John Garrett went from being a CPA to touring the country as a standup comic, but he still regularly entertains audiences with jokes about accounting and taxes.
"I read last year Willie Nelson wrote a song called 'Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?' as his little protest against the war in Iraq," he said in one routine. "My immediate thought was, why does Willie care? It's not like it's his tax dollars are being put to use. Seriously, I think the U.S. government should write a song called, 'Whatever Happened to Willie's 1040s?'"
After he graduated from college, Garrett worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers for several years. While in training in Los Angeles, he visited several comedy clubs, including the Improv. "I saw some comics who were pretty funny and some who weren't, so I went to an open mike, and it became a creative outlet for me," he told WebCPA. "It became a hobby that was fun to do. Being the funniest accountant is like having the fastest minivan."
He has been working as a full-time comic since May 10, 2005. He now performs at comedy shows, as well as corporate events for both companies and accounting firms.
"Those are my people," he said. "My act is all clean so I can take it anywhere. It's a lot of fun doing the corporate shows because I can talk to people in the corporate world and give them a glimmer of hope, and it reminds me not to go back."
He sometimes misses the stable paycheck and health benefits, but he likes being able to work for himself. Garrett regularly appears as a guest on the "Bob & Tom Show" on morning radio. Selections from his 2007 CD, "Outside the Box" also get played on XM and Sirius Satellite Radio.
Audience members at his live shows occasionally recognize some of his punchlines from the radio. "It's weird that people listen to my jokes on their way to work," he said. "Everybody needs a laugh."
Later this month, Garrett will be playing the Funny Business comedy club in Stevens Point, Wis.; Goonie's Comedy Club in Rochester, Minn.; and Zanies Comedy Club in St. Charles, Ill. The full schedule is on his Web site, www.JohnGcomedy.com.
"I still like doing comedy clubs," he said. "That's where you're really funny. At corporate shows, people are nervous to laugh. If their annual review is next week, they might think laughing at a certain joke might mean a percentage off their raise."
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