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After Simon Cowell Buzzed Her Set, America's Got Talent Comedian Lace Larrabee Has A Message For Critics

The first night of America’s Got Talent qualifiers for Season 17 brought out some of the best of the best, ranging from acts like Avery Dixon in his return after his golden buzzer win to country singer Drake Milligan (who shared why he decided to come back) to stand-up comic Lace Larrabee. She made an impression in her audition and clearly had enough support from the judges that she wasn’t one of the wildcards, but her act on August 9 was interrupted three minutes in when judge Simon Cowell hit his buzzer and gave her a red X. Following her performance, Larrabee shared her thoughts on what he did and her message for critics.

Simon Cowell buzzing Lace Larrabee was so sudden that Heidi Klum looked like she jumped in her seat, the crowd seemed confused, and the stand-up was clearly shocked. The crowd was on her side and booed Cowell for giving the red X. Cowell was booed again afterwards when he said that he did it to “help” her, because to him “it was going downhill” and it “felt really almost rehearsed rather than spontaneous.” Speaking with press (including CinemaBlend) after her performance, she shared exactly what she thought of what Cowell did and said: 

I thought it was incredibly unfair. I thought it just was misinformed based on what comedy is all about. So for him to use the comment 'I'm trying to help her' – you're literally doing the opposite. Because stand-up comedy and the science behind humor is to build up towards a punchline and towards a callback maybe. For him to interrupt me while I'm working on the build up is just poor conduct for an audience member, so I didn't appreciate it. Didn't appreciate his comments. I thought, you know, if you don't enjoy it, you don't have to laugh. That's the best thing about stand-up comedy. It's subjective. If you don't like it, just don't laugh. But he in the middle of my set just stopped looking at me, which... not cool.

To her credit, Lace Larrabee never lost her composure and continued with her set even after what has to be the most difficult kind of interruption that a contestant can face on America’s Got Talent. Luckily, the crowd kept laughing after the shock of Simon Cowell’s buzzer, and she finished as strongly as she began despite what she described as Cowell’s “incredibly unfair” move. 

This isn’t the first time that she has faced some critics to her comedy, as she shared in the video package that aired before her set. A former pageant contestant who used comedy as her talent in the shows (and now cites Joan Rivers as an inspiration and idol), she revealed that others would ask her why she didn’t “pick a real talent” to perform. 

Considering that she made it all the way to the qualifiers of an especially competitive season of America’s Got Talent, it’s safe to say that she definitely found her talent in comedy. I asked Larrabee what she would say to her critics now, and she shared:

I think they all know the answer to that now. I always picked comedy pieces, and I wasn't necessarily doing stand-up at the time. I was doing other people's words, but I think they know now that that was my passion and they saw me take that and turn it into a career and get to do something amazing like America's Got Talent, and share my passion and my career with the world. Which I don't think a lot of the baton twirlers that I was up against in pageants are able to say they do that for a living now. So I think I won.

There are certainly no baton twirlers in the running for $1 million and a Las Vegas stage show in America’s Got Talent, and I would say that she has a lot to be proud of no matter where her journey takes her next. If you missed Lace Larrabee delivering laughs before and after the interruption (or just want to enjoy a rewatch), take a look at her qualifiers performance:

America’s Got Talent is wasting no time in cutting down the number of competitors as the finale approaches. Unlike previous seasons, acts only have one shot after the auditions to try and impress voters enough to be advanced, and only two acts out of the eleven that perform in each episode will have their shot at the top prize. 

The first night of qualifiers was pretty unpredictable, and not just because of Simon Cowell’s unexpected X during Larrabee’s set. Who really guessed that Ben Lapidus would turn “The Parmesan Cheese Song” into a metal song to bring the house down? 

Keep tuning in to NBC on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of America’s Got Talent qualifiers and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET for the results. You can catch up on any episodes you might have missed with a Peacock subscription, and find more viewing options with our 2022 TV premiere schedule 

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.