What started as one e-mail to 20 friends has turned into 50,000 subscribers and a career in stand-up comedy. But Aaron Karo still uses his degree from Wharton. Sort of.
By Noah Gardenswartz
Comedian Aaron Karo has made quite a successful career out of partying. Taking his best memories as a rowdy college kid and turning them into a humor column called Ruminations turned out to be one hell of a move; it has since spawned two best-selling books, an advice column and a national comedy tour. Amidst his 30 day, 12-city tour to promote the release of his new DVD, Recovering Frat Boy, Karo took some time to talk about the path he chose.
So how did the Ruminations column originate?
My freshman year at Penn [University of Pennsylvania] I was just partying a ridiculous amount. I would be up all night drinking and then IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d sleep all day and eventually it really fucked up my body clock. On Sunday nights I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sleep at all. One Sunday night I just wrote down some funny observations I had made about college and sent it out to 20 of my buddies from high school. They thought it was funny and forwarded it to people, who then forwarded it to more people, and by the time college was done I had 11,000 subscribers to my monthly Ruminations.
And how many subscribers do you have today?
Right now there are something like 50,000 subscribers.
What did you major in while you were at Penn?
I graduated from Wharton as a business major.
And how has your knowledge of business and economics benefited your career?
Man, people always tell me IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m wasting my Wharton degree by doing stand-up, but I use my education now more than I ever did when I was working on Wall Street after college. My background helped me turn stand-up into a business and learn how to market myself, and turn my writing into a product.
Two of the products you put out were the books Ruminations on College Life and Ruminations on Twentysomething Life. How did you go about getting those published?
Well after college I went to work on Wall Street doing equity research. But one day Simon and Schuster just approached me about publishing a book of my past columns, so, in the summer of 2002 I left Wall Street and we published the first book. Then I restarted my e-mail column, this time ruminating on life as a twenty-something male and Simon and Schuster wanted to publish a book of those columns as well.
The books and the e-mail column are not the only writing youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve done though. Tell me about some of your other columns?
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve written for collegehumor.com, and I actually used to have an advice column in Seventeen. I was an old frat boy giving advice to these high-school girls about going away to college. I mean, what was I really going to tell them?
Well you certainly have a strong fan-base among college kids, and you do a lot of college tours. WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s your favorite college to perform?
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve gotta say the University of Michigan. Ann Arbor is awesome and the students there are great.
WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in the works after the tour?
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to continue doing stand-up out in LA. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got a monthly show called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Happy Hour with Aaron KaroÃ¢â‚¬Â at the Improv. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m also looking to do some writing for television, continue with the columns, and of course keep going out and drinking.
For more information, check out, www.aaronkaro.com.
Click here to read a review of Aaron’s new DVD.