Carrot Top burst onto the comedy scene in the early 1990s, taking the concept of prop comedy to stratospheric new heights. According to his official bio, the crimson-haired comic (born Scott Thompson) made a big impression when he made his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1992, and has remained a major draw with audiences ever since.
After years of touring the world, Carrot Top settled into his own Las Vegas residency, becoming one of the Strip’s most successful performers. Over the decades, his act has become increasingly elaborate. “When I started touring at the beginning of my career, I had two trunks and a strobe light,” Carrot Top explained. “Things got pretty crazy pretty fast, and before I knew it, I had a team touring the country in an 18-wheeler with 35 trunks full of props.” That, he said in a 1995 interview with the Los Angeles Times, is the result of a philosophy that envisioned comedy as a spectacle: “When I was younger I always thought, ‘If I were ever a comedian I’d make it like a rock concert.’ I wanted to generate that type of enthusiasm and excitement.”
So, what has this comedian been up to lately? Let’s find out whatever happened to Carrot Top.
His film career fizzled after his first movie
A 1995 Los Angeles Times profile noted that Carrot Top was preparing to star in his first movie, with “hopes to parlay his popularity into a fruitful film career.” The resulting film — 1998’s Chairman of the Board — proved to be a critical and commercial failure that scored a woeful 13 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with box office returns of just $181,233.
As bad as the box office was, the reviews were worse. For example, a critic writing for the Los Angeles Times described Chairman of the Board as “a shambles,” adding, “If Carrot Top is indeed destined for celluloid stardom, look for a lot of film critics’ and movie projectionists’ jobs to open up in the coming years.” Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s Michael J. Nelson, writing for Cracked, included Chairman of the Board on his list of “The 5 Worst Comedies of All Time.”
Even Carrot Top himself couldn’t muster up much enthusiasm for his own big screen debut. “It’s a cute little movie,” he told the A.V. Club in 1997. “I’m sure it’s no Academy Award-winning movie; it’s not even a Jim Carrey movie. I think it’s basically just a movie.”
Carrot Top has learned to ignore the haters
Carrot Top’s popularity was something of a double-edged sword in his early days of success. While his fan base grew, so too did his detractors, particularly among fellow comedians. As his 1995 Los Angeles Times profile pointed out, comics such as the late Bill Hicks and Saturday Night Live alum Dennis Miller mocked him, while Dom Irrera said, “I don’t consider him a stand-up. I consider him a clown.”
Two decades later, in an interview with Esquire, Carrot Top admitted he used to be stung by comments like that, but over time he’s learned to slough them off. “I can be out in a restaurant and I can see people talking s**t, nasty, and it really used to bother me. Now I kind of soak it in. I’ve learned that a lot of times I think they’re saying horrible things and they’re not,” he explained.
Carrot Top also reminds himself of the comedians who have professed to enjoy his act. “When people make fun of me, I used to always say, you know what, George Carlin f**king liked me. And Jay Leno likes me. And Bill Maher likes me,” he said. “I always had that in the back of my head.”
The comic got totally jacked, but denied claims of steroid use
During the early part of the 2000s, Carrot Top became interested in bodybuilding. He pursued his hobby with gusto, eventually looking more like a red-headed Mr. Universe contestant than the prop comic of old.
Given his massive musculature, there were whispers of steroid use. Confronted with the rumors during a 2014 interview with Penn & Teller’s Penn Jillette, Carrot Top insisted he was steroid-free. “I just worked out like a crazy man,” he told Jillette of how he managed to become so big. “… I also did all the supplements, all the creatines, glutamines, all that stuff,” the comedian added. “I did everything but steroids. I did stuff that you could buy at GNC, but I ate tons of it.”
As Carrot Top told Esquire in 2015, “I wasn’t as big as people made me out to be, but I was bigger than they wanted me to be, or expected me to be. That’s 35 years of working out. Maybe five years ago, I decided I’d worked out enough. I quit cold turkey. Didn’t go to the gym for maybe a year. Then I started running. That’s where I am now. I just kind of wanted a normal build.”
Carrot Top's picked up some celebrity fans
While Carrot Top may have been dissed by some of his fellow comedians, that isn’t true of all of them. Case in point: back in 2017, he shared a photo of himself on Instagram posing with Amy Schumer, who had been in the audience for one of his Vegas shows. Meanwhile, E! reported that the likes of fellow Vegas star Shania Twain, legendary comedian Jerry Lewis, and members of the country group Rascal Flatts had all caught his act.
