He’s a comedian who chuckles at his unexpected journey to notoriety.
Pat McGann sold packaging. As he describes it, “not very well.” So he tried something else and his natural gift has turned into a second career that started at age 31 and shows no signs of a slowdown.
Host Kraig Kann puts McGann’s story center stage - including his Chicago roots, his childhood ambition and the feeling of nerves and energy they comes with being on a stage working for the laughs and loud applause.
McGann’s career has already taken him from Zanies - the popular Chicago club - to sold out theaters, and big-time arenas. And then, there’s David Letterman and Stephen Colbert.
In this podcast, you’ll hear the husband and father of three young kids give a dose of how he builds out a show and how he’s handling his newfound success. Give this a listen. You’ll be searching for Pat’s next appearance in a city or town near you!
Welcome to tracks to success brought to you by presentation partners. This is the podcast that brings you inspiring people and they're inspiring stories. How did they find their way to the top and how can their path help you do the same? Here's your host network, broadcaster executive and entrepreneur Craig camp
Now on this edition of tracks to success. You'll hear from one of the rising stars in stand up comedy, a onetime salesman in the packaging industry who wasn't laughing when it didn't work out and turned his focus to making others have a good time and a great laugh. His path to the stage, holding a microphone is unique and it didn't come early. In fact, now he's just hitting his prime. He went from house MC to the main attraction in short order, he's found his way to his stint on the set with David Letterman. He's been on the late show with Stephen Colbert and he's now criss crossing the country and other countries to showcasing his quick wit hilarious takes on family and marriage and topics well beyond in front of packed houses and arenas like Madison square garden.
2 (1m 22s):
So how does a guy with a wife and young children flip the script on a career midstream? And what's his definition of the perfect show. His name is Pat McGann, the pride of Chicago, and coming to his city near you. His inspiring story. And this addition of tracks to success starts now
1 (1m 49s):
Folks. My next guest is a comedian coming to us from Chicago. Please welcome Pat McGann.
0 (1m 55s):
3 (2m 1s):
Well, Pat, I saw you in Vegas. Liked it so much. We saw you in Chicago. So I've been following you ever since. Just wanted to say thank you very much, right up front for some time and welcome to tracks of success. How are you? I'm doing great. Thanks for having me, Craig. I appreciate it, man, man, this is good. This is either going to be the easiest interview conversation I have ever done with this podcast or the most difficult to be perfectly honest. I have no idea what direction it's going to go. Cause you're a comedian. You could one up me on like everything I could ask you. No, no, no, no. I mean, I mean, we could just have a conversation. I don't have to try and be on, well, this is going to be great, man. Great, great question right there.
3 (2m 41s):
Do you feel like you always have to be on? I do not. No, not at all. I don't feel that way. I am annoyed by people that are always on. I think that I just try and be myself. Like if, if something, if I can say something funny, I will, but I'm not like,
4 (3m 1s):
You know, cause you hear that a ton. If you're introduced to someone as a comic or they know that you're a standup, when you talk to them, I always hear all the time like, Oh, you don't seem funny or not funny in real life. And I think I am probably last funny off stage and I used to be is I kind of feed that, that beast by doing live shows. I mean, I do love to get laughs, but I don't necessarily need to be getting laughs all the time off stage where I think I kind of used to be funnier off stage.
3 (3m 32s):
Yeah, no, that makes sense. So let's start with this then. Pretend this podcast is actually a late night program that I'm hosting. Okay. I'm at my little desk in this, a Hollywood studio or New York city studio. I'm 10 seconds away from introducing you. Okay. You're standing backstage thinking what exactly.
4 (3m 58s):
Well, I have had the opportunity to do a couple of shows. So I did Letterman and Cole bear. And when, when you're about to go out, live,
3 (4m 8s):
Do a set standup set.
4 (4m 12s):
Okay. It's a little nerve wracking. Like you're definitely in your head a little bit. I think the more you do it, the more comfortable you are. But I think I would just be gearing up kind of like when you're waiting in the tunnel to go out there to play like a basketball game or, you know, get out onto the field for a big game, you're amped up and you're focused and kind of don't want anybody
3 (4m 38s):
In your ear, you know? Right. So do you have a warmup routine? Do you, do you walk around practicing jokes? I mean I public speak and I have a little warmup routine. I like to have this little talk with myself. You know, nobody ever sees it. I go into a hallway or into a bathroom and I do like 30 seconds and I tell myself some stuff, what do you do? Do you meditate? You sit, still tell everybody to leave you alone. What do you do? Just local exercises
4 (5m 3s):
As you know, a lot of bumblebee bumblebee. No, I'm kidding. I just kind of pace think about what I'm going to do and try and really like get into the moment. Mmm. And just be aware of the situation, be ready to deliver the material. And because you know, when you're doing a late night set, that's a set you've done over and over and over, but you want to recreate the spontaneity that we really selling the fact that you haven't said this a thousand times or whatever, however many times, right? I mean, you want it to seem in the moment and that's just, I think what you strive for.
3 (5m 48s):
All right. I'm going to ask you about Kobe era and Letterman. And we'll do that in just a little bit, but you're introduced as Chicago's zone. Right? Does the city actually claim you? I mean, are they like really proud of you?
4 (6m 3s):
You know, I have a lot of support here in Chicago. I live in the city and I live in an part of the city. That's very working class. It's the South side of Chicago, a lot of police, fire, firemen teachers. And I think that they have embraced me. One of the things that I did when I started out was I would do like Catholic parishes grade schools like fundraisers. And that's kinda what this neighborhood neighborhood is. It's a bunch of different parishes. And I started doing comedy nights at those parishes. And then those people, when I wasn't really doing that anymore, those people would come see me at Zanies comedy club.
