Samuel J. Conroe isn’t nervous. The comedian’s twitching and blinking — which he coyly described as “kind of cute” during his America’s Got Talent audition — aren’t a tell of his nerves, but side-effects of his Tourette syndrome, with which he was diagnosed at age 6.
However, on Tuesday’s episode of the reality show, Conroe demonstrated how he’s turned what once made him a target of bullying into a perfect source for his authentic brand of stand-up comedy. During his crowd-rousing routine, Conroe hilariously described how his tics can get him in trouble, and he also offered up an anecdote about the time his parents sent him to Tourette’s camp.
“The kid next to me did a shoulder roll, and my Tourette’s saw that and took that as a challenge,” Conroe explained. “And I threw him a head flop. The girl next to him did a full body twitch, and everybody saw that, and all hell broke loose.”
Tourette’s camp tribulations aside, Conroe admitted in his pre-audition video that growing up consisted of many challenges, beyond the physical. “At school, I got bullied, nicknames, teased, being the one left out of things,” he said. “There was really no safe zone.”
But now as a new dad, he hopes to use his comedy not only help himself, but show his daughter how to embrace her own differences.
Conroe’s quirky humor earned four “yes” votes from the judges, sending him to the live rounds. See it below: