By Denise Ortuno Neil
It is widely known and accepted that laughter can be instrumental in brightening the mood of the masses; relieving stress and enticing those feel good hormones to come to the surface. But what if laughter came with a nice shot of knowledge as well? With so many comedians going for the laugh without substance, Haddon Libby has decided to take a different route with his brand of comedy. His goal is to enlighten through humor, to educate, inform and entertain.
Originally from Portland, Maine, Libby graduated from Northwestern University and as a result, has had an illustrious career in banking spanning decades. He has worked in upper echelon in the banking world including, The Bank of New York, Bank of America as well as other institutions and also as a private banker for celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Ed McMahon. Libby’s area of expertise extends to working as a credit analyst, investment banker, cash management specialist, CFO and private banker.
Libby eventually moved to Los Angeles where he continued his banking career. He also had an art gallery where he met several celebrities and comedians, including Louie Anderson. Anderson and Libby became friends and at one point Anderson offered to help mentor Libby in becoming a comic, noticing Libby’s natural comedic talent. At the time, Libby declined the generous offer, but comedy was waiting in the wings.
Libby is no stranger to comedy, having been in the mist of it during and after college. The witty banker even had a radio show in his college years. He was even once on the brink of working as a writer for SNL back in New York. He continued to surround himself with people in the industry; somehow it just worked out that way.
Libby came to the Coachella Valley in 2002, where he moved forward in banking. Besides his progressive career, he also was part of the boards of many organizations in the desert including, The Palm Springs International Film Festival, The Living Desert and currently is the CFO of the LA Quinta Arts Foundation. He also writes for CV Weekly about issues in the political and economic arena.
In 2011, Libby came under fire with the city of Indian Wells after confronting city council members with probing questions about possible corruptive behavior. Libby’s employer, First Foundation Bank and the city of Indian Wells were rattled by the situation and as a consequence, Libby was released of his position at First Foundation Bank. But the outcome has given Libby fodder for his comedy, a way to bring political problems to light through it.
Since the Indian Wells incident, in 2012 Libby helped start up Share Kitchen in Cathedral City with Angela Janus. The non-profit organization helps startup food businesses get up and running, “In the past 18 months we have helped 27 new businesses get started,” said Libby.
It was just several weeks back that comedy came knocking again at Libby’s door. He was back stage with a friend at The Comedy Store when he was approached by a show promoter to perform, and although he resisted at first, the persistence of the promoter paid off and Libby finally agreed.
He has two shows in Los Angeles coming up this month called “Kleptocrats and Dog Food”, one at 8pm on Thursday, June 19th at the Coagula Curatorial and one on Wednesday, June 25th at The Comedy Store. Libby’s shows will be filled with his take on his own political views including the Indian Wells incident; it will also be intertwined with the comedy of his life experience.
Libby explains that a Kleptocrat is a person in government who gets rich from a position of power, an act that he is passionately against. He likens his comedy to that of Steven Colbert and John Stewart, “With their comedy, people will digest more hard information if you make it funny,” said Libby. And in a world where the public is more inclined to watch reality shows than actually live in reality, perhaps a little enlightenment through humor is just what we need. Break a leg Haddon!!
For more information about Share Kitchen visit www.sharekitchen.org
For more information about the show, contact firstname.lastname@example.org