The comedy icon who spotted talent like Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle, and Michelle Wolf explains how she’s done it

Entertainment
caroline hirsch

Caroline Hirsch is the cofounder and owner of the New York comedy club Carolines and is behind the annual New York Comedy Festival.
She’s been respected for over 30 years for the way she’s able to spot and showcase emerging talent ahead of huge fame, like Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, and Michelle Wolf.
She explained how thinking from a customer’s perspective has been foundational to her success.

For more than three decades, Caroline Hirsch has been a legend in the comedy industry. As the cofounder and namesake of the New York comedy club Carolines, she’s discovered or helped develop some of comedy’s biggest names: people like Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle, and Michelle Wolf.

She’s also the visionary behind the New York Comedy Festival, which turns 15 this year.

From the time she booked her first comedy act, then-rising star Jay Leno, she’s been motivated by one experience, she told us for an episode of Business Insider’s podcast “This Is Success”: “This room packed with people laughing and having a great time, this is what it’s about. People having a great time.”

When she got into the business in 1982, Hirsch’s only qualification was a love of standup.

Listen to the full episode here:

Subscribe to “This Is Success” on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or your favorite podcast app. Check out previous episodes with:

Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman
“Million Dollar Listing” star Ryan Serhant
Business coach Marie Forleo
Skinnygirl CEO Bethenny Frankel

Transcript edited for clarity.

Caroline Hirsch: So back in the early ’80s, I was working in retail, and I worked for a big department store in New York City called Gimbels, and Gimbels was closing. So I had two friends in the city at that time who owned bars in the city and they decided they wanted to open up a cabaret, and they found this little space on Eighth Avenue, on 26th Street, and they decided to name it Carolines. And they said, “Well, would you like to be a partner with us?” And I said, “OK, sure.”

Richard Feloni: Did they name it after you before you were even approached with this offer?

Hirsch: Almost, almost. And I guess Carolines had that … Yeah, now, it’s a pretty popular name around, but then it really wasn’t. So it was fun. It was fun to be part of something to build early on. And did I know anything about it, about running a cabaret? No — but learned very quickly. I did know about the comedy business from growing up, and I always was a fan of “The Tonight Show.”

Feloni: Did they approach you because you were just a fan of comedy?

Hirsch: They were friends; they were personal friends. And they knew I wasn’t working, they said: “Well, why don’t you come and do this with us? It’ll be fun.” And that was it.

An eye for talent

Feloni: What were you bringing to the table?

Hirsch: I brought a little bit of money. That always helps.

Feloni: Exactly.

Hirsch: And just that I’d be …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Entertaiment

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