We had the good fortune of connecting with Pat Treuer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pat, what do you attribute your success to?
Perseverance. Perseverance is the most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand. To provide context, currently I am a full time comedian and the owner of a company which provides comedy shows to corporate groups and I could not have done either one of those without perseverance.
I have wanted to be a comedian ever since I learned it was possible to make people laugh as a profession. Early in life, I pursued every route except the route to make what I wanted a reality – including 12 years as an International Sales Manager for a big company. After realizing I was living a life I didn’t want, I left that career to pursue my dream of comedy. Overnight I went from hosting meetings with Generals of major international Air Forces to going to open mics at dungy bars where no one paid attention to what I said – that nearly erased any confidence I had overnight.
To succeed with my new endeavor, perseverance was needed to get through the newly found nightly mental & emotional discouragement. Goals needed to be set and no matter how beat down I felt, perseverance was needed to achieve the goals to get me to where I wanted to go.
After finding somewhat stable footing in the endeavor, I started producing comedy shows in Chicago by creating lineups of multiple diverse comedians to create a wide range of appeal for all those who came to enjoy our shows. Soon we started to see repeat customers so I thought “I know how to create a great comedy show and I know how to play the corporate sales game…I should start a business to provide comedy shows to corporate groups.” So I did and then I found out what it really means to persevere with a startup business.
“Comedy is too risky to bring to our corporate event as we don’t want to offend anyone,” was the most common response I received when trying to sell the shows – every cocktail reception, networking event, cold call….same response nearly every time. In January of 2020 after talking with hundreds of people, one person decided to give us a shot and the show went great and we were planning more and then the ol Pandemie hit. I felt defeated and that all my work had been for nothing.
Perseverance kept me moving forward. I didn’t know what to do, I just knew I had to keep going with anything that could benefit us in the unknown future. After some thought, I decided to upload short, clean video clips of every public show I had ever produced to our instagram and then email some 6,000 people in my e-rolodex with a simple “Life sucks right now so have a free laugh on us by following us on Instagram.” Two people replied to my emails.
The two replies both said “Hey Pat, we are having all these zoom calls and they are really boring. Can you bring us some comedy and how much would it be?”
Then more emails came my way and I started receiving phone calls to ask for comedy shows for corporate events. It changed from making cold calls to receiving warm calls. Perseverance got me to that turning point which then led to the fun of actually running a business instead of just saying I have an LLC and feeling like all efforts were futile. As of today we have performed for over 40,000 people and 265 corporate groups all in the past 18 months.
December 2020 was the hardest I ever worked in my life as we put on 42 shows and it was just me running all aspects of the business – sales, client management, producing the shows with multiple performers, hosting the shows, and anything & everything else involved. I worked 16 to 18 hours a day 6 days a week and 4-5 hours a day on Sundays which were my “day off.” I had several breakdowns mentally and was addicted to cold brew. Perseverance kept me moving forward with the deep down thought that if I could make it through the month, the future would be aligned with my goals and I would have the resources to make a reality of what had only been in my imagination.
Perseverance has been the most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand. Perseverance is what I will need to move forward. See how we move forward at www.treuerlaughs.com (as a small business we take every opportunity to promote when we can)!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Originally I started producing comedy shows because it was the only way I could get stage time as a comedian. After creating opportunities for other comedians who were struggling to get stage time (not because of lack of talent nor effort) I realized the secret is creating opportunities for others! Once you set a stage for someone else to succeed, you will find success in ways you never anticipated. You will find yourself surrounded by talented people who inspire you and add fuel to your creative fire. This is exactly what happened with me.
As a comedian I love talking about who I am as a person and sharing my unique point of view in a relatable way (to many, not to all). When I started creating shows with multiple performers who were all better than I was, my comedy improved drastically. The corporate comedy shows I produced were filled with career performers who have their own comedy specials and have toured the world doing comedy. Performing with these talented people was like attending an online comedy university – one that paid me.
The thing I am most proud of is that I decided to finally pursue my dream and worked through the hard times. It makes me so happy to tell people I am a comedian full time. Most people shrug me off and have no idea of what the journey has been, nor do they have any idea I was able to provide jobs to over 100 performers during the pandemic to allow them to continue to spread joy to over 50,000 people.
It was not easy to get to this point and I know it won’t be easy moving forward. The proverbial “sweet isn’t as sweet without the bitter” has been in full effect and as I get older and create more experiences for myself, the more I appreciate that saying and appreciate all involved in this journey. I went from paying to get around to open mic to open mic to performing for thousands of people at a time and making a living doing so!
I want the world to know that Treuer Laughs Comedy Shows are some of the best comedy shows you will ever see – because of the simple fact that the performers are diverse and we put thought into the lineups. It is not because I am putting them together, it is because we strive to celebrate diversity and create opportunities for talented people. Comedy is an art form and should be valued much higher than it currently is.
Currently most people not in the comedy world think a few hundred dollars is more than enough to pay a comedian for clean, corporate friendly comedy – READ CAREFULLY – IT IS NOT ENOUGH. Clean, corporate friendly comedians spend years of their life developing their skills and what you are seeing is a result of hours upon hours of mental anguish, hard work, and life experiences.
In comedy, it is easy to be dirty so if you want a dirty comedian then a few hundred dollars is enough. It is hard to be clean and funny and that skillset deserves more than a few hundred dollars…at least if you don’t want there to be issues with anyone and HR after the performance.
As for the answer to lessons learned along the way and overcoming challenges – see answer to the first question of the interview!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The day starts with an early morning breakfast at Snooze. If it is a weekday in the Spring, then we will head right up to Arapahoe Basin for some turns and then come back for an afternoon of rooftops followed by a Rockies Game. If it is summer then we will swap out skiing for hiking (maybe the Flatirons followed by lunch at The Sink in Boulder) and then down for rooftops and a Rockies game!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The biggest shoutout goes to my soon to be wife, Jordan. Jordan started dating me when I was doing open mic comedy (a miserable experience) and has been to nearly all of my shows. She was there for me during the times when I was low to pick me up and there during the great times to help me celebrate. She was there during the most challenging times of the business and continues to help in more ways than I can count. I love you Jordan!
As for everyone else – you all know how you helped (or didn’t) so there is no need for me to add any additional shoutout as those who were helpful already know and know what this sentence really means.
Linkedin: Treuer Laughs
Facebook: Treuer Laughs
Other: We have an excellent podcast about Comedy and the website is www.ofthecomics.com