Barry Katz (@barrykatz) is a talent manager, producer, and podcaster (Industry Standard) who has discovered and represented some of your favorite comedians including Dave Chappelle, Whitney Cummings, Jay Mohr, Bill Burr, Wanda Sykes, Nick Swardson, Tracy Morgan, Darrell Hammond, and Louis C.K.
What We Discuss with Barry Katz:
- Discover what it takes to be one of the best talent evaluators in America and how we can begin to hone the subset of skills we need to find the best in others.
- Uncover why most people, even high-achievers, overcomplicate winning, and what we can do to simplify our mindset while ensuring we’re doing the right type of work to master our craft.
- Explore some of the lessons Barry has learned from his clients, and how we can apply these lessons from comedy and high-profile careers to our own lives.
- Talent versus hard work.
- How to really get your resume noticed (in show business or otherwise).
- And much more…
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Barry Katz is a talent manager, producer, and podcaster who has discovered and represented many comedians including Dave Chappelle, Jay Mohr, Anthony Clark, Bill Burr, Wanda Sykes, Nick Swardson, Dane Cook, Tracy Morgan, Frank Caliendo, Darrell Hammond, Whitney Cummings, and Louis C.K. He can also be found hosting the Industry Standard podcast.
Barry joins us to discuss rejection, self-doubt, “complicating winning,” work versus talent, being broken, and what it takes to make your mark in the world of comedy. Barry’s years of recognizing the innate talent in people and helping them reach the upper echelons of show business give him some unique perspectives to share with us, so listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll down for Full Show Notes and Featured Resources!
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More About This Show
Talent manager Barry Katz began his entertainment career as a standup comedian, but the inconsistency was maddening.
“I think that I love standup, and I loved doing it, and I was able to go on stage and get laughs,” says Barry. “I never had a problem with that. What bothered me was standup is almost like you’re a surfer and the audience are the ocean and the waves. There’s no two waves and no two audiences that are the same.
“What would happen is I would go on and I’d kill. And I’d be like, ‘Wow, this is amazing!’ And then the next night I’d go on and do very good, but then there’d be certain jokes that they didn’t get. And the next night I’d kill again. And the next night would be just okay. And the next night I’d bomb and there’d be crickets and tumbleweeds flying around. I’d be like, ‘What happened? I’m doing the same thing! And psychologically, I didn’t like that. I felt like I didn’t have as much control over the art form as I wanted to have because it was me and one mic working with a group of people that could be 50, it could be 100, it could be 1,000, and to me that was psychologically difficult to handle.”
Barry found he far preferred the nights when he’d book other comedians but he himself could stay in the audience, out of the spotlight, and just enjoy the show.
“I feel better when I’m doing things for them,” he says. “I feel better when I’m creating opportunities for them because then I control the variables and they go in and they have to figure out how to win! I don’t have to figure out how to win. I’ve done my job. I’ve gotten them where they need to go. I’ve created the opportunity, and it’s up to them to either take that opportunity and crack open the door and kick it in, or just gently knock on the door.”
One of those comedians was an 18-year-old Dave Chappelle.
A Knack for Evaluating Talent
While Barry didn’t set out to be a talent evaluator, he seems to have a knack for spotting comedians who have the undefinable “it” quality that propels them into household name status — though he’s the first to admit that his ability is just as undefinable.
“I’d love to tell you that it’s a skill that I went to school for,” says Barry,” and that I killed myself studying for. But what I found when I started getting into comedy, something started happening to me and, again, it’s hard to quantify because if I tell you and your audience, you’re going to think I’m crazy. But it was like this sixth sense — almost psychic thing that was happening to me — and I don’t know why it was happening then.”
The first time he remembers it happening was when a polite, young, soft-spoken comedian named Bobcat Goldthwait introduced himself backstage just before Barry was set to perform. The audience loved Barry, but Bobcat got a standing ovation.
“White comedians in comedy clubs that do showcases do not get standing ovations!” says Barry. “And I saw this kid and I said to myself — and him — ‘You’re going to be a huge star!'”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how Barry helped Bobcat get more shows (and find a place to live), what connecting an 18-year-old Louis C.K. with Jerry Seinfeld did for the young comedian’s career, what Dave Chappelle remembers about their first meeting, how Sarah Silverman lost his car, overcoming adversities, what happiness means for Barry today, the psychology of rejection, how to really get your resume noticed, how most of us are guilty of overcomplicating winning to some degree, talent versus hard work, and much more.
THANKS, BARRY KATZ!
If you enjoyed this session with Barry Katz, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at [email protected].
Resources from This Episode:
- Industry Standard podcast
- Barry Katz’s website
- Barry Katz at Facebook
- Barry Katz at YouTube
- Barry Katz at Twitter
- Bobcat Goldthwait’s TV Debut (Age 19)
- Louis C.K. Standup 1987
- Josh Blue on Last Comic Standing
- The Dead Zone
- Dave Chappelle Standup 1993
- Misery Loves Comedy
- 3:10 to Yuma
- Tamborine with Chris Rock