4 (6m 44s):
And I was building, you know, some followers from doing shows at Xannies. And then I was doing those pair of shows, started doing them in the suburbs. So I've done a lot around Chicago area. So I think they are starting to claim me. It's a really big city. There's I really need to try and attract more people here in Chicago. I just got a nice piece in the Chicago Tribune yesterday and the arts and entertainment section for these pop-up shows I'm doing in my living room. So that felt good that they invited me to, you know, they want to come to my house and cover what I'm doing.
4 (7m 26s):
And then I was on a WGN morning news here in Chicago, which is a big, our biggest like morning news show, which really moves the needle. And man, you can tell people are locked down because this morning news show I've done it and I'll do it like maybe twice a year. And I always pick up a bunch of followers, maybe like 40, 50, 60, the other day, I did a hit in the morning and I got like 600 that's because everybody's at home. I know it's a, it's a good time engage.
3 (7m 58s):
So I'm a Chicago guy. I don't know if, if when we chatted briefly after one of those shows, if I ever told you that West suburbs grew up in the Grange Western Springs area, I was the kid that knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. Right. I wanted to be a sportscaster and I got that, but then it changed. So what's your story as a little kid, what did you want to be? Where did you grow up? All that stuff.
4 (8m 25s):
I grew up in, in Beverly West Beverly Morgan park area, and I wanted to be, you know, I love basketball and baseball. So my first thing I probably wanted to be was was that like a professional athlete, which you start to realize it's not going to happen. You know, probably around high school. And from there, I was kind of a little lost, you know, I thought about law school because that's what my dad did. I to a college in Ohio university of Dayton and ended up majoring in history thought maybe I could teach history and coach basketball.
4 (9m 7s):
And then I realized that,
5 (9m 12s):
4 (9m 12s):
I probably wanted to make a little bit more money. So I got into sales, which was like, I just ended up there. People would just say, yeah, you'd be good at sales. And I like talking to people and I like socializing and I just ended up in sales and I was doing that for 10, 11 years. I didn't start staying up till I was like 31. I'm a latecomer. I started really late, but I always had this in the back of my mind. I always liked writing. And, but I'd never liked performing. I was never in a play or on a stage. So that was the biggest leap for me to, to try that, to actually get up in front of people you got about,
3 (9m 56s):
By the way you gotta be, you gotta be really bummed that Dayton didn't get its chance as a number one seed in March madness. By the way, that's the only thing I'm going to ask you about college athletics,
4 (10m 9s):
Dude, I, Greg, I was, you know, perspective, right? Cause everyone is dealing with this thing. But when the first hit, that was definitely one of the first thoughts and all my like UT buddies and my family, my dad went to Dayton. My sisters went to Dayton. So we were all crushed by that. That was the best, the most magical year they've ever had. And the double whammy of it was, you know, Dayton in, I believe it was September when they had that mass shooting, that city has always embraced the flyers. That's like their protein they're going. Right. You know, I felt really bad for the people at date.
3 (10m 50s):
Yeah, no doubt about it. I mean that, that's always been what, you know, the play end game or one of the early games, you know, in the NCAAs, Dayton was like a venue, you know, this time it was a team and it was, you know, they had a great player and all that. So you just like of all the, of the NCA kids that you think about. And so many of them affected by canceling March madness. My mind went straight to Dayton because mid-majors, don't get that shot to be a number one seed and legitimately be looked at as a potential national champion or final four contender. I mean, it's just, it's just different. When, when you were that kid growing up, Beverly wherever, and you said you liked to talk to people and all that, where were you a kid that held court?
3 (11m 32s):
Cause like now you hold court. That's, that's kinda what you do. Did you hold court back then?
4 (11m 37s):
I mean, no, not any more than my buddies. Like we were always out running around and we were all smart asses. Everybody was trying to crack the other guy up, you know, we weren't necessarily class clowns, punks, but we were like, the guys I ran with, we were always trying to like entertain each other and just be just funny. All of my friends still are. I just hang out with funny people, I think. So you mentioned that you were in sales packaging, right? Like what, what were you selling and how could you, I can bring it right to you because I met you in Las Vegas.
4 (12m 21s):
I remember red Garret club. I used to have a ton of business in Las Vegas. That was where most of my accounts were because I sold two hotel and casinos, like the printed bags. So when you go to Caesar's palace and you go to like their sundry shop and they give you a Caesar's palace bag. Yup. I sourced those. And then when like Celine Dion was the first act at the Colosseum when they built that she was like the resonant act and she had a Celine Dion gift shop. So we did all the packaging for that gift shop. And then Elton John came in and then that Midler came in and I was like the packaging guys for all that.
4 (13m 8s):
That's, that's what I was doing. Have you used that in your standup? Like that could be a funny pregnant. It might be maybe still too painful to revisit because I was not that good at it. I was good at inheriting accounts. I opened up a couple of accounts and I did actually in Las Vegas too, but it started to get STO competitive and once like the internet blew up, it was, and people were just, it was so easy to get in touch with people. And there was no value in like relationships. It was like, I was losing business on price everywhere.
4 (13m 51s):
And like people telling me like, can you match this quote? This is what, like, we love you. We've been working with you for years, but I got to save money. So it was just like, I got to get out of this. So who told you comedy was your thing? And when you stood up there at first, how bad were you after somebody told you this could be your thing? You know, I started dating my wife in March of Oh seven. That's when I met her. And I first went on stage in September of Oh seven. And that was the, she was really, I got to give her credit. Like I kind of confided in her like, Hey, I got these notebooks and I've been writing.
4 (14m 33s):
And I kinda think I could try stand up. Like it took me a lot just to say that to her. Cause I thought my thing was like, if I say this to people are all going to be like, why do you think you could do that? Like you think you're funny? Like what, what are you talking about? Like, she really encouraged me. She was like, everybody is from somewhere. They're just regular people doing this. Oh, do it now. I don't know if she would tell me to do it again today. Now, now knowing how much I would. Well now I'm home all the time, but you know, I'm usually gone and it's, it's a, it's not the easiest life, especially when you've got little kids, but that's, that's how it started just going to open mikes in Chicago.
4 (15m 15s):
And then I, I was bad at the first time. I, you know, the light in your eye, when you go on, go on a stage. I never knew how blinding that was. So that's what I remember from my first experience was like, I just could not see the audience. I was terrified. And I forget that 50% of what I had prepared, but I got a couple laughs I got a couple ass that I was like, okay, I didn't completely embarrass myself. And I love how that felt. I got a big rush out of it. I was like, I got to do it again. So I started doing it.
3 (15m 51s):
So then you find out like, okay, they laughed at this. You know, they didn't laugh at this. So I'm going to shelve that they laughed at this so I can make that my thing. Maybe I do five minutes on that. Is that how it works? When you're first starting out, you figure out where your County or lane is. If you will.
4 (16m 7s):
I think when you're first starting out, it's not even like your voice. Like it's not what you're talking about. It's just getting comfortable on stage and writing jokes like that probably are. You're not that attached to, that's how I started. What I found out through doing this and being in the world of comedy is that talking about your life is probably like the best route. You know, it keeps you original, keeps you fresh and it like, you just become relatable in whatever way. But when I was first starting out, I was just very detached from my material.
4 (16m 52s):
Like I had a bit about homeschool. I had a bit about taco bell and I mean, these were funny things. They were observational, but it was not really like me. Like I think you're always trying to get to this place where you're just like so authentic up there and I'm still not there, but that's the, I think that's the journey.
3 (17m 18s):
I think that you, you are there. Don't sell yourself short because I saw you work a room, not once but twice. And it's, and it's a gift, you know, it's, it's something that not a lot of people have at the same time. I think with the listeners that listen to this podcast, what I want them to try to maybe take from this is also just what goes in the mind of a guy who's become successful when you probably had a lot of self doubt, right? I mean, you talk about the lights being bright and maybe losing your focus. I mean, my world TV, when I was TV, everybody said the camera adds 10 pounds. So I'm like, all right, make sure you're the only one on me. You know, don't make sure I don't need three of them on me, but like you had to have some self doubt and going, alright, I wasn't great at sales or I didn't want to do sales.
3 (18m 4s):
I'm trying this, what next, if this doesn't work out.
4 (18m 9s):
Yeah. You know, I started gradually, I didn't like quit my job right away. And I kind of eased into these out of my commission sales job. Like my commission just was dropping, dropping, dropping. And while my shows and schedule were kind of climbing, but I wasn't making any money. Like I couldn't really sustain. So I eventually got laid off and then I got another job working at a restaurant to just try and bring in some more money. And then when I started doing the shows like you never have, you never don't have self doubt. Like I still have it. I get it. You know, I can give you an example.
4 (18m 49s):
As recently, as two days ago, I'm doing these popups shows in my room or at my house during this, this lockdown. And I got the coverage on it, got excited about it. And I tried to like, you know, send it out to some people in LA and they're just, they weren't all that excited about it. And then you're like start to creep in the back of your head. Like, should I be doing these shows? Like I just got, I just got some coverage on it and people are giving me good feedback, but maybe, you know, and I've been rejected by every late night show. I've been rejected by festivals, by people that, you know, air specials networks.
4 (19m 34s):
But I've also gotten a lot of yeses along the way too. And some plenty of validation, but it's, I'm constantly getting rejected and getting told no or not right now. Or maybe that's just part of the game you realize. And it's hard to not take it personally because what I do is personal. This is my life that I'm sharing. So yeah, it sucks when you, when you get that. But I think you just learned that you gotta be resilient. Cause if you, if you quit, you just, you're gonna, you're not gonna survive.
3 (20m 13s):
Yeah. Our greatest successes always seem to come from not in our comfort zone, but from out of our comfort zone, like when people say you can't do this, you're never going to make it. And then you go, you know what, Hey, I am going to make it, I'm going to do this. I'm going to do that. And you keep persevering and all of that. So you have made it, you talk about the yeses, you got, tell me about Letterman. What was it like to be on his show?
4 (20m 35s):
It was phenomenal. You know, that was the one show that I was really trying to get on. When I first started, that was like my major goal. And it took three years. So when I finally got it, I was the most excited. I think I've ever been.
7 (20m 54s):
I'm usually, usually at home doing chores, laundry. That's my big one. And I'm married. I have to do my wife's clothes and my clothes. And I'll tell you what, I kind of rooms a moment when we mess around,
6 (21m 5s):
7 (21m 10s):
Tear her jeans off, take them off. Like I'm gonna leave these out.
6 (21m 12s):
7 (21m 14s):
Alright. Where are these again?
6 (21m 15s):
7 (21m 18s):
Take her shirt off. What is this linen? I'm gonna have to iron this
6 (21m 20s):
7 (21m 24s):
It must've been the other night. She got a little sweaty. She's like, I'm gonna get a towel and you're going to get a paper towel.
6 (21m 27s):
7 (21m 37s):
Just did towels.
