updated 01/16/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 01/16/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST
Top, 28, who won last year's American Comedy Award as Best Male Stand-Up, is a huge draw on college campuses, a frequent Tonight Show guest and a Vegas headliner who pulls down a total of $1 million a year. In February he begins filming the comedy Chairman of the Board, playing an amiable klutz who inherits the head post at a corporation.
Carrot Top's roots reach back to Cocoa Beach, Fla., where he was born the younger of two sons of a NASA engineer, Larry Thompson, and his wife, Donna. Though he majored in marketing at Florida Atlantic University, "I was clueless," he says, when it came time to choose a career. Then in 1987, on a dare from his college buddies at an amateur night in Boca Raton, Fla., Top tried stand-up for the first time. The career mystery was solved. Soon he was appearing on TV shows including Star Search and Comic Strip Live.
Now on the road 320 days a year, Top rarely stays in his four-bedroom house in Charlotte, N.C. Nor does he think about starting a family. "There's just no time for it right now," he says. He does make time for weight lifting, CD shopping and, of course, collecting ingredients for future props. "I've got a garage full of stuff I don't have jokes for yet, like a parking meter and a pay phone," he says. In the meantime, Top makes sure that he puts a box of baking soda in each of his prop trunks. Why? "You know," he explains, "I like to keep my act fresh."