July 17, 2013 10:57 pm

Canadian comic John Wing advances on ‘America’s Got Talent’

John WIng performs on 'America's Got Talent' in July.

Freemantle Media / NBC

TORONTO – A veteran Canadian comedian has been chosen to compete on this season of America’s Got Talent.

On Wednesday’s episode, a panel of celebrity judges – including Canadian comic Howie Mandel – put John Wing through to the next round.

“I grew up in a small town where it wasn’t really feasible to imagine yourself being a comedian,” the 53-year-old Sarnia, Ont. native had told AGT viewers.

Wing did not mention that he has had a long and successful comedy career.

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He started cracking jokes in front of an audience in Toronto in 1980 and soon found himself performing on stages all over the U.S. and Canada.

As Wing’s career took flight, he was featured on dozens of TV shows – including several appearances on The Tonight Show – and he became a fixture on various CBC Radio programs.

Wing, a regular performer at Montreal’s renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival, has also written a memoir and several books of poetry.

On Tuesday’s performance episode, taped in Las Vegas, Wing revealed he is a recovering drug addict.

“I had to get off drugs,” he said. “I stopped being funny for a year or two and had to come back and find out why I was funny.”

After putting him through to AGT‘s next round, Mandel said: “I’m so proud of you.”

Wing will have an opportunity to impress the judges again – and earn the votes of viewers – during an AGT live show broadcast from Radio City Music Hall in New York.

A stand-up comic has never won AGT. Last season, comedian Tom Cotter finished second to a dog act.

Wing isn’t the first Canadian to compete on AGT. In Season 5, Burnaby, B.C.-born magician Murray Sawchuck made it as far as the semi-finals.

© Shaw Media, 2013

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