Business Plan Review: A look back on Q2 2012

I manage my comedy career like a business, setting clearly defined goals, broken down by milestones deadlined accordingly.


I recently read an article about companies in Silicon Valley changing their direction, or pivoting, when things weren’t working out or when new opportunities arose. Instagram, which was sold to Facebook for a billion dollars, is one such company that pivoted and went in a different direction which obviously worked out for them.

Over the past few months, my goals have changed drastically. When I started in October, I wanted to land a 20-minute headline set at Yuk Yuk’s (Toronto’s major comedy club) by December. Yeah…that didn’t happen. But I didn’t know any better. I didn’t realize that it took as much as ten years for people to land a headliner spot.

In February, my goals were to:

  • Stand-up: Play all major clubs in Toronto.
  • Stand-up: Develop a killer five, seven, then ten minute set
  • Social Media: 100k blog followers, 3k subscribers, and 10k twitter followers
  • Social Media: Get featured on all major Toronto publications

So none of that really happened. But that’s ok! Time to pivot…

New Goal: Become A Natural Born Killer

It feels like I’m bussing a nut, when I open ya up?’ Damn those are some hard lyrics…(1:30)

One of my old bosses from my IT days said that it was very difficult to focus on more than three goals, and he was right. I also realized that my social media goal of having a lot of subscribers wasn’t exactly what I wanted. In addition, I realized that developing a killer five, seven, and ten minute set wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do.

My new goal is to become a killer comedian. By that I mean I want to develop an act where I get 3 or more applause breaks eight out of the ten times I go on stage. My intermediate goal is to do well (have people laugh throughout my set) eight out of ten times.

My soft goal (no definitive milestones/timelines/etc.) is to be myself on stage. Quinn C. Martin, my mentor in comedy and amazing friend, always tells me that I’m hilarious on the phone, and that I need to bring that on stage.

I’m slowly learning how to write for myself, and by that I mean I’m not writing jokes requiring me to change my emotions on a dime just to suit the joke. Before, I had material that would get laughs but would disrupt the flow of my set because it required me to fake emotions. It was clear that I was doing material rather than speaking my mind, even if the material reflected my opinion.

Implications Of Goal Change

michael jagdeo performing stand-up comedy

Because my focus is now to be myself (i.e. rant, get upset, loud, etc.), the biggest thing that I need to do is get on stage as much as possible. One thing that I’ve been doing in the past quarter is going on stage 3-4 times per week, which isn’t a lot given that other amateur stand-up’s are doing 7-10 sets a week (i.e. doing two a night). But I don’t like leaving shows after I’ve performed…I feel like I’m disrespecting the other comedians when I do that. If they’ve listened to me, I should listen to them, shouldn’t I?

The other implication is that I might be doing material that I think is funny, rather than material that follows the typical premise-punchline-tag-surprise tag formula. But I’m ok with that. I’d rather learn how to be myself, and find out how to make people laugh that way, than craft an act that requires me to be someone else.

Oh, and I also have a goal to have 100k in my bank account by the end of the year. Russell Peters made 500k in a week, so I can’t be asking for that much, right? 😉 Long story short, I’m not going to be a broke comedian. Nobody said you had to die a pauper in order to pursue your passion.

Pillars Of My Life – Mental and Physical Well-Being

March June
benefits of P90X for 20 Mins 3x per week p90x day 43

My number one priority is my own physical and mental well-being, which are two things that I’ve sacrificed in my past careers. In fact, I feel that my physical and mental well-being are like pillars that support my comedy. The better I look and feel, the more confidence I’ll have. The more confidence I have, the easier it will be to just be myself. Not getting rejected by women is a tertiary benefit that I’ll welcome with open arms, as well.

Over the past month and a half, I’ve fully dedicated myself to my workout regime. I’ve taken up hot yoga in addition to my P90x work, and the benefits are amazing. I’m able to think clearly, and often find myself coming up with material on the way home. It’s like my subconscious is working while I’m at play.


My meditation practice is also going strong, and I recently started listening to Buddhist chants which have been helping as well. This is also a CRUCIAL part of my progression as a comedian, because one of the goals of meditation is to quiet the ego. I’m convinced that my ego has lead me to feel the need to add unnecessary elements to my stage presence (i.e. over embellishing punchlines, feel uncomfortable, etc.). Tat tvam asi, naw mean, son?


Over the past quarter, I’ve:

  • Done another set at the Hard Rock Cafe (did OK…)
  • Worked on a TV show for ATN
  • Hosted The Guest Spot, a show on Serius XM Radio
  • Pitched BiteTV (ideas in progress with them)
  • Lost 18 lbs

Moving forward, my life is simple:

  • Eat well. (Physical Well-Being)
  • Work out. (Physical Well-Being)
  • Meditate/Yoga (Physical and Mental Well-Being)
  • Make as little money as required via IT so that work doesn’t disrupt my comedy but enough for gas, first dates, and chicken wings.
  • Meditate (Mental Well-Being)
  • Get on stage. (Comedy)

I love my life. I’m doing what I love, surrounding myself with good people, and taking care of myself. At a funeral, the Greeks would simply ask, ‘Did he have passion?’

