The Other Comedy Story (So Far)

The Other Comedy Story (So Far)

I kind of love that I got fired on Star Wars Day. Every May the 4th, I get to celebrate the anniversary of my small business because I started this adventure literally one minute after being canned

I'm not going to wait until May 4th to write this post because I've committed to writing posts & essays leading up to the anniversary around storytelling, philosophy, strategy and comedy. This is more of an update for those interested in seeing where we're at with the build. 

In terms of traditional success metrics, we're on track, made a modest profit, but more importantly, have a clearer vision of future. For a mission-driven operation like The Other Comedy Company it's important that we're always facing our North Star, our mission, which for us is simple: "To make the learner the star of the show." 

The clearest gap in education is learner-focused versatility.

Most educational institutions are hard-wired into one-size-fits-all curriculums and L&D programs. Technology has advanced towards MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) which has provided an added layer of learner-accessibility that wasn't attainable in the analog world.

Technological reliance is a double-edged sword. On the one side, you have a clear path towards accelerated learning through digital engagement and gamification. On the other side, you're replacing the learning development relationship between humans with computers. If the electrical grid goes out today and we're back to sticks and stones — are we equipped to teach the necessary skills for surviving and thriving in ever-changing conditions? 

This is where play-based education serves as an alternative that's aligned with our nature. Humans are social creatures living in a social world. Here's our hypothesis: Outdated curriculums & learning programs don't prepare learners for the real world where play-based education is adaptive and connects learners directly to the skills they will need on a daily basis. 

The factory-farm approach to education where everyone learns the same thing, at the same pace, is structured for educational organizations and the funding needs of those organizations, not the intrinsic needs of the learner. 

As school systems adopt IEPs (Individual Educational Plans) for learners "behind the curve" — it's our argument that individual learning starts Day 1 — not when the learner is already in a state of discouragement and lowered self-esteem. Every single learner is unique with their own set of circumstances and home environments that impact how they learn and how quickly they learn. 

This is where laughter-based learning aims to build bridges that connect learners to their learning style so they can self-accelerate their own learning by taking personal responsibility for their educational growth. Simplified, laughter-based learning is play-based learning with a comedy-based foundation. 

The core pillars of Laughter Based Learning:

  • Maximized engagement in the learning process in a safe environment to be unsafe in 
  • Intentional feedback loops built directly into the learning process to trigger the fight-or-flight response native to our parasympathetic nervous system
  • Optimal learning occurs just outside the learner's current level of competence deeming discomfort a necessary tool for individual growth 
  • Early prevention is more effective than down-the-road intervention and social/emotional skillsets play a foundational role in being a contributing member to society 

Knowing who we are and who we serve was the first hurdle of developing this business. Of course, there have been other challenges being a boot-strapped startup but the mission itself is bigger than any challenge that comes our way. 

If we're able to develop better educational systems and learning methods we can prevent/decrease some of the most detrimental outcomes like drug addiction, suicide, poverty and emotional disregulation. A stable, preventive society is better for our children and benefits them even more as adults. That's the hill we're dying on. 

So what's our story so far? 

We've managed to hit some milestones along the way but there's still a long way to go to develop the programs and the business to where it needs to be to be an effective tool for learners and organizations. 

Within the first 21 months of the build we've managed to: 

  • Build a versatile and in-depth corporate training program over the course of 10 months 
  • Build accessible learning programs for children, youth and seniors over the course of 6 months and are currently seeking partners for our pilot programs 
  • Earn 23k in gross profit within the first 20 months affording us to reinvest in the time and tools necessary for program development 
  • Receive feedback from our first batch of clients that informed the direction from being a corporate-only product to a more widely accessible service 
  • Empower comedy professionals to earn off-stage income to reinvest in their on-stage careers 
  • Develop a corporate demo and are currently working on demos for our other programs 
  • Develop a 1:1 coaching program for individuals who don't feel ready to learn within a group setting 
  • Become iron-clad in our mission to make the learner the star of the show 

Now of course, there's much more to the story.

On an personal level, I have had to diversify my offerings as a freelancer to "keep the lights on" by performing standup comedy, touring with my friend Dylan Gott, warming up wrestling shows, producing a comedy festival on a goat farm (Jokes & Goats at Haute Goat), MCing weddings, taking on virtual assistant positions for business development and even washing dishes at my local pub.

It's been an incredible adventure and the challenge of a lifetime. I've been able to spend a significant amount of time with my son as he has his own specific learning needs and have faced relationships challenges that forced me to grow as a person and embrace discomfort at scale. 

The amount of comedians who have reached out to encourage me in this venture and express their faith in my audacity has been humbling and I appreciate the encouragement. 

This has been the biggest risk I've ever taken. 

I've been misconstrued and criticized but not as much as I've been encouraged and supported by my friends, family and professional network. 

One day I'll share all the nitty-gritty in a video for all your storytelling pleasure and delights but for now, you'll just have to take my word that I'm fully living a life worth commenting on and enjoying the ride. 

I have to get back to work but want to throw this out there for anyone who took the time to read this post. If there's something specific you want me to write about, specific research you would be more interested in me sharing, questions you have about personal or professional development, or ideas for collaboration: please don't hesitate to just reach out. My email is (that's .co not .com) and I will reply as soon as I can. 

We're building for the long-term at The Other Comedy Company and if you resonate with the mission, please connect, the discussion and feedback is pertinent to the growth of this crazy adventure. 

Keep learning, keep laughing and as always... may the force be with you! 

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