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Who Says Comics Can't Be Rich?


Joining Judy at her NYC workshop is Dan Nainan!

Former student and comic Dan Nainan was on the cover of Parade magazine, “WhatPeople Earn: Parade’s 2013 Salary Report.”
“A former Intel engineer, Nainan took a comedy class to overcome stage fright and now makes $328,000 a year,” says the headline.
Dan lives in NYC and performs comedy all over the world, even performing for President Obama!
Recently, we did a corporate gig together, and I asked Dan what he considers to be at the root of his success.

He said, “Two words… ‘Working Clean.’”

As he honed his material in comedy clubs, Dan didn’t fall prey to doing jokes that would offend Grandma’s ears.  He knew then what he practices now: that a comic can get more gigs if he or she works clean.

Dan quickly realized that if a comedian works "blue" (dirty), he or she would be confined to low-paying gigs in comedy clubs.  Even established comedians who have been seen multiple times on David Letterman and Jay Leno only make $25 on weeknights and $75 on weekends performing in clubs.

In contrast, Dan has earned as much as $15,000 in an evening performing at colleges, corporate events, charity galas, private functions, or on cruise ships.  Developing a fully clean act can be difficult -- but the rewards are definitely worth it.

Dan also picked a topic that EVERYONE can relate to – family. Dan focused his material around his family complications, a relatable topic for any audience.  Dan knows that by doing comedy about his unique background, it makes it much less likely anyone will try to steal his material.  (His mother is Indian and his father is Japanese, and that international background has helped him connect with audiences overseas.)

Many (starving) comedians frown upon ethnic material, but Dan has found his niche – in addition to 300 million Americans, his audience includes over 1 billion Indians scattered around the world.

He found his big break when he opened for Robert Schimmel, then for Russell Peters, (who earns $10M a year according to Forbes Magazine). Riding Russell Peters's coattails, he was introduced to the international comedy market and has become a headliner of his own, performing in 47 US states, as well as over 20 countries. You can check out Dan’s act at http://www.comediandan.com.

If you’d like to see more of Dan, and his story, he’ll be joining me at my New York City workshop on Sunday, March 17th to answer questions on how to make a living as a comic and a speaker.

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Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.