In fact, an iconic Oscar winner is also a fan, according to an anecdote Carrot Top shared with VSiN. “I was in Aspen years ago. I was walking along after working out at gym. It was about 9 in the morning. It was misty. And there’s a guy walking across the street toward me and I think, ‘Gawd, that’s Jack Nicholson.’ Then I realized it is Jack Nicholson,” recalled the comedian, admitting he was so star-struck that he ultimately decided not to say anything. It was Nicholson, in fact, who apparently approached him, calling out, “Top! I’ve always wanted to meet you!” As Carrot Top related, Nicholson “was as down to earth and as nice as he could be.”
He's denied accusations of plastic surgery
Over the years, Carrot Top’s fans have noticed that his appearance has changed, and not just his buff bod. When rumors swirled of cosmetic surgery, however, Carrot Top consistently batted them away.
The hearsay, he said in a 2013 interview with Oprah: Where Are They Now? (via HuffPost), began when he appeared on a Comedy Central roast: “And one of the comics says, ‘Jesus, Carrot Top, when are you gonna stop with all the plastic surgery? You look like the guy from The Mask or something.'” He went on to recall his reaction: “I’m sorry that I look good. I don’t think I look anything different than I did when I started [in comedy].”
While discussing the plastic surgery rumors with Florida Today in 2015, Carrot Top conceded that “for a while I had gotten really big. I didn’t do steroids or anything, I just worked out a lot, and I never had any plastic surgery.” He added, “I can see why people would think that since I got really big for awhile, but I never had any work done. I mean, if I was going to have plastic surgery, I would look better than this!”
Why Carrot Top believes he's the Nickelback of comedy
It’s hardly a secret that Carrot Top is a polarizing figure in the comedy community, and the decades of criticism is something he’s struggled to understand. “If I was doing something that was close to [other comics] or was going to make them uncomfortable, or I’m doing their act or doing their jokes, then I could see them wanting to criticize,” he told the Tampa Bay Times in 2015. “But if you’re doing something in a completely different realm, I would think most people would welcome it with open arms, like, ‘Wow, this is something different and innovative and creative, a different way of doing comedy.'”
Given that his Vegas show has been running successfully since 2005, he compared himself to Canadian rockers Nickelback, another act that gets constantly slagged despite being massively popular. “You go to a Nickelback concert, and it’s packed, and they’re killing it, and you get done, and you’re like, How could people make fun of Nickelback? It’s an awesome show,” Carrot Top said. “A lot of it has to do with animosity and whatnot, which is always understandable in this business.”
Other film and TV roles included meeting his end in a Sharknado sequel
While Carrot Top’s film career may have begun and ended with Chairman of the Board, he’s still managed to make occasional guest appearances in film and television. Among these was a brief cameo in Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens, playing an Uber driver who drops off shark-fighting protagonist Finn (Ian Ziering) at his Vegas hotel. Carrot Top appears a bit later in the movie when he’s swallowed by a shark, something that he insisted be added to the script.
“I showed up on the set, and I played an Uber driver. They said, ‘That’s a wrap on Carrot Top’ — and I’m like, ‘Wait a minute! Am I not getting eaten?’ And [director Anthony Ferrante] is like, ‘Do you want to get eaten?’ And I’m like, ‘The whole reason anyone would want to be on ‘Sharknado’ is to get eaten!'” Carrot Top told Click Orlando. “So he’s like, ‘All right. Set up Carrot Top’s shark attack!’ A guy comes out with a ladder, and he climbs the ladder with a camera. He goes, ‘Action!’ and I just tumble around on the hood of a car. And he goes, ‘All right. There you go. You got eaten.'”
Carrot Top became a Las Vegas legend
Carrot Top began his residency at the Luxor in Las Vegas back in 2005; since then, he’s gone on to perform more than 200 shows a year. But as he told Click Orlando in 2020, he was initially reluctant about the Sin City. “When I first got the offer to do it, I turned it down. I was like, ‘I don’t want to be in Vegas. That’s where old guys go to die,'” the comedian explained. “Then I took the gig, and I’ve slowly turned into … I can’t imagine not doing this here.”
Speaking with Las Vegas Magazine after signing a deal that would keep him at the Luxor until 2025, Carrot Top admitted, “I definitely didn’t imagine I’d have this kind of staying power. Vegas crowds are a different kind of audience from what I was used to on the road, where people would come specifically to see me.” He added, “Starting in Vegas, I was the sideshow in a sense. If you couldn’t get into Cirque [du Soleil], maybe you’d go see Carrot Top. And then I slowly became more comfortable with how to work a Vegas audience, which is people from all over the country and all over the world, really. It’s taken years to get it down.”
