Hi, my name is Kyle, and I feel very uncomfortable writing in the first person. This is pretty ironic considering I spend my time outside of work talking in the first person onstage doing stand-up comedy. Yes, an accountant is doing stand-up comedy. It’s 2017. Things don’t have to make sense anymore.
Recently, I have been able to blend my passion for comedy with another passion of mine; giving back to the community. I just so happen to work at a firm that supports these passions. GHJ’ #BeMore commitment encourages me to pursue my personal interests outside of work. This campaign is authentically what GHJ stands for. I am able to devote myself to our Contract Compliance and Forensics group, which performs motion picture and television participation audits on behalf of top Hollywood talent AND my other passions – comedy and philanthropy.
Why am I interested in giving back?
Well, quite frankly, it is in my blood. My entire family works in the nonprofit world. My mom is the executive director of the Brookline Community Foundation in Brookline, MA. My brother is the senior manager of college access and success of the St. Stephens Youth Program in Dorchester, MA. My dad is the executive director of United Religious Initiative (URI), a global nonprofit based in San Francisco and my stepmom mentors young women from Rwanda for She Can. My dad also looks like the dude from The Big Lebowski (kind of…they have the same facial hair at least).
The shoes of generosity that I am trying to fill would make Shaquille O’Neil’s size 23 Air Jordans look like Frodo’s size 2 Toms.
I have begun to realize that only bragging about the amazing work my family is involved with does not qualify as actually giving back myself, and I should probably stop watching Tom Brady highlights and do something myself.
Here is what I did:
I am the creator and producer of Jest in Show, a recurring comedy benefit show featuring some of the best up-and-coming and headlining comedians in Los Angeles. Jest in Show’s tagline “comedy for a cause” refers to the philanthropic nature of the show as all of the proceeds are donated to a local nonprofit organization in Los Angeles.
The first show on Feb. 10, 2017 was a huge success! Jest in Show partnered with Safe Place for Youth, an organization based in Venice, California that supports nearly 1,000 youth who are at-risk or currently suffering from homelessness. The show took place at The Fanatic Salon in Culver City where the packed house was booming with laughter all night. The “surprise” drop-in guest was Ali Wong, writer on the hit show Fresh off the Boat and creator of one of the most highly acclaimed Netflix specials of the past year, Baby Cobra. If you haven’t seen it, you need to check it out. The rest of the comedians are names you are sure to hear soon if you have not already: Anna Simeri, Sean Leary, Hunter Hill, Eric Hahn and Chris Redd completed this stacked lineup.
There was high acclaim for the first show. Local friend and comedy connoisseur Tommy was quoted (with an empty beer in hand at a local bar) after the show saying, “Wow, that was the best comedy show I’ve seen in Los Angeles!”
The audience was not only ELECTRIC, but was very generous with donations. Jest in Show was able to raise a total of $1,200 for Safe Place for Youth, which includes a 50-percent matching donation by GHJ. GHJ’s #BeMore campaign helped make this night so successful. It is comforting and inspiring to be working for a firm that supports my passion for giving back.
If you missed the first show, there’s no need to freak out. The next edition of Jest in Show is just around the corner on April 28 at The Fanatic Salon, and will be benefiting an organization called First Star that provides academic support for children in the LA foster system.
To find out more info about upcoming events you can follow Jest in Show on Facebook. You can also check out the Jest in Show website or follow our Instagram account.
About Kyle Kazanjian (Associate, GHJ)
Kyle is an associate at GHJ in the Contract Compliance and Forensics department. The CCF group performs motion picture and television participation audits on behalf of the top Hollywood talent. He has a passion for all things entertainment. You can find him crunching numbers during the day and at an open mic performing in front of 2-15 people on a good night. His favorite excel shortcut is Alt+= and his favorite comedian is Sean Leary.