4 (21m 41s):
Definitely in the world of comedy. That's actually a lie. So I go out there and they treated me so well, you know, they fly you out there. They got the guy at the airport with your name on the sign, it bring in to, into Manhattan, into the city. And they put you up right around the corner from the ed Sullivan theater. And then just that the ed Sullivan theater, like I'm kind of a, a history guy, a pop culture. Like it's not lost on me. That that's where the Beatles made their debut. It's that stage, you know, Elvis performed there, all of that, like that's cool to me. And Letterman is that legend icon. Like that's the guy growing up.
4 (22m 21s):
He was the benchmark. I remember Johnny Carson. I remember my parents watching Johnny Carson, but I was so into David Letterman. So it was a thrill. I mean, it was so cool. I had like a bunch of buddies came out from Chicago and my college roommate came out and my parents were of course there. And my wife and sisters, like it was a moment. It was definitely a moment. So it was, it was very cool. I was nervous. I was very nervous and It was a blur, but it was, it was cool. Did he talk to you before or after?
4 (23m 1s):
Did he say anything and not before? Not before. I did see like a few of the, you know, like bef and Paul Shaffer and then not see David Letterman until he introduced me. And even then you don't really see him. Like I remember coming out and looking over there and that's a, here's the first time I'd seen him and I'm already nervous now you're performing really like on TV. It looks like you're further apart. He's only really like 10 feet away from you. And I could hear him laugh at a couple of the jokes and that was, you know, you're processing that and trying to remember your next line, you know?
4 (23m 45s):
So it a, yeah, it was, it was cool when I did get the chance to do it a second time or like a year and a half later or a year later. And that time was, it was a difficult time in our life for personal reasons, but I was also like able to enjoy the moment more and like really take it in. Yeah.
3 (24m 6s):
How many times did you like rehearse for Letterman compared to Xannies or some other place around the country? I mean, I got, imagine, you know, you're going, this is my big break. And if I nail this gosh knows. And if I don't, you know, like the pressure you might have felt,
4 (24m 24s):
Oh yeah, I was doing the set. It was like a five minute set. I was running it everywhere. So when you have that set coming up, like I knew, I remember that the date was probably like January 20, third or fourth. So once he hit every night, I was going to Xannies and doing that five minutes set and then I would do it somewhere else to, you know, do it at another Xannies. There's three clubs. At that time, they had three clubs in the Chicago land area. And then, you know, there's a lot of independent rooms and bar shows and I would, you know, call those bookers or whoever's running those rooms and be like, can I pop up for five minutes? And I ran that set everywhere and I still screw it up.
4 (25m 6s):
I still screwed up a line and the actual taping
0 (25m 10s):
1 (25m 15s):
In addition to hosting this podcast, Craig leads the cannon advisory group focused on elevating communication for companies and individuals, company consulting and powering team and individual workshops, mind altering webinars. And Greg's inspiring keynotes for your conference or company meeting. They're all on the menu of services. Can advisory helps companies clarify their message, helps professionals build and showcase their brand and helps everyone present their best selves. So if you're the leader of a team or company looking to give your employees a game changing one day experience or an individual who wants to become a speaker and presenter that gets other people talking visit Ken advisory.com.
1 (26m 5s):
And when you do connect, make sure to mention the tracks to success podcast, to receive a special discount on any of the can advisory services. That's can advisory.com now back to the interview.
3 (26m 24s):
So there's a couple of topics and I've seen you a couple of times that you really go after and it, you know, most comedians probably do. One of them is marriage. I mean, is that just like such an easy target? Why, why does everybody go there?
4 (26m 41s):
I think it's just your it's if you're that's, that's your life, you're a married person. So it's not like I'm railing on marriage per se. I mean, maybe it sounds like I am, I'm just, I'm just airing out the bowl. Like the BS in my relationship, I'm just like the, you know, the blowing through money, the, the, what we're doing all the time, like the, you know, the kids and it's not, that gets easy. I think it is just like, you're just reporting your life experience.
3 (27m 18s):
Yeah. And every guy sitting next to his wife in the audience or guy who's sitting next to his potential wife, or we could flip it. Right. I mean, they're just, their minds are just spinning with you. So it's gotta be just like the easiest thing to go along with.
4 (27m 38s):
Yeah. And I think it's just as long as it's not like too easy, like I never would want to do like the, the hacky, like, yeah, my wife's so exhausting. My boss, like all that. Yeah. You know, take my wife that, that stuff. But I try and like slightly exaggerate the truth, but it has to be rooted in the truth or you can't, you cannot sell it. It's not going to be relatable
3 (28m 11s):
Kids. I mean, that's another easy one because everybody can relate to that. And, and you've got young kids. So you know, some of your bits that I've seen about, you know, the wife waiting to come home, you're watching the kids and we all know that there's such a different dynamic between the woman watching the kids and the guy watching the kids. Right.
4 (28m 34s):
Yeah. I do the bit about, you know, they're always asking me, when am I going to be home? It's like, when I start paying attention, you she's close. Yeah. You know, when I, I don't know, I'm gonna put my phone on the counter. She's in the driveway. Let's go find out how her day was. But I try and do these bits. Like we went to a water park and I was like, this is a disaster. Like, but everybody's there. It's like lemmings. Right? It's like, we all walk off the same cliff as parents. Like we know that we shouldn't be bringing our kids out of state to play a hockey game, but we do it even though they suck and they could be getting beat down the street, we got to take them out of state and stay in a hotel.
4 (29m 18s):
And you want to like jump out a window, but just break your leg. Cause it's, and then there's only three floors. It's a get in all that stuff. Just, you know, there's so much hypocrisy around us. Right? Like that's what life is. It's contradictions. It's all this. And that's pointing out everything. That's just ridiculous. Yeah. So one of my favorite cynical, one of my favorite bits that I've seen from you is the, I think it's the woman over 35 with the open shoulder shirt, right?
