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The Producer Behind Ali Wong and Jim Gaffigan Reveals How to Make Money By Making People Laugh

Brian Volk-Weiss built one of the world's largest comedy production and distribution companies taking risks on comedians before they were household names.

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Ah, comedy. What one person thinks is cutting edge, another person thinks is offensive. What one person thinks is stupid, another person thinks is brilliant.

Comedy Dynamics

Have you ever heard the saying, “Dying is easy, comedy is hard’? It’s typically attributed to English actor Edmund Kean, who supposedly said it on his deathbed. But whether he really said it mid-croak, it is true.

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It takes a certain kind of fearlessness to stand up in front of people and say, “I’m going to make you laugh” and it takes even more guts to say, "I’m going to put up my own money producing a special that I think will make people laugh.”

That’s what this week’s How Success Happens guest Brian Volk-Weiss did and continues to do as the CEO of Comedy Dynamics, which is the largest independent comedy production and distribution company in the known universe.

Related: 9 Hilarious and Inspiring Quotes From Talk-Show Extraordinaire David Letterman

Volk-Weiss’s company has produced and distributed specials with Kevin Hart, Ali Wong, Tiffany Haddish and most recently, Jim Gaffigan. He also launched the Netflix docuseries The Toys that Made Us, which had all of us digging through our parent’s attic hoping to find a mint condition Millennium Falcon still in its original box.

In our conversation, Volk-Weiss talks about believing in your own insane dreams, chasing your ideas, and yep, how sometimes you have to take a not-so-glamorous gig to keep the lights on.

Hope you enjoy!

Dan Bova

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

Dan Bova is the editorial director of digital content at Entrepreneur.com. He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim and Spy magazine. Check out his humor writing at Planet Bova.