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Marketplace Morning Report

My money story: Comedian Jimmy Pardo

Nick White Jul 16, 2014
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Every week, we have someone tell us their story about money. This week, comedian Jimmy Pardo talks about why chasing your dream isn’t a choice, it’s an inevitability. It can also ruin you financially.

“The brass ring when you work in a record store is to work at a record label.”

Jimmy Pardo grabbed it. 

“I was lucky enough to get offered one of those jobs for MCA records making a crazy amount of money for a kid who was 21- or 22-years-old.

But it wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life.

“So I walked away from it to do stand-up comedy full-time,” says Pardo.” That was what I had to do. It was like if I didn’t do this something would be wrong. “

It was a huge adjustment.

“[I would] drive all over the country to make $100 a night which then after gas whatever ended up being about $30 a night. And it wasn’t good.”

The worst part is that Pardo says he didn’t modify his budget to fit his new lifestyle. He says that, for example, he still had a $600 car payment.“Which was insane! … I just found myself getting deeper and deeper into debt.”

So Pardo reluctantly took another big leap. “In 1998, I declared backruptcy,” he says. “I didn’t have a choice, I was drowning.” 

Pardo’s in much better shape these days. He’s recorded several comedy albums, is a regular on Conan on TBS and hosts a successful and award-winning podcast called Never Not Funny.  He doesn’t appear regret the risks he took. 

“Now, having a son myself I would obviously never stop him from pursuing his dream,” says Pardo without hesitation. “Again, it’s not something you have a choice over. You have to just do it. When you’re an entertainer I don’t think you have a choice.”

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