Clean Corporate Comedian & Funny Keynote Speaker Washington, DC for your government, corporate or charity event or private party- it’s Shaun Eli!
Yes, including Delaware, Maryland and Virginia (DelMarVa, as if you didn’t know)
I’m a clean stand-up comedian. I’ve been performing for over 18 years, full-time for 12. Before that I worked in finance in NYC (fixed-income products, if you care) while selling monologue jokes free-lance to three late-night TV hosts, mostly Jay Leno. My father was in the infantry in WW II, went to college on the GI Bill, and studied accounting. He ended up working for the IRS. So I have never complained about taxes. It’s a weird thing for a kid, when your friend’s parents think they have to hide the new fancy TV from you. Even though my father audited large corporations, not Billy’s parents.
I’m proud of my father- he brought down the head of one of America’s largest corporations for tax fraud. it’s a great story. Unfortunately it’s not a funny story so I don’t talk about it on stage. I do have plenty of jokes about mom and dad. Mostly dad. I also have jokes that mention my brothers and cousins, but they’re not the punchline.
As a clean stand-up comedian I’ve headlined shows on 5 continents. I’ve been profiled or quoted in all sorts of major publications, including front-page stories in The New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor plus profiles in various other publications. I’ve written articles on comedy for Reader’s Digest, New Jersey Lawyer Magazine and the Newark Star-Ledger. I also wrote two “Seinfeld’ episodes that never got made- you can find them under the Writings tab at the top of the page.
I’ve also performed a bunch in Washington, DC, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. Among my favorite places to perform are anywhere I can just drive to. And DC is certainly within driving distance of NY. I like a lot of things about Washington, DC although I have to admit that driving in the city itself is complicated. And I’m from NYC. But now that there’s GPS it’s a lot simpler. So yes, I’ve done shows at theatres in DC, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia but my shows aren’t confined to theatres. Theatre shows are nice but I also like working at corporate events, charity fundraising events, country clubs, houses of worship. Even private party shows can be a lot of fun.
About my shows
My comedy is clean and it’s a random combination of stories about my family, my former employer (it’s so nice to get paid to make fun of them!), random things that have happened in my life, from fighting a parking ticket to serving on a criminal jury to engineering a fight between NBC and Google, combined with one-liners and other short jokes. As the son of a long-time federal employee I’m happy to do shows for government organizations. I’ve done a few for the U.S. Army War College, where I was honored to be a participant in their National Security Seminar Week a few years ago.
I would really love to do shows for the Central Intelligence Agency (so I can say I did a show for the CIA but I can’t tell you about it) and the Internal Revenue Service (so I can say I made the IRS laugh, although why anybody would assume the IRS has no sense of humor I don’t know- they have to laugh when they see my tax returns).
It’s a lot of fun for me to write and perform jokes about negative things that have happened to me. I know sometimes people say “The jokes write themselves” but that’s nonsense. Somebody has to put punchlines into stories and properly structure the set-up so the punch is a surprise. And even subtle changes can make a big difference in how well a joke works.
That said, sometimes I just sit down at the computer and the jokes just flow. Other times I wake up in the middle of the night and there’s a routine in my head. Recently I was driving on local streets through the South Bronx- thanks Waze- and there was a boat in the street. By the time I got home (thanks again, Waze) I had a five minute story about the trip. I haven’t told it on stage yet as I’m still fine-tuning it. But my friends have already approved it. And if that’s your boat on 174th Street and Bronx River Avenue please give me a call.
If you want to see what I’m like on stage watch my stand-up comedy videos.
Funny Keynote Speaker
I can be either a live funny keynote speaker or a funny virtual keynote speaker. I’m not a motivational speaker. I won’t get people riled up but I will get them laughing for my entire time on stage. If I tell my story about fighting a parking ticket in Philadelphia I may get people excited to fight for justice. Okay, parking ticket justice. Hey, everybody’s got to start somewhere. If you’re looking for a funny keynote speaker I’m your guy. So if you want to call me a corporate keynote speaker that’s fine with me. As long as I get paid to make people laugh I’m happy. And you will be too.
Your audience will arrive full of enthusiasm for my keynote speech because I can provide you with video of me on stage that you can share with them in advance. They will depart happy and grateful and will be talking about the event for days if not weeks.
I have hours of material so I should be able to link my keynote address to the theme of your event, company or industry. With a business background I may understand your industry quite well, especially if it’s banking or finance (I was a banker for 20 years before becoming a full-time stand-up comic), accounting (my father was an accountant and I have accounting jokes and stories), advertising or marketing (I majored in marketing at Wharton), insurance (I was an actuarial assistant for a couple of years), aviation (I’m a licensed, instrument-rated pilot) or boating (former rower and dragon-boat racer and I have a rather useless New York State boating license).
Also law. Though I’m not an attorney lots of people seem to think I’m one. I served for 17 months on a federal grand jury, I have at least one pro-lawyer joke and I am 1-0 representing myself in New York State Supreme Court. I sued a home improvement contractor and beat the heck out of a trial attorney using the two most powerful weapons in my arsenal: humor and sarcasm. I also wrote an article for the New Jersey Law Journal on attorneys who became comedians. And in addition to not being an attorney I’m also not from New Jersey.
I love answering audience questions after a keynote speech. It gives me the chance to be spontaneously funny, to learn about what audiences are curious about, to tell stories that are fun and funny but don’t necessarily fit into either a stand-up routine or keynote speech. Audiences love it too. It’s like a backstage pass.
One thing to note: I speak. I may pace a bit. I tell jokes and very funny stories. I don’t use Powerpoint. I don’t need slides. Just a good sound system with a hand-held microphone (not a mic stuck to a lectern). Proper lighting also helps.
Back before I was a comedian I was a banker and was chosen to be the keynote (closing) speaker at an international conference on risk management. The speakers before me were from more prestigious companies. They had a lot of data to present and used a lot of slides. This was a bit anxiety-inducing until I realized that their extensive, detailed data and slides were a drawback. It was too much detail and was both rote and confusing. I was the opposite- I had a case to present that was both interesting and easy to understand. Nobody was distracted or confused during my talk. I was the one who drew the most questions because I held their interest. And yes, I was invited back to be the keynote speaker again the next year.
How to book me
You want a clean comedian for your corporate, charity or government event in Washington, DC? Or maybe Maryland or Delaware or Virginia? (DelMarVa? Why does the smallest state get first billing? And how’d DC get left out? First we deny them statehood and now they don’t even get to be part of the area’s nickname?)
Let’s get started! I’m happy to answer any questions. It’s one way I can learn more about what people are looking for and what their concerns are. I’m inexpensive because I’m not greedy. I like to perform. My prices are even more affordable for government and charity events. And really, if you’re from the CIA or IRS or even the NSA, please get in touch with me about a show. Email Shaun (at) Brain Champagne dot com, or call or text me at (914) it’s-funny (914) 487-3866.