

But Vider is just where he expected when the process began.

“My goal when I started the audition process was to make it this far,” he says. “Now I am so close to taking it all.”

Regardless of the outcome, Vider is proud of his accomplishments.

“I got #boobissippi trending on all social media, which is pretty awesome,” he says.

Watch a video of Vider’s semifinal performance that earned him a spot in the finals.