David Moore is a graduate of the Harvard Business School. He was the CEO of Register.com, a founding investor of Marqui Jet, on the Board of CBS Marketwatch and is now a private equity investor. Oh yeah – and he's also a stand up comedian.
David has opened for Saturday Night Live comedians Daryl Hammond and Gilbert Gottfried, and shared the stage with prominent comedians like Sarah Silverman and Judy Gold. He has performed in front of a thousand people at corporate events and over five thousand people in Central Park. So, do they teach a class in stand up comedy at Harvard? Not exactly.
Along with having a mind for finance, Moore admits he was always a good public speaker and "reasonably funny." A fan of stand up comedy, he would seize any opportunity to make funny speeches at friends' weddings or birthday parties. He developed a reputation and his friends started pushing him to try his hand at comedy. Moore finally relented about eight years ago when one of his friends saw an advertisement for a Jewish amateur comedy night at one of the comedy clubs in New York City. "I was very nervous," Moore admits, "but I got a lot of compliments afterwards."
He took a tape of his performance and sent it to the new talent scout at Caroline's Comedy club. "I didn't hear anything from him. I was upset because I thought he would book me as a headliner," Moore jokes. But after a couple of months, he finally received "the call." They booked him for his first show and ever since, he was hooked.
Initially, Moore wasn't having the success he had hoped for – his act was "in the red." So like any good businessman he sought out the advice of outside consultants and what they told him was that he had to find out "who he was." It didn't take long before he abandoned the jeans and relationship humor, for a suit and tie and jokes about being a businessman, because after all – that's who he was. So for example, after a slew of young comics -- all casually dressed --had had their turn at the microphone, Moore would come on stage and say self deprecatingly, "I know what you guys are thinking, 'who changed the channel to CNBC?'"
"I know what you guys are thinking, 'who changed the channel to CNBC?'"
He was still telling jokes, but it was through the prism of being a businessman. "I'm concerned that my daughter is starting to emulate me," Moore says in his act. "She no longer has imaginary friends, she has imaginary employees." Moore continues, "My son's the same way. For his birthday this year, he wanted the Warren Buffet action figure."
Even though most of his humor is geared towards any audience, he does have some industry specific humor. At a recent hedge fund awards dinner Moore said, "I heard recently that New York City just had a four hundred billion dollar surplus this year. But I have one question for Mayor Michael Bloomberg: is that before or after the management fee?" Likewise, Moore says that he recently performed for the German financial conglomerate Deutsche Bank. When his rabbi protested, Moore responded, "Rabbi, what's the problem? They gave me a big chunk of money and a painting that used to belong to my grandfather."
Even though the Deutsche Bank joke is business related, Moore insists that it goes over surprisingly well in the comedy clubs. Perhaps in part, it is because the joke perfectly reflects who David Moore is. "I am a businessman and I am Jewish. I talk about both in my act."
"I am a businessman and I am Jewish. I talk about both in my act."
For example, Moore tells audiences that he is more religious than his wife, although she is trying to come around. "My wife's favorite holiday is Halloween but she tries to make me feel more comfortable by calling it CHHHHaloween." He also talks about his in-laws' Passover seder which is a little bit too non traditional for his liking. "They send out printed invitations to thousands of their friends inviting them to celebrate the '4000th Anniversary of the ten plagues.' The seder has gotten so big that 2 years ago the bouncers had to turn Elijah away at the door."
Although he jokes about his Jewish heritage, Moore actually takes it very seriously. He is on the Board of Trustees at his synagogue and on the board of directors of Aish HaTorah NY. He's very close with the executive director of Aish NY, Rabbi Yitz Greenman. "I love Yitz," gushes Moore. "When you talk about someone crossing from one discipline to another he's the poster child. I'm a third stringer and he's Michael Jordan. He combines knowledge and commitment in both the secular and religious worlds and it's been an honor learning from and with him."
David Moore finds himself at a unique intersection to answer two commonly asked questions: why are Jews so funny, and why are Jews so good in business? To Moore it comes down to one thing: hard work. "The reason why Jews are good in business is because we have been focused on education, on studying hard." Being a successful stand up comedian according to Moore also requires hard work. "There's a basic level of humor and ability and to write and present that you need, but the rest of it is work. You have to be willing to perform at odd hours with 4 weirdos in the back of the bar over and over to get better. You have to be willing to work hard if you want to become a stand up comedian." Moore ads, "Oh, and you need a very patient and tolerant wife like I have."