4 (29m 58s):
The sleeve on the shoulder. Give me that bit. The open shoulder met the, the cold shoulder, the peekaboo it's like they, every woman has an NA. So they hand them out to you. Once you turn 38, they're like, here's your open children's shirt. Get in line. I'll get out there. Show everyone what you're working with. Now. Every woman's walk around. Hey, check it out, check this out right here. Here's a part of my body. I'm confident about w T checking this out. Yeah. That's really a doctor gives me a shot. That's a tetanus guy right there.
4 (30m 41s):
Oh, wearing those shirts you're talking about. And the new diet that always starts tomorrow, that was catching on their cheat day. But like tomorrow I'm starting to detox and doing a cleanse. I got some Apple cider vinegar and some chia seeds. I'm drinking coffee. You want to do it with me? It's like a 10 day. It's like, no, I don't want to do it. I'm not doing it. Like they want to like, get up dairy, no more dairy for me. Like how about no more peanut butter cups still Wednesday. Why don't we give that a shot before we throw out all the milk and half and half, we already paid for it. So it's easy to pick on the wives or the husbands or the in-laws right. Or the kids. Do your kids think you're funny.
4 (31m 22s):
I mean, my kids never watched me on TV. They they'd like blow that off, you know, whatever do, do they think you're funny. My daughter does. My daughter is eight and she doesn't get all the jokes. But Like, she, like, they think I'm funny in the house. Like, I'll do goofy stuff or say things. They don't get a lot of it. But do think my daughter is like more like on the same page. So my boys are just kinda like, you know, they're just, they're just idiots, these little dudes. They're just like, whatever. I mean, they're not idiots.
4 (32m 5s):
They're just like, they don't get it. They don't give a crap about me. They're just like chasing each other around, tackling each other. It's hilarious. It's like, you could see it early. The difference. Right? I mean, my daughter is like so organized and so like, Perfect. Then I got these mopes, literally playing grab ass. Like I thought grab ass was like just a, like a, I don't know where that came from. I remember my coach being like that. You guys playing grab it? My boys, I walked in, they were literally trying to grab each other's ass. Like, what the hell are you guys doing?
3 (32m 46s):
So when I was at golf channel, I would go to parties, right. With couples or friends. And everybody wants to talk about tiger. Like, you're the cool guy. You go to this major championship. You're at the masters. Or, Hey, you went to the Ryder cup. What was it? Like, whatever. You can't escape it. When you go, everybody wants to talk about that stuff. So is that what it is? That what happens? Pat? People come up and go give it to us. And you're on stage. Whether you're trying to have a drink or hang out with friends or what?
4 (33m 14s):
No. I mean, that's the worst when people do that, people, I don't know. Sometimes it will say like, Oh, your comics say something funny or be funny. You know, that whole thing, it makes you like shrivel up. You're like, but I do. I'm a social guy. I like to be around people. And, but I'm not holding court by any means or trying to what I do like to, you know, and this is where you get material. When you go out with people and you see things, you talk about other stuff and you hear what other people are experiencing. Like, I kinda like those situations because I don't get to do them often. Cause I'm always doing shows. So I don't get to go out and socialize with my wife and our crew.
4 (33m 56s):
My wife usually has to go to that stuff by herself. So when I'm kind of socially awkward now I used to be better in social situations. But it's like, you get out of practice. Yeah. Okay.
3 (34m 9s):
No, I didn't even think about that. I mean, you're traveling the road shows are what? Thursday? Friday, Saturday, you know you're so you're up the Creek.
4 (34m 20s):
Yeah. I'm like, I, I realize how much I've been traveling the last like year and a half, two years. It's been, it's been insane. So it's, it's been, you know, it's good to add a little stretch at home every now and then
3 (34m 34s):
Pat McGann comedian is our guest on this edition of tracks to success. Tracks to success is brought to you by presentation partners, visual storytellers, passionate about connecting presenters with their audience. All right. We talked about Letterman. Give me the story about the late show with Stephen Colbert. That had to be fun as well.
4 (34m 56s):
Oh, that was another great experience. And you know, back at the ed Sullivan theater, they had really changed it up. I didn't anticipate like the dressing rooms are on a different floor and they redid the whole thing to make it their own. Which, which makes sense. I just didn't really foresee that. So it was a really different experience, but awesome. You know, and you know, what's cool about that show. I was so relaxed and like ready that, you know, my wife wasn't out there. I was a total different thing. Like I had no family there, no friends really. So I do the set and or before I do set, they had like a special John Stewart parents on my, on my episode.
4 (35m 44s):
So when I, when I went out there to like, get my Mark, they, they show you like, are you going to come out here and stand on this X? I'm seeing John Stewart. I didn't expect to see him there. Cause I saw who the guests were and then the dressing rooms they're all right next to each other. And I was right next to Sean Aston, which is cool. Right? You're like, no, this is Rudy. This is Mikey from Goonies. Like those things are cool. Like that first Letterman I did, Kevin bacon was, Oh, wow. Like having those like be intersecting crossing paths with those people, you know? So he also did some cool, which kind of worked against me, I think. But the night of the Cole bear show, they had like three guests. They had the John Stewart pop up and they had Carol Burnett, but they, Carol Burnett was not on my episode, but they taped it that night because they were airing it for like a special that she was doing like a week later.
