"I haven't been moved by an act like this up until this moment," judge Howie Mandel says

By Andrea Park
May 28, 2015 04:15 PM

On America’s Got Talent‘s season premiere Tuesday, comedian Drew Lynch didn’t let his stutter keep him from winning over the audience and judges, especially Howie Mandel.

Lynch, 23, started stuttering at age 20 after he was hit in the throat at a company softball game. According to his website, “This life-changing injury sparked a passion for writing and performing stand-up, bringing to life the social hardships of dealing with a newly found speech impediment.”

After a set of jokes revolving around his injury, including a particularly successful one imagining what he would be like as the voice of a navigation system, Lynch received a standing ovation from the crowd and Mandel, 59.

“I believe you can turn anything into a positive, that’s why I’m here,” Lynch said, and the judges clearly admired this optimistic attitude.

“I know you’re here to make people laugh, but I can’t tell you how emotional you make me because comedy usually comes from a dark place,” Mandel said. “I personally, in my life, have used laughter to try to gain some happiness. What you did is you looked for the light at the end of the darkness and that light is your comedy.”

He continued, “I haven’t been moved by an act like this up until this moment and, because of you and because of this moment, I want to do something very special, something I haven’t had a chance to do, and I’d like to do this.” Then he slammed the golden buzzer to send Lynch all the way through to the live shows at Radio City Music Hall.

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.

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