Jon Fisch’s chance enrollment in comedy workshop leads to 2-decade stand-up career

Fisch will perform at the 31st JFCS Annual Benefit on Dec. 7

Some stand-up comedians know they want to be on stage telling jokes from a very young age, but for Jon Fisch, the idea of doing stand-up as a career didn’t occur to him until after he graduated college.

He grew up in Boston and remembers racing home many nights as a high school student to watch whichever stand-up comic happened to be on TV that night. While he always enjoyed getting a laugh at school, he wasn’t necessarily the class clown. He was a psychology major in college and after graduating, worked in hospitals as a counselor.

It was when he was attending a continuing education session for his counseling job that Jon happened to see a pamphlet for a comedy workshop and decided to sign up. The “final” for the workshop was to do a five-minute stand-up set, and after completing it, he was hooked.

Jon started doing stand-up on nights and weekends, while keeping his counseling job. Even though he saw other people doing stand-up full-time as a career, it never occurred to him that he could do the same thing himself, he said.

Nevertheless, he kept setting six-month and one-year goals for what he wanted to accomplish and his stand-up career kept growing to the point where he was able to quit his day job. He has now lived in New York for 18 years and has been doing stand-up for 21 years – with growing success.

He was chosen as one of Comedy Central’s “Fresh Faces of Comedy” and named one of Backstage magazine’s “10 Standout Stand-ups.” Jon’s appearances on CBS’ “The Late Show with David Letterman,” NBC’s “Last Comic Standing 4,” and most recently, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” have gained him wider recognition and new fans. He tours the country performing at theaters, clubs, colleges and corporate events and can be seen regularly in New York at Gotham Comedy Club and The Comedy Cellar.

Much of his act focuses on the idiosyncrasies of city living and he likes to do a mix of observational and personal material in his sets. Now in his 40s, Jon was single for a long time and has lots of material about online dating. But now being in a new relationship, Jon joked that he might have some different material in his act.

He’s gotten far more comfortable being onstage from when he first started. He laughed remembering that one of the earliest reviews said he had the “stage presence of a rock.” “I was so petrified I couldn’t move on stage,” he said of those days. “I’m looser now and moving around.”

In addition to stand-up, Jon has done writing work for several TV shows and said he wouldn’t mind being a staff writer on a show. He also hosts a podcast, “In the Tank with Jon Fisch,” where he interviews different guests from the world of comedy. “I like the podcast because I don’t feel as much pressure to be funny,” he said, “but as a comedian, it comes out naturally.”

Though Jon has been doing stand-up for two decades, he is pretty sure he hasn’t performed in Minneapolis before. He joked that he’s curious to observe the similarities and differences between the Jewish communities in New York and the Twin Cities. “I’m excited to perform at the JFCS Annual Benefit,” he said. “It’s going to be fun.”

Don’t miss Jon when he performs at JFCS’ 31st Annual “Laugh on Their Behalf” Benefit! Event Co-Chairs Shari Barry and Ronald Barry, along with their Steering Committee, are excited to present him at the Dec. 7 event. Get your tickets here!