4 (36m 38s):
So they did like a two segment interview with her. So by the time I got out there, this crowd had been sitting there for close to three hours, which is not, which is not great for a comic. So I think that kinda like, you know, worked against me a little bit. I still I'm proud of the set and like, like the set, but just being there. And like, when I walked on
7 (37m 5s):
For that set, Harold Burnett was literally walking right past me. And that was all right. I'm happy to be here and just going to be out right. Just good to be out. Got kids at home. My wife and I have three, three under four. Yeah. That's how people react. Some people ask me what it's like. Here's a fast fact. 75% of the assets I wipe aren't mine Got one in preschool, one in pre preschool. Do you know that existed? Pre preschool? My wife's like, he wants to go. We got to sign him up. He wants to go to school. So he wants to go to school. He doesn't know what school is. He wants to go to school, just walk them out to the garage and be like, here we are. This is our first day.
7 (37m 46s):
This is a broom right here. We learn how to sweep today. He might be gifted. That's my wife says like, yeah, he was eating a cran yesterday, a purple one hook like you after a glass of wine, Sometimes we'll take one. You know, I'll take one. My wife will take one kind of divide and conquer. She took my daughter out the other night and then sends me a text and we're staying out. But you guys have some boy time. It just leaves me with the two little dudes. Like really the little guy doesn't even know. He's a boy boy time. Right? Text me when you're close. So I get rid of all the strippers and blow
6 (38m 18s):
7 (38m 20s):
Boy. Where did, do you guys wanna watch a game? Throw the ball around. I know you want to stand on that chair and flick the light switch on and off. What do you want to get into? I'll take all the Kleenex out of the box one by one. That's awesome. No, don't worry about just stuffing back in there. I'm just happy to be hanging out with the fellas.
3 (38m 37s):
How easy is it to pick on people in the audience? Do you look for it? Do you try to target somebody and go, I'm going to have some fun with this guy,
8 (38m 47s):
Right? Not I used to, I used, you know, I started as a, as a host at zany. So I was like the house MC. So every night I was, we were doing 12 shows a week and I would do a ton of crowd work. They wanted you to work the crowd, you know, start coming out and being like, is anyone from out of town, anyone celebrating anything? And I would start to lean into people a little bit. And now I only do it. If they bring attention to themselves to show they interrupt the show or they're land, or sometimes if I'm bored or I might be, you know, I might've tried a new bit and I'm processing like, okay, that kind of went okay. Or, you know, you're kind of thinking in real time like that it's not going to work or that could be like enhanced, like build on that.
8 (39m 36s):
In those moments. I might lose my footing and where I want to go next. And I might do some crowd work, like, you know, and I only do that in the clubs, you know, when I'm opening for Sebastian and we're traveling and doing theaters and these are redoes and I don't do any crowd work. Yeah.
3 (39m 54s):
Yeah. I, I asked that because, and I know you don't know tons about golf on the PGA tour, but if you talk to PGA tour players, they will tell you that on Wednesday in the Pro-Am right where people pay big bucks to go play with the pro and all that sort of stuff on Wednesday, there's always that one guy who thinks he's really good and he can like beat the professional and the tour pro loves that because they think, yeah, who's this guy. Okay. Yeah. There's is there somebody in the crowd usually that tries to go toe to toe? I mean, you've got a story of some guy that thinks he's fired in you.
8 (40m 27s):
There's definitely that guy. There's that guy. He's not at every show, but he's, he pops up a lot and that guy does this, that guy will try to add to your joke, yell something out that might be somewhat related to it, but never in the right direction. You know, they derail things. And then this is where that guy really sucks is after the show, that guy comes up to you and says, Hey man, that was me. That was so fun tonight, man. Like thinking that they added to the show that they made it better
3 (41m 10s):
And they ruined it for themselves. And so what's your reply to them. Hey, thanks a lot, buddy. I really appreciated you coming here. Her bring five friends the next time or what?
8 (41m 18s):
Yeah, exactly. It's like, dude, I don't. And then you, you, you just can't even like, pretend you just gotta be like, Oh yeah, like just get away.
3 (41m 28s):
They say, when you have a good idea, write it down immediately because you never remember it the same way later. So you write
8 (41m 34s):
Your own stuff, right? I mean, you're driving around. Do you pull over and you write down your jokes. Is that accurate for how a stand up comedian works? Where do you, where do you do that? I do do that. I, I will write stuff in my phone or voice record an idea, jot, you know, just notes, like things. And then maybe, you know, revisit them later. It might be a premise or something, but I don't do it as much as I used to. And I, and I have found that if it's really funny, you probably are not going to forget. It might. You might.
8 (42m 14s):
I think you more like, forget like a little tags or little things that you add to jokes, but like an overall idea or a theme. Like you just, you probably gonna be like, Oh, I do want to sit down and flesh that idea out or start rambling about that on stage, which I'm, my process is kind of evolving too. I used to be very much write, write, write, write in the notebook, trim it, have it really tight. And then I found that I wasn't sounding as conversational as I wanted to like just having a conversation with the audience. I think that's like the goal like that. You're it seems like they're just talking with you, but it's a very one sided conversation obviously.
8 (43m 1s):
And then, so I started, I started just kind of like trying stuff onstage and trying to let it come out naturally. So let's do a little quick rapid fire. Give me the night you remember as your best, is there something that stands out one night that you go, you kind of went back to your hotel room or you said, man, that was amazing. Well, I've been handed some really unbelievable opportunities by opening for Sebastian Maniscalco and the crowds that he is getting. They're so excited to see him. I mean, they are juiced, we did four shows at Madison square garden that he sold out.
