Stand-Up Comedian Shaun Eli

SHS alumnus and stand-up comedian Shaun Eli Breidbart put his Wharton marketing degree to good use-- by listening to his customers. Like moststand-up comedians he started out performing in comedy clubs but unlike many comics his material is intellectual and free of adult topics and profanity. 

So when audience members repeatedly told him "Your material was a little bit smarter" and asked where they could find more of it, he realized what to do. Get together with other Ivy-educated comics and New York City's top showcase club and launch a clean, smart and funny showcase, a show suitable for business people to entertain clients. Broadway quality stand-up comedy at Gotham Comedy Club.

Plenty of comedians do smart jokes but Shaun may be among the first to boast about it in his marketing materials. He confesses that he's not doing jokes about Voltaire. Or even euro-dollar interest rate derivatives despite his background in international finance. But still, his material takes a bit of thinking. Who else opens with a vocabulary joke? "I can't think of even one single other word in the English language that means... synonym" he starts. "Doesn't seem fair that synonym doesn't get to have one but antonym has an antonym." Even his website name,, hints that his material might be at least a bit clever. 

"It is more difficult," he admits, doing intellectual material. "It may take an audience two or three seconds to get the joke, and when you're on stage, two seconds of silence is an eternity." Just until the laughs build, of course.

Shaun, in addition to writing and performing his own material, sells jokes to Jay Leno for his Tonight Show monologue. In an interview in Fortune Magazine Jay cited one of Shaun's jokes as an example of the type of smart comedy he likes to include in his opening monologue.

Shaun recently spoke at a CBS Radio Small Business Breakfast on the topic of overcoming misperceptions in marketing. He used as an example that some people think that stand-up comedians are vulgar, and what he did to overcome that misperception, including setting up the Ivy League Comedy Showcase.

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