How I came to manage a comedian

Meadowdale grad followed her dreams to New York City
By Allie Demopoulos | Sep 08, 2017
Allie Demopoulos

Editor’s note: Allie Demopoulos graduated from Meadowdale High School in 2007. She is now manager for comedian Craig Fox, whose 115-show, 51-city tour finds him in Seattle through Saturday, Sept. 9.

I have wanted to work in TV ever since I watched Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel with my dad in high school.

After graduating from Meadowdale, I attended Washington State University and studied at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. I remember sitting in a workshop during the annual Murrow Symposium my senior year, and the speaker told us that we would "either fall in love with a person or place and that would determine the direction of the rest of our lives."

For me, it was a place – and that place was New York City.

After graduating with a double emphasis in TV production and news, I was incredibly lucky to get the opportunity to intern in the editorial department of Vanity Fair magazine in New York City, a publication that I always viewed as a work of art and idolized growing up.

After the internship, I waitressed at a burger joint in the Meatpacking District and further interned during the day. I went into the reality TV world as a production assistant, and then got a job as an office manager for Bobby Flay's production company, Rock Shrimp Productions.

I spent a little over two years there, and was fortunate to be in a position in the company to work a bit with every person and learn as much as I could about how a production company is run.

I transitioned into working in development at Rock Shrimp and went on to spend a couple years working in development both at Rock Shrimp and another company, Engel Entertainment.

Since then, I've worked on a bunch of productions as a freelancer, including a documentary on Odell Beckham Jr. called “Catching Odell” on the NFL Network, and “Ink Master” on Spike TV.

While I was working in development, so many networks were interested in developing TV shows with comedians.

Through researching comedians for show concepts and with the influence of great friend of mine who is an L.A.-based comedian (who I actually met at WSU) and stays with me whenever she is in NYC to perform, I started going to more comedy shows and learning more and more about the world.

In Manhattan, I didn't know of many comedy shows uptown, and I wanted to start a stand-up comedy show in Spanish Harlem, the neighborhood where I live. I started going to shows and scouting talent all around the city to try to build a great line-up for the shows. I began to get to know comedians.

During this process, I met Craig Fox, who was running comedy at The Village Lantern, right in the heart of the New York comedy scene in the West Village.

I've never met anyone like Craig, as a person and a comedian. He's special. I had been spending a good amount of time in dark basements in the city, watching comedians on the mic, and sometimes I would watch people and feel like I had heard their material before.

When I saw Craig onstage for the first time, he was unlike any other comedian I had ever seen. He has a rare stage presence, and there is a real depth to his material. He made me laugh, but what came after the laughter was a pause to really think about the weight of his words. To me, that's a mark of a true artist.

Craig and I became great friends, and I was honored when he asked me to manage him this year as he embarked on his first national tour, “The Anxiety/Reality Stand-Up Comedy Tour.” I've learned an incredible amount from Craig, and am excited to continue to work with him.

I love watching Craig's mind work – he's spent the past eight years working on his craft and is now ready to start to build the next level of his career. But we are going about the business of comedy in a different way than most. Instead of the popular route of performing at comedy clubs, he has chosen to perform at independent venues to support local businesses and is working with local artists in each city he goes to.

It's been an exciting year as I have delved into the world of comedy and, through learning and consuming as much as I can, have grown to have a great love and respect for it. I essentially changed the course of my career for Craig; that's how much I believe in him.

And how much I believe in the power of stand-up comedy. It's such an important art form that holds up a mirror to our society while helping to bring people together and foster important conversations. Laughter is so important. And comedy shows are just fun.

Craig Fox performs Sept. 7-9 at Jewel Box Theater, 2322 Second Ave., Seattle. The show is for those 21 and older. Information: 206-441-5823.

 

 

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