8 (43m 45s):
I just did the United center with them in November. And that was like a homecoming for me. You know, he's from here too. People were so excited. So it's like, there are so many great shows. I think that there was a night in Pittsburgh that we did. And again, I'm just as open or doing 20 minutes. So it's like, I judge these separately. I judge those shows separate from like my own shows, but we did a show in Pittsburgh and for whatever reason, it was just like a magical night, but there's those happen? You know, every now and then, like not more than every now and then, cause those crowds are so juiced.
8 (44m 33s):
The good ones, hopefully they're there. They're all pretty good. You know, it's, it's the bad ones that stand out. Sometimes you're just like, Oh my God, that was, that was brutal. Hate. Imagine did a show with Sebastian recently. And I think it was a Kipsy New York and we were doing six shows over the weekend and I liked those anchor down weekends where we're in one city, one hotel and the first show I was like really fired up about. And they were just not in the me that much. Like I kind kinda got them at the end, but like, those are the ones that you just kinda like, ah, you want to like take a shower after it's like, just feel like deflated.
3 (45m 23s):
It's interesting because, and I wouldn't have known that, you know, one great show with the same guy, right? You're you're traveling the same show. You're in Chicago, you're at mirrors, Madison square garden. Amazing. And then you're in a smaller town and it, and it's maybe it's maybe it's the community. Maybe it's the people.
8 (45m 41s):
Oh yeah. I mean, that's the thing like with him, I'm not a draw like he is at all. So I'll be with him and it's like bananas and then I'll do a club on my own and like good morning Thursday or a Sunday night. And you know, there could be some great shows in Des Moines, Iowa, but on Sunday night there might only be 30 people come out and you're kind of like, Oh boy, this is, this is what I remember. This is really comedy. Like I'm so spoiled living in this like Sebastian world. And then I get these reminders of what what's really out there, you know? So what do you do? Like how you give me a rapid fire segment and I just answer for 30 minutes.
3 (46m 23s):
No, I love it. It's good. You gave me the best city in the country that you've been to take away. Take away Chicago, take away Madison square garden, best city that nobody knows about that. You're like, man, I'd do comedy there every night.
8 (46m 36s):
Madison. Wisconsin's a great town. That's all. I love Madison, Wisconsin. I like grand Rapids, Michigan. Like there's some great like B cities. I loved Vancouver, Canada, Expensive city. By the way, Vancouver, is it? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. You don't want to live. There's great cities though.
3 (47m 3s):
Okay. So that part of it is all really cool joke bombs. And what do you do? Like there's people that do presentations or public speaking and, and they're always so fearful right? Of cause by the way, I don't know if you know this, but number one, fear among all Americans in a survey is, is public speaking. And number two is death, which makes me laugh because it suggests that somebody would rather be buried six feet underground than be above ground talking about the life they had before they got buried. I never understand that. But your joke bombs, what do you do?
8 (47m 39s):
I think you just got to own it. Either you go right into the next thing or you call it out. Like, that's always like, that's the biggest thing in public speaking. And I see that the presentations or you know, Bennett services where like people get up and they don't recognize the obvious. Like you got to call out whatever elephant is in the room always. And that's just like an instant connector. And it relaxes everyone because I do a lot of corporate gigs. So I see speakers often. And sometimes they're like brought in. Sometimes they're just employees of the company and you can tell a difference when people aren't connecting and they're not connecting.
3 (48m 23s):
We're talking with Pat McGann, Pat, a few more things before I let you go. Here's here's the thing tied to what we were just talking about. I coach executives and teams about presentation, how to own a room and the art of connection and quick engagement. You know how you hook people and you can use all these different tactics. And there's a bunch of different ones. One of them is humor, but I always tell people, you gotta be really, really careful about this because if you start with humor and you're not funny, you're swimming upstream. It's really difficult to get the engagement and get it, get an audience back. So for you, I mean, you're a funny guy to begin with, but I'm guessing that the first 30 seconds for you walking up on that stage in front of people is your most critical.
3 (49m 6s):
Is that fair?
8 (49m 7s):
Oh yeah. You definitely have to get off the ground early. The longer it takes to get off the ground, the it's just like a Gets, gets worse. It snowballs, you got to get that first laugh. You know? Because like, if you don't, your average stuff becomes really bad and your great stuff becomes pretty good. You know what I'm saying? Like you've got to, yeah, you have to connect immediately. People do not have, this is obvious, right? People just do not have the attention span that they used to have. So Comedy audiences usually, if they don't know who you are and most people do not know who I am.
8 (49m 56s):
They, you gotta like get out there and punch him in the mouth. Like immediately get their attention.
3 (50m 2s):
Average attention span is eight seconds, eight seconds. I tell people that I go, you know, that's not a lot of time. I had a guy raised his hand and one of my seminars, he goes, I'm here to tell you eight seconds is a lot of time. I go really? He says, yeah, I was a professional bull rider for like 15 years. Let me tell you eight seconds. So everybody laughs right. Good line by that guy. But in that I hear ya. And you were talking about trying to do things that, that get people. You kinda just said, people don't know you. I disagree. I know yet you're memorable to me. And I have this saying that master storytellers create legions of followers.
3 (50m 44s):
So you got me. Right. But how big is it to have a following for you? How do you try to grow that? Do you have a philosophy?
8 (50m 53s):
I don't really have a philosophy. I have a, And, and it's, and it's like probably been to my detriment a little bit. I've always thought that if I'm just a really good comic that it will just happen, but there are so many great comics that it has not happened for in terms of Huge success. Now I say that being very happy with where I'm at in my career and you know, I still live in Chicago, so I haven't made the move to New York or LA. And that, you know, I can't say that, you know, I've put everything into it simply just that alone.
