The Court Jester of Finance

Most of my blogs aren’t funny. They are vulnerable stories of some of most difficult experiences and toughest lessons.

I love writing and sharing these stories in hopes it can support anyone who reads it. Also, because it helps me fully recognize the lesson and heal.

Since I was a teenager, I have loved to educate. From presenting in class to telling judges about my business in competitions.

But when I added entertainment to education, it felt even more exhilarating and opened up a whole new world to me.

To truly understand why I am excited to entertain and educate, it is helpful to understand my background, as it directly affected how I ended up in finance, and eventually found my way into comedy…

It All Started with My Great-Grandfather in Italy

It all started when my great-grandfather on my mother’s side, Biagio, came to America in 1913 from Italy.

On a hope, a Catholic prayer and a bit of honey bread, he made it to Sunnyside, Utah (the most misleading name for a town ever). There, he started as a goatherd, then eventually became a coal miner.

I must confess that Biagio was the most cross-eyed man I ever saw. So it’s incredible that he even had the vision to come to America. Perhaps if he could have seen better, he wouldn’t have settled in Carbon County, Utah.

His son, my grandfather James, volunteered for everything at church. He and my grandma actually attended their Catholic church every day—now that’s dedication.

I figured they went enough for multiple people over several lifetimes, so I delegated my responsibility to them and officially retired from religion.

My dad’s side of my family was religious too. And not just any religion—they were Mormons, or as they like to be called, “Latter Day Saints.”

My family is a lot more “latter day” than “saint,” by the way. And that is saying something considering my family is royalty in this church. My third great-grandfather was Wilford Woodruff, President of the LDS Church from 1889 to 1898.

I’m guess that when I said “Mormon,” your first thought was something stereotypical, like, “Oh, I bet he was a polygamist.” And you’d be right, since old Wilford had 6 wives and 34 children!

His fifth wife was my third great-grandmother. So I suppose the other wives are considered my step-great-great-great-grandmothers?

After being married for 20+ years, I can’t imagine having more than one wife. Wilford was actually the one who ended the practice of plural marriage in the Mormon church, so it must’ve been pretty rough on him too.

I Find Connection in Laughter

Even though my grandparents were dedicated churchgoers, and both sides of my family were religious, there were things seemingly more important than church—like family, fun, and specifically laughter.

For example, my uncles on both sides were renegades. Crazy, wild, and HILARIOUS. I would secretly listen from the other room to their jokes. And when they were drunk enough, they sometimes would just tell them to me directly.

Our family gatherings were hysterical. Loud laughs. Long laughs.

At one of our family gatherings, I decided to repeat a few jokes I had overheard through the years, not knowing the meanings behind them, and I got laughs.

Wow! So, I could repeat the jokes my uncles had told and not get in trouble for swearing?

The joke was, “Why did the chicken cross the basketball court?”

“Because he heard the ref was blowing fowls.”

They laughed, and I didn’t even know why. But I loved the feeling. The connection. The fun.

And now my youngest son loves to tell that joke too, so #legacy.

For decades now, at family events, everyone gathers around to tell jokes.

In 2021, at my grandma’s 90th birthday, we packed an entire park with our whole family, and all she wanted was for me to tell “inappropriate jokes” that had the word “twat” in the punchline…

My Mormon grandma died at the end of 2022. Almost everyone who spoke at her funeral mentioned my jokes and how she would laugh so hard she cried.

As a fourth-generation coal mining family (my great-grandfather, both grandparents and my dad), I didn’t come from money. Love and laughter were our currencies.

We Had Love and Laughter—But We Were Also Plagued by a Scarcity Mindset

I grew up in the small coal-mining town of Price, Utah.

In its heyday, the population was 5,000, with 2 cops. Now, it is about 1,000 people and 5 cops.

It seems things are going in the wrong direction. Sounds like a place where dreams go to die.

Last time I visited, I was greeted by a kid with a mullet on a bike flipping me the double bird. Home sweet home.

It wasn’t an easy place to make a living because it relied on coal mines, which comes with lots of ups and downs.

Mining disasters.

Union strikes.

Changes in coal prices and policy creating uncertainty.

My family learned to hold tight to money.

My parents knew what it was like to live off water and saltine crackers during a strike. They were able to avoid most debt, but at a high cost.

I Learn to Marry “Funny” and “Money”

Money is something that we all deal with. But too often, we do it poorly. And who wants the word “poor” associated with how they view money?

There is too little instruction and way too much fear, which ultimately leads to debt.

So, when approaching this tough subject, I thought back to when I was able to swear as a kid when telling a joke, but not in other situations.

I realized that comedy allows me to tackle a critically important, yet taboo topic, in this case money, in a unique, new way.

It is long overdue…the “Court Jester of Finance.”

Historically, the court jester was the only person who could tell the truth without being killed.

Court jesters were essential for the advancement of civilizations because they pointed out the shortcomings of society, policies, and people in a silly and easily digestible way. It wasn’t meant to offend, but rather, to make people laugh into a state of awareness.

Laugh them awake.

In a world drowning in debt, perplexed by inflation, and confused about money, the time has come to marry “funny” and “money.” Two things not often associated with each other.

Most people don’t find a downturn in the market or their debt funny, or most don’t have a good chuckle over being broke.

But was there is a way to roast the myths, mistakes, and missteps, laugh at the lies we’ve been told and show just how hilarious and ridiculous the entire idea of money even is?

So that’s what my comedy is about. A marriage of what I know and what I love to do. Of how I grew up, and what I grew into. Of what and who I am.

Which is kind of a modern-day “renaissance man”, well, maybe…

I’m an Inc. 500 financial firm founder and amateur barista.

A rookie fly fisherman and author of multiple Wall Street Journal bestsellers.

A public speaker who’s delivered hundreds of keynotesbut a mediocre guitar player at home.

A bow hunter, Traeger grill semi-pro (more semi than pro).

Former crossfitter (emphasis on the former).

And a whisky sommelier—which is real, and just as douchy as it sounds.

So yeah, I can help you laugh at money’s expense or even laugh all the way to the bank.

the “American Ream”

In my comedic keynote, the “American Ream,” I use humor to entertain and teach a normally dry and boring, essential topic: money.

For some people, money is no laughing matter. But, as I’ll reveal, there’s actually quite a bit that’s funny about it.

In the American Ream, I poke fun at the financial myths and foibles we can all relate to. I joke about how we’re all getting reamed by them. And in the humor, you’ll find nuggets of insight that will stick with you forever.

Ultimately, I help you flip the script and turn the American Ream into your real and wonderful dream.

I even had Marty Callner, the famous director who has worked with Robin Williams, Chris Rock, won an Emmy with Jerry Seinfeld, and created the comedy hall of fame, produced the American Ream for me. He said of it,

“I have worked with the greats. The best man at my wedding was George Carlin. I know when he hears Garrett, he is laughing his ass off, just like me. It was Carlin-esq. Brilliant and hilarious. This holds up with all my specials. I am so proud of it.”

Want to see money in a new light while your audience is laughing their butts off?

Then hire me to perform the American Ream at your next event.

Know anyone else who could benefit from this?

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