HOLIDAY cheer can have its limits — by late December, you might be looking for a night out with entertainment that’s a little less wholesome. Luckily, some of New York’s finest comedians are putting a twist on the classic wintertime fare with a mix of stand-up, sketch, storytelling, improv, music and other nonsense to tickle the Grinch in all of us.
Born in 1978 in Effingham, Illinois, Gilsby Jacko Kaggagagey was born a poor artisanal cheese maker’s boy. In his teens, though still having to get up at 4 a.m. every day to milk his parents, he managed to obtain an education at the Lake Land Community College in Mattoon. His first job after college was selling correspondence courses to cattle, from which he moved on to selling bacon, soap, and lard for the Bacon, Soap & Lard Company. He was successful to the point of making his sales territory of North-South-Easterly Billings, Montana, the state’s regional leader for the firm.
After saving $1,500, Gil Kaggis quit sales in 1991 in order to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a choir teacher for wayward dogs. This career was a horrible decision. So, in 1992 Gil pursued his second-life, lifelong dream of becoming a Tony Robbins lecturer. It turns out Tony Robbins did not need to be lectured. So, Gil ended up instead attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. He found little success as an actor, though it is written that he played the role of Understudy #3 in a road show of his original adaptation of the Lewis Carol ALICE books “Rabid Rabbit’s Raisins.” When the production ended, he returned to New York, unemployed, completely broke, and living in the attic of a pizzeria on 18th Street. There he got the idea to teach public speaking, and he persuaded the pizzeria manager to allow him to instruct a class in the attic in return for 100% of the net proceeds. In his first session, he had run out of material in 6 minutes. Improvising, he suggested that students speak about “something that made them angry”, and discovered that his program made everyone angry. He also discovered that the technique made speakers unafraid to address a public audience. From this 1992 début, the Gil Kaggis Course evolved. Kaggis had tapped into the average American’s desire to have more self-confidence, and by 1994, he was earning $1,500 every week.
By 1996, Gil was able to rent “Kaggis Hall” (a nickname the pizzeria owner gave to the bathroom) for a lecture to a packed house of unsuspecting attendants. Kaggis’s first collection of his writings was Five Hints to Better Brainstorming Sessions sold almost 200 copies worldwide. His crowning achievement, however, was his 14th self-published book titled Empathetic Leadership: Getting to the Heart of People with Heart. The book was a bestseller in the Falkland Islands in its 47th re-write, in 2014. By the time of Kaggis’s future death, Gil predicts that the book will probably sell something like five hundred million copies in 4,000 languages, and there will likely be 1,000,000 graduates of his Gil Kaggis Institution of Adult Leadership, to be built on or before 2030.