In case you missed it, America’s Got Talent has aired a few peculiar auditions with a certain comedian/animal impersonator named Sethward. And last night, he almost made it through to the next round!
But who is the man behind the human caterpillar, giraffe, and walrus? And more importantly, why? We talked to Sethward himself to find out!
Sethward Before ‘AGT’
Sethward got “bit by the performing bug” and decided to move to Los Angeles after graduating high school. He majored in Television Production in college with an emphasis in Acting. There, Sethward was active in producing and starring in a sketch comedy show, as well as an improv troupe on campus. He has been performing in improv comedy ever since!
Sethward explained that his biggest comedic influence is Jim Carrey. He also loves Buster Keaton, Andy Kaufman, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Johnny Knoxville but he said:
“Nobody comes close to Jim, the love of my life.”
America’s Got Talent wasn’t Sethward’s first time on the small screen either! Last year, he appeared on The Gong Show as a human snake. In the bit, he ate an audience member in front of the judges (and no, he didn’t get the gong!). He returned this year as a chicken and a cow.
Sethward’s First Audition on ‘AGT’
In his first audition, Simon Cowell called Sethward’s act “the worst act we’ve had.” Sethward the Caterpillar took the stage wrapped in a sleeping bag adorned with gloves for extra hands and lamps for antennae. Shortly after, he was boo’ed off the stage after receiving X’s from all four judges. He couldn’t even finish his act, transforming into a beautiful butterfly.
The caterpillar is one of Sethward’s favorite acts though. He has many characters that he portrays as part of the “Jive Joint,” a group that performs improv comedy, variety shows, and interactive art at music festivals like Coachella, EDC, and Lightning In a Bottle. (So yes, he does make a living doing this!) About this idea in particular he said:
“I always thought it was funny for something so fat and ugly to want to be beautiful so bad.”
However, the bit didn’t go as planned. According to Sethward, all the boo’ing began as soon as he fell onto the stage and was edited out. He claims:
“The crowd was so loud I couldn’t even hear myself talking. At that point, I had completely lost control.”
Then, what the audience and judges didn’t have a chance to see because the X’s ended his act prematurely, was his final transformation into the beautiful butterfly he always wanted to be.
“I had to come out too early so the transformation was not complete…it was not the bit to flash the judges.”
Sethward Returns to ‘AGT’
After failing in his first audition, Sethward knew he had to try out for America’s Got Talent again. He wasn’t ready to give up on his AGT dream! He returned to the show TWICE this season, auditioning as both a giraffe and a walrus. His walrus act finally got the respect it deserved, leading to two “yes”es from judges Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel. But when Gabrielle and Julianne said no, despite “let him through” chants from the audience, he failed to advance.
This was the first act Sethward actually had a chance to complete! And I was literally laughing out loud during it. When he jumped onto the ball and slipped right off the stage, I lost it. I definitely agreed with Simon and Howie that he should’ve had a chance to move on. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this time around.
Overall though, Sethward said he was glad that AGT took a risk and allowed him to audition.
“For producers, knowing that it is a loosely-structured, improvised act can lead to push back from fans who think they are ‘wasting airtime’ by showcasing comedic acts like mine.”
And if this is your kind of humor, you’re in luck! Sethward has a YouTube channel with more goofy videos and skits and over 30,000 subscribers.