Do I? I do now.

Now for the biggest, baddest, bombaclat sound ever…Rodigan! People fi dead! This goes to show that anyone that follows their passion can succeed…

Michael Jagdeo


About Michael Jagdeo

My name's Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third person. I'm a Comedian from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to honing my stand-up comedy act, I maintain this blog and write the weekly comedy article for
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6 Responses to Business Plan Review: A look back on Q2 2012

  1. Great post brotha.

    Didn’t know that you were trying to get ripped as well. Kudos on that! If the comedy thing doesnt work out, you can always fall back on doing porn. LOL. Maybe you can do a bit about how people treat you differently when you have a better physique.

    I hope you reach all your goals and more. It seems that you are definitely focused and driven.


    • Hey Mike!

      Nah, not trying to get ripped…well…kind of, actually. I heard that muscle burns calories, so the idea in adding muscle is that they can help you keep the weight down even when you’re at rest. That said, I’ve never seen a west indian pornstar…I wonder what my name would be? Michael Jacks Doe? Michael Shagsdeo?

      Thanks for the encouragement, man. You’re right, I am definitely more focused.

      I remember a multimillionaire saying

      When I realized that most people would eventually quit, that truth set me free. I just had to keep going and I’d be 90% of the people in the room.

      I don’t feel driven everyday, but that’s ok. I’m not a machine meant to be on the highest setting all day. There are ups and downs, lulls and plateaus. Just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

      Peave in!

  2. On My Square says:

    I just posted about me going back to comedy after a 4 year break and thought the first blog I should hit after posting was yours. Glad I did, you seemed to have your head on straight about comedy and reading this you DO. I will be checking in with you… feel free to stay in contact and let me know if you ever roll through Chicago. I am in the works to start up my own room, so I can someplace to workout once a week on my own rules. Even though I stopped, I have been doing comedy too long to fight for stage time again.

    • Hey OMS!

      Yes, let’s stay in contact. Luckily, in Toronto, we have tons of places one can go for stage time. I’m spoiled in that regard.

      I read your post regarding leaving comedy because you didn’t feel that you were speaking with your own voice. I’ve realized that I got into comedy to speak my own mind – as myself. While I become more comfortable on stage and get used to just being myself, I find that I’m having a clearer conscious as I walk off stage. I might not get the laughs I used to get when I was over embellishing, but I’m much more calm on stage.

      While it may take me a bit of time to get laughs by being myself on stage (or not…who knows????), the main thing is that I want to do comedy in a way that makes me happy and is sustainable in the long run. It sounds like you want to do the same.

      Welcome back (back? You never left!!! 🙂 ). It’s nice to be connected with people who have the same goals as I do. I look forward to sharing experiences with you as we become absolute #!@#!@%#@ KILLERS.


  3. mangolove35 says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog. im a single mother that wants to do comedy. I love the different things you listed. I been doing it for seven years but I put it on the back to raise my two girls and now I think now that they are older Im ready to get back to what I love to do and that’s make people laugh and teach them some things through my comedy. what other suggestions do you have .im all ears.

    • Hi Mangolove,

      It’s funny, because I wrote that post almost TWO YEARS to the day! Before the advice, a bit of context…

      Between that post and today, I probably hit the stage about 10 times. Yup, that’s right? 10. Why? Fear and poor mental/physical health. In the last 3 weeks, I’ve done a complete 180, going on stage at least 15 times, including many nights involving two shows.

      I still believe in most of what I wrote, but my advice to you – and any comic for that matter – would be the following:

      1) Healthy Body – you need to stay in top physical health to do two sets a night after working a long day and taking care of your family.

      2) Healthy Mind – personally speaking, I needed to get a healthy mind (through twice daily meditation, a brief stint with marijuana, and the help of a naturopath) so I could face my fear of rejection/getting embarrassed which literally sent me running from the stage. That said, I know that there are some comics who are able to push through their anxiety/depression and do stand-up anyway; I just wasn’t one of them.

      3) Write a lot, Get on Stage a lot – This is Tom Segura’s advice, and he’s put it as concisely as anyone. You’re trying to do more than be a comedian: you’re trying to discover, accept, and share who you are. So, based Malcolm Gladwell’s research, this will take, oh, about 10,000 hours of practise. I write all the time, because 1) I’ve made it a habit to do so 2) I couldn’t stop my mind if I wanted to; it just keeps coming up with ideas. Make writing and going on stage a habit, something you don’t even think about. At night, you leave the house, because that’s what comics do.

      4) Identify and Overcome Your Fears – sounds easy enough, right? Comedy is simply one of many paths in life, and all paths in life involve fear. Don Juan makes the best argument I’ve heard on the subject:

      Here’s the good news: if you love comedy like I love comedy, take solace in knowing that you’ll find a way. You’ll just…find a way.

      Stay in touch, homie! You already have a couple fans at home, and you can add me to the guest list.

      Rooting for ya,


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