#26: Mindset Lessons From Standup Comedy with Jamarr Johnson

In Episode #10 of Seth Godin’s Startup School, he talks about the challenges of being a standup comedian, and how it’s exactly the same as what an entrepreneur goes through. Coincidentally, one of our listeners Jamarr Johnson works in New York as a comedian, actor, singer, writer, artist, and handyman. I got him on the show to draw some parallels between his experience and entrepreneurs just starting their E-Commerce stores.

Topics Discussed:

  • 03:00 – Background of Jamarr
  • 07:30 – How the comedy industry works
  • 09:40 – How do comedians create content
  • 12:00 – Split testing your content
  • 13:30 – Tweaking your value proposition as a comedian
  • 14:50 – What happens when your jokes don’t work
  • 18:47 – Write for one person, not a million people
  • 20:45 – Niching down in the comedy business
  • 23:30 – Finding your own voice in comedy
  • 27:45 – Dealing with haters and hecklers
  • 30:00 – Turning haters into your biggest fans
  • 32:50 – Dealing with nervousness on stage
  • 34:45 – A comedian’s content creation process
  • 36:00 – Different niches within the comedy industry
  • 37:45 – Working with other comedians like guest blogging
  • 39:08 – Imitation of Barack Obama
  • 39:55 – Getting comfortable putting yourself out there
  • 41:20 – The best pickup line in history


Mentions in the Episode:


Episode Length: 44:31


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  1. This interview was super insightful. I really liked his idea about having videos on a ecommerce site and how that influences his purchasing decisions. I specifically noted when he said videos can be perceived as sincere, personal, and shows the person believes in their product.

    I though the editing was great and flowed really well on this interview. Big improvement from others I’ve heard.

    1. Yeah, this was a really unique interview to do – I think Jamarr is very comfortable on stage so he knew how to make things relatable to the listeners.

      Compared to other entrepreneurs who don’t have much interview experience, it can come off a bit different – not that its bad or anything!

      1. I agree, Jamarr seemed really knowledgable when it comes to comedy. Yes you nailed it when you said he was comfortable, he sounded comfortable and knowledgable.

        I’ve heard Tim C interview comedians before who were entrepreneurs and built online businesses but I think this one is unique. It wasn’t about a store or specific business but without saying it Jamarr is an entrepreneur and an entertainer. He has to sell himself up there, sell his story, and make connections and relationships with people in the audience. I really get the Seth G insights that you intro’d the piece with. Great connection there.

  2. One of my favorite interviews Terry. Jamarr was a lot of fun and I was surprised how much useful crossover exists between entrepreneurship and comedy. Nice one!

    1. Definitely, if you think Lean Startup concepts these guys really live it everyday, otherwise it’s getting booed off stage!

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