8 (51m 35s):
I never moved to New York or LA. But Now as I feel like I'm talking about things that people are connecting to and relating with. That's how I'm getting followers, word of mouth, doing great shows and just putting content out there. I've realized how important social media is. When I got into this, I didn't get into it to do social media. I got into it to do stand up comedy. And then the social media thing exploded. And then you have to pivot into that world. And that took a while as well to try and get that going.
8 (52m 19s):
And I'm still not the best at that. So it's like, I ran away from business to do this like hobby. And I'm finding out that it's just as much a business like this is Yeah, you have to really hustle. People are out here working hard and the most successful people that I've come across, as I've gotten to know that they are work demons, they are obsessed. They are relentless. And that's that's I think what it takes to be great.
3 (52m 55s):
You talked about the social media following and I want to go back to the popup comedy that you did in your house during the Corona virus and everybody on lockdown. Perfect example. Right? Cause you put it all over Instagram, you got it on Twitter and, and your kids. It's so funny because you know, you'd walk into the room, holding a microphone and the same kid, I don't know which kid it is cause I'm metric kids, but same kid screams. Every single time you click off the TV, how did you come up with this whole thing? And your wife by the way is pretty funny.
8 (53m 25s):
Oh yeah. Oh, thank you. Yeah.
3 (53m 26s):
She is funny. So we did, I was, you know, when I got sidelined from the live shows, I was home after that first week. Like, cause I don't go five days without being on stage. I was like, I just missed the in shows. So I just let her, I was like looking for things. I had posted a couple of things at the beginning of the quarantine and I, and they were fine. And then I did, I was like, let me try this pop up show. And then it just seemed like after I did it, like this could just be like a refillable. Like it's got a beginning, middle and end. It's got like the beginning, like when I turn the TV off and they scream like, and I always catch them off guard. Like they that's a real response when they're doing that.
3 (54m 9s):
So once I started posting those, it just kind of snowballed. And you know, at times was like, can I do this again at, or should I do this again? Cause it gets to be a little bit exhausting. There are many nights I was looking forward to it. Like, Hey, I got a couple of good ideas for tonight and I want to tell these jokes, but I'm sure your kids are looking forward to it. This is the way, the way I dealt with denial. Yeah. All right, let's get this out of the way before I ask my final question. Where can people find your stuff? Website? YouTube, maybe obviously on the road at, at shows and whatnot or in Chicago, but give us your Twitter handle your Instagram and your website.
8 (54m 54s):
So Twitter is at McGann. Pat Instagram is at McGahn underscore Pat, and then I'm going to have a website, Pam again, covid.com. What's cool about this. Craig is good timing. You want to check out my special? I take the special that Sebastian Maniscalco actually is producing. He produced it. We shot it here in Chicago at the Vic theater. We did a couple shows and I got a special out of it that I'm excited for people to see. And it's going to come out, I believe July 1st. So it might be on already right now, July 1st. Not quite maybe. Okay. So July one and I'm pretty sure it's going to be on Amazon, but it's going to be on a bunch of different platforms, including Apple TV.
8 (55m 40s):
And so we're kind of working out where exactly it's going to be, but it's going to be July one. And if you follow me on social media, you will definitely know where it is. Alright. I'm so excited for him to see it.
3 (55m 53s):
This is called tracks to success. That's what this podcast is called. And I say inspiring people, inspiring stories. We've talked about your journey. You have a unique career and an interesting path, biggest advice you could give to people in any walk based on your journey to being a sought after entertainer. And I do say sought after what advice do you give people about their path?
8 (56m 19s):
I, you know, not to sound like cliche, but if you something that you're passionate about, whether you monetize it or not, I think it will bring you happiness. I think you can measure success a lot of different ways. Just I think being yourself, which is so hard to do, right? To be your true self and just put time in whatever. I don't want to tell people to work hard because that doesn't come natural to a lot of people, but just putting time in to some passion. And again, it doesn't have to be something you monetize. I just think it brings a lot of joy doing that.
3 (56m 58s):
Well, you're a Chicago guy prior to Chicago. I'm a Chicago guy, loved the city, sr Xannies. As we talked about, saw you in Vegas, I guarantee I'm going to come find you again someplace and everybody else should as well. It's it's been a pleasure to have you and to all our listeners go find Pat McGann, Pat, be safe. Thanks so much for the time. Really appreciate it. Thanks for having me, Greg, take care
2 (57m 28s):
In our conversation. Pat shared stories about standing in front of an audience and the goal of owning the stage, which leads me to my one last thing. If you want to be an influencer, realize that being a good to great presenter is one of the biggest gifts among great leaders in any profession. It's not just what you say to people. It's how you say it. And more importantly, how you make people feel in my workshops. One of the key focal points is the time spent crafting your personal story and then the opportunity to deliver it to an audience. How we connect our stories is a direct lead to how relatable you are and what people will say about you.
2 (58m 9s):
So when you're faced with your next presentation, think about connecting with those in front of you. It's more important than the words or the information you deliver. I hope these thoughts and the things we discussed in this interview helped put you on the track to success. If you have a guest, you think belongs on tracks to success, go ahead and share it on our Twitter site at tracks to success. I can't wait to hear from you until next time I'm Craig can. Thanks for listening.
1 (58m 45s):
You've been listening to tracks to success, brought to you by presentation partners, visual storytellers, passionate about connecting presenters with their audience. Don't forget to subscribe to the show for more great interviews and thoughts on reaching your highest personal and professional summit. You can follow Craig on Twitter and Instagram using the handle at Craig can and for exclusive tracks to success, content and news about our upcoming guests, you can find tracks to success on Twitter. It's at tracks to success.