Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Gordon.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Sam. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I always knew I wanted to be a performer but it took a long time to figure out how I wanted to do it. In grade school, I was part of a children’s musical theater troupe where I played the evil queen in pretty much every fairy tale and when I was 14 I started interning at a local radio station in the Chicago suburbs. I spent about six years doing radio, freelance music reviews and interviewing bands when one day, I stopped seeing bands every weekend and started hanging out at comedy shows instead. I was just a super fan that didn’t think I could ever write my own set until an OkCupid date took me to an open mic (which to this day it is the bravest thing I have ever witnessed) and I decided that if they could do it, so could I. The date didn’t work out but a few days later I went to two open mics in one night and now I have been doing stand-up for almost 5 years.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have been lucky enough to have had more highs than lows but like any woman trying to break into a male-dominated industry, it has been challenging. Comedy is full of people who don’t think women belong and over the years, I have burned bridges with a handful of venues because of sexist behavior and poor responses to harassment. But the great thing about comedy is that even the most important venue in a city is only important in that particular city. There will always be other places to perform and even though it felt like a loss at first, I’d rather lose negative spaces and make the effort to work in venues that make everyone feel respected.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Windy Peach Comedy story. Tell us more about it.
Windy Peach is a comedy resource made up of live shows, comedy classes and original video content that I created after moving to Atlanta from Chicago. Through Windy Peach, I run an open mic, teach comedy writing classes with Highwire Comedy Co. and run several comedy shows. It also produces Sam Gordon Vs, a monthly talk show where I go “head to head” with a subject using live segments and video sketches. I recently partnered with Don’t Tell Comedy, a pop-up comedy show based out of L.A. that creates secret shows all over the country and Windy Peach just launched Peach Pitch, a free writers workshop for aspiring comedy writers to bounce ideas off of each other, collaborate and socialize. I sincerely believe that a rising tide floats all ships and using my resources to build up the comedy community is my main priority.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Most of what I have accomplished as a comedian has been a combination of luck and being ready. There is a saying that success is where preparation and opportunity meet and the longer I try to “make it” as a comic, the more I see how that is true. There is no clear path to becoming a successful comedian and the only thing you can actually control is your work. It can be incredibly discouraging but if you keep making things you care about and putting them out there, people will notice. Luck factors into which opportunities come along but it’s useless to be lucky if you aren’t prepared to deliver.
As far as bad luck… well, the two years before I moved to Atlanta were two of the most challenging and unlucky years of my life. I lost a friend, got fired from four different jobs, had a breakup and was sexually assaulted by another comedian. That bout of bad luck made me a lot more empathetic and has been part of my motivation curate a safer comedy community. As hard as those experiences were, they were also a catalyst for me to reclaim the direction my life was going and move on to bigger things.