His house in Vegas shares a surprising connection to Celine Dion
As a resident of Las Vegas, Carrot Top owns a home there — and it shares a connection with another performer who’s long been associated with Sin City: Céline Dion. According to a 2015 profile in Esquire, Carrot Top’s house was constructed “by the same builder who built Céline Dion’s palatial desert estate,” with the outlet adding that “in fact, materials left over from the larger job, including pilfered floor tile and the kitchen’s rustic beams” made it into the comedian’s home.
According to Celebrity Detective, Carrot Top reportedly purchased the place back in 2006, paying a hefty $1.9 million. The home apparently boasts more than 4,300 square feet of living space in which he can putter around, including a spacious swimming pool, three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and more.
Interestingly enough, when the French-Canadian chanteuse temporarily ended her Las Vegas residency in August 2014, she became the punchline for a Carrot Top zinger on social media. “Well I guess Celine Dion is now Celine dioff!” he tweeted.
Prop comedy has made Carrot Top shockingly wealthy
While estimates of Carrot Top’s wealth have varied (List25 pegged his net worth at $75 million, while Celebrity Net Worth offered an estimate of $70 million), there’s no denying that Carrot Top has made a lot of money since he first took to the stage of the Luxor in 2005.
In fact, hunkering down in Vegas is the primary reason why Carrot Top is so rich. According to a 2012 piece in The New York Times that compared the salaries of different comedians, comics on the lower rungs of the comedy ladder can spend a year or more building up an act that could eventually earn them a Comedy Central special — for which they’re paid $15,000. For Carrot Top, performing six nights a week at the Luxor has proven to be a far more lucrative proposition.
In 2020, the Luxor announced that it had renewed Carrot Top’s deal and extended his run for five more years. While the amount he was being paid wasn’t made public, it’s easy to assume that by the time 2025 rolls around, Carrot Top’s net worth will be even higher.
One of his comedy props was ripped off and sold as an actual product
Carrot Top spends a lot of time coming up with his wacky stage props, which often serve as visual punchlines when he performs onstage. One of these props, however, actually found life outside his act.
“One [idea] that someone stole and actually took the idea from me,” he claimed in a 2020 interview with the Chicago Tribune. This purloined prop came from a routine about toilet paper, with Carrot Top noting how some people’s preferences vary between the tissue rolling under or over. He added, “I know they saw it; I did it on TV a thousand times. Someone saw it and made it into an actual product.”
Carrot Top went on to explain, “So I made this thing on the wall where when you put your toilet paper in there, it would flip. You flip it, it would go under and if you flip it, it would go over. Everyone in the crowd would always laugh and say ‘that’s really cool,’ more of an invention kind of thing. That one I was pretty proud of until someone ripped me off and is making billions of dollars off it now.”
The pandemic took him offstage, and changed his show when he resumed performing
Live performances came grinding to a halt throughout America in March 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Carrot Top’s Las Vegas stage show was not immune, and he found himself benched — just months after signing on for five more years at the Luxor. “It’s been the toughest thing to deal with in my career,” he admitted in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I’ve been through a lot of adversity, but I’ve been able to work. I need to get back onstage.”
After nearly a year of being offstage, he resumed performing in February 2021. There were, however, some big changes in order to maintain the reopening restrictions put in place by the governor of Nevada. Instead of performing at his usual 350-seat venue, the Atrium Showroom, Carrot Top moved his act to the larger Luxor Theater, with a capacity of 1,500. Due to those social-distancing restrictions, however, he would only be playing to an audience of 100.
“We’re giving it a shot,” Carrot Top said at the time. “We’ve got to start somewhere. I miss doing the only thing I know how to do.”
How Carrot Top has spent his time in quarantine
Shortly after Americans were sent huddling in their homes when the COVID-19 pandemic entered the country in March 2020, Carrot Top gave fans a video tour of his home in Florida, and shared how he’d been spending his time in quarantine. “Why not do something constructive, man? Grow a beard, that’s what I’m doing,” he said. But quarantining alone wasn’t a problem, as Carrot Top went on to joke, “I don’t have any friends, so that’s been the easiest part.”
He’d also been doing some reading, claiming he “know[s] more about Elton John than he does” after reading the rock icon’s autobiography three times. Meanwhile, like many others, Carrot Top also watched a little Tiger King. “I feel like Mother Teresa,” he quipped of the docuseries. “You watch that, you’re like, ‘I’m a good person.'”
Go-to entertainment aside, Carrot Top also revealed that he came up with his own signature quarantine cocktail, which is made from gin, some Sprite soda, lemon, strawberries, blueberries, and a pack of hot dogs (okay, so he was kidding about that last ingredient). To make the Carrot Top cocktail, he explained, put all those ingredients in a blender — or, y’know, just relax and crack open a beer, as the comic himself did in the funny clip.
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