Clean live or virtual corporate stand-up comedian profiled in The New York Times
Video is 8:20. Watch all at once when you have time as it all ties together at the end.
“You were the most talked-about part of our group’s trip to NYC- everyone had such a wonderfully hilarious evening. We all appreciated your ability to interact with a very diverse audience, military officers and diplomats intermixed with New Yorkers and visiting tourists from all over, and still keep your material fresh, clever and relevant to everyone. People who’ve made a career out of slogging through mud while under fire aren’t going to be offended by dirty words, but they still marveled at your friendly and professional ability to rock the room without the use of foul language or vulgar content. I would recommend you to any group seeking entertainment.”
Colonel Jiyul Kim
U.S. Army War College
“It’s my job to make you forget
how much you hate your job!”sm
(if viewing on a mobile device scroll down for videos)
Stand-up comedian Shaun Eli has rightfully been called one of America’s smartest comics. Whether it’s a story about dining with a vegetarian or successfully fighting a parking ticket, master storyteller Shaun Eli shows you that there’s hilarity in the ordinary if you approach life with a comedic warp. Job interviews? Serving on a NYC criminal jury? How about the Ten Commandments? For just about anything he’s experienced Shaun has a hilarious story at the ready. Shaun has also been profiled in The New York Times.
With a sense of humor that’s both cheerful and universal Shaun has headlined shows on five continents. His jokes have been quoted everywhere from Forbes to the New York Post to Readers Digest to Healthcare Finance News. In both Reform Judaism magazine and the Christian Science Monitor, where he was the subject of the cover story. He’s been featured on CareerBuilder.com and CNN, in local papers like the Scarsdale Inquirer and the Asbury Park Press and in the college papers the Yale Daily News and the Daily Pennsylvanian. Even in The Journal of Irreproducible Results, a scientific humor magazine. Yes, there is one. And his group The Ivy League of Comedysm was the subject of a front-page story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
More than just smart, funny and clever, Shaun is determined to express his opinion passionately, not surprising for someone who wrote his first satirical essay at age ten. When profiled in Fortune magazine “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno quoted one of Shaun’s jokes, citing it as an example of the type of “smart comedy” he’s happy to include in his opening monologue. Jay and other late-night hosts used Shaun’s topical material in their monologues for almost two decades.
Outside the world of comedy Shaun was a world-class athlete in two obscure sports (rowing and dragon-boat racing), worked as a lifeguard instructor and is an instrument-rated pilot. He is also an award-winning economic forecaster who once sold his car to a hitchhiker.
Shaun is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. You can watch his videos and read some of his writings, including satirical political essays and hundreds of jokes he’s written for late-night television, on his web site BrainChampagne.com where his slogan “Brain Champagne: Clever Comedy for Smart Mindssm” rings true.
Sometimes the biggest laughs are when you talk about somewhere else
At a charity fund-raising show
“You’re wonderful! Bless you for coming! This is the first time in three months I’ve seen my wife smile.”
– The husband of a cancer patient after a show at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
(the hospital’s strict patient confidentiality policy prohibits even asking for a name)
Jay Leno said “Shaun writes the kind of smart comedy I like to use in my opening monologue.”
Putting a stupid Supreme Court
decision to good use
More comedy videos on his youtube channel, over a dozen stand-up comedy videos.
“Shaun was SUPER. Not only did he do a phenomenal job emceeing our corporate function but with his corporate background he completely understood our complicated business and what we needed from an emcee for the launch of our unique event. And after the event he took the initiative to stick around and discuss the logistics with our participants so he could make suggestions to make the event even better the next time we do it.”
(It would be odd to write this in anything but the first person) I have developed an expertise in delivering stand-up comedy virtually over the web. In my almost two decades as a comedian I’ve learned that every new medium requires different expertise for performing stand-up comedy. Using the internet demands the ability to make people laugh while sitting still and not getting the same level of feedback as with a live, in-person audience. At the same time it’s a more intimate setting since the audience’s faces are only a foot from my eyes. The intimacy is a benefit as the audience feels more connected to the comedian.
I frequently do post-show Q&A from the stage in live shows and the audiences love it- it’s like a backstage pass to a comedy show. With virtual shows it’s even more exciting. They feel so connected to the comedian that they’re more curious, more open and more thrilled to get their questions answered. And I like the Q&A, live or virtually, for a number of reasons. I learn what audiences are curious about. It gives me the opportunity to demonstrate being spontaneously funny. I have some stories that are fun and funny but not quite stand-up comedy which work great for Q&A. And it endears me to the audience- they feel like they’ve gotten to know me better and want me to come back- which of course is great for business.
Whether using Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Webex, GotoMeeting or other applications, doing shows virtually took some getting used to. It’s not just the comedian who needs to hear laughter. The audience also needs to hear other people laughing. That’s why TV sitcoms have laugh tracks. Research has shown that people are more comfortable laughing when they hear other people laugh. Comedy clubs benefit from low ceilings as the laughter echoes. With virtual shows you don’t get the same level of laughter. More importantly the time delay makes it more complicated. I learned to pause. Pause. Really pause. To wait for the laughter I know will come. Actually it’s already there, but it doesn’t come through the web for maybe a half-second to a second. And then when one or two people laugh, others hear them laughing and they start to laugh too. The laughter spreads. The same thing happens in a live, in-person show, just with a much, much shorter delay.
A great benefit of a virtual show is cost-saving. When you hire a comedian you’re not just paying for a half-hour or so of comedy. You’re paying for all the travel time- Even if you’re only thirty miles away I have to allow time to get there, to check the set-up, to meet people… With a virtual show you’re just paying for me to sit down and talk. I can do several virtual shows a day, which saves your corporation or charity a lot of money.
“Shaun, Many thanks again! The team really enjoyed your performance and deeply appreciated the additional time you spent sharing your personal story and perspective.
Wishing you only success”
VP, Global Head of Digital BD&L, Partnerships, & Innovation
I want to thank you again for the wonderful set and for the post-performance Q&A session that you did for the FJMC virtual International Convention. We had a huge challenge when we decided to go with a virtual convention in how we were going to deliver entertainment to our 600 attendees. You made that process extremely easy. Your virtual stand-up comedy was hilarious and our members really loved hearing about your process and how the world of comedy works. All of your work made the event a huge success. The feedback we received from our members was all so positive and made the entertainment portion of the convention a huge hit.
I look forward to getting a chance to work with you again in the future – whether it be virtual or in-person.”
2021 FJMC International Convention
Additional Comedy Videos
Videocast: The Ivy League of Comedy
Video podcast: Weekly during much of the pandemic Shaun interviewed/chatted with a comedian or two or others from the comedy industry.
To hire Shaun anywhere in the world for your corporate or charity event, theatre or performing arts center, golf club, country club or yacht club event, industry conference, private party, community group or service organization start by asking! Advice is free. Call or text (914) it’s-funny (914) 487-3866 or email Shaun (at) BrainChampagne dot com.
I’m frequently asked how I got started in stand-up comedy.
Why does a man do anything? It was because of a woman.
I was on a date and I guess I was entertaining because she asked why I wasn’t a comedian. I said I had friends who were actors- and that while I like writing comedy I didn’t think I was made to be a performer.
She told me she’d just taken a stand-up comedy class and recommended I do the same.
I did. Six years later I left my day job. And here I am.
Come see me; I’m sure you’ll agree I made the right decision.