Jon Stewart once said that the key to being a good comedian is being able to make strangers laugh. Comic Gary Vider discovered this as a teenager. “I went to three different high schools,” he explains. “Other people were funny too, but I felt I could be funny in different environments. I could make people who didn’t know me laugh.” Though he majored in English in college, no career apart from comedy appealed to him. “My number-one fear was I’d die and the only thing I did was the job I hated.” Vider has appeared on Conan O’Brien’s show, and had a very successful run on America’s Got Talent, where he made it to the finals. “The hardest part about that show,” he says of the latter, “is you’re doing comedy and the person before you is doing magic or breakdancing or playing the violin or some crap like that. Then the audience is suddenly hearing standup comedy. You go zero to 60, and hopefully the crowd picks up. You have to be funny instantly.” In his full set, however, he gets to stretch his legs and talk in detail about being married and weird situations he’s found himself in.