Greg is a Comptroller and Stand-Up Comedian
Greg Kyte returns from episode 3 to discuss with John their shared passion for comedy, update us on his stand-up career, his new live show, and shares stories on how he has applied his comedic passion in the workplace!
• Emceeing conferences
• Importance of a great emcee
• “Comedy Church”; Greg’s new live show
• Applying his passion for religion into his comedy
• Stories from working ‘2003 hours’ at an accounting firm
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Pictures of Greg Performing Comedy
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Welcome to Episode 208 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-up Friday edition. This is John Garrett. Each Friday I follow up with a guest who’s been on the show from a few years ago to hear what’s new with their passions outside of work. Also, hear how this message might have impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited to let everyone know my book is being published this fall. They’ll be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So check out whatsyourand.com for all the details, or sign up for my exclusive list and you’ll be the first to know. I really appreciate the support. If you do, you’ll even get a few tracks for my comedy album for free. And please don’t forget to hit Subscribe to the show. You see them in the future episodes every Wednesday and then now with the follow-up Fridays.
This week is no different with Greg Kyte. He’s the Controller at Utah Valley Physicians Plaza and the founder of Comedy CPE. Now, he’s with me here today.
Greg, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”? I’m so glad to be here. I mean, we’re pals from way back when, so it’s always nice to circle back around. Not just pals from way back when but our and is the same, so we got that in common. So yeah.
John: Yeah, exactly, which is how we got connected to begin with.
Greg: Yeah, exactly.
John: We didn’t connect over the accounting. That’s for sure.
Greg: Nope, that was not it.
John: We both had the same questions. How do you do a cash flow statement? I don’t know either.
Greg: Right. Do you want me to talk about cash flow statements? Because…
John: As much as I would, but that’s not your and. So we’ll that in a different show, Greg.
Greg: Because at my company, we have non-cash distributions. It screws everything up because the assumption is that the distributions, it’s just a whole thing.
John: It sounds like a whole thing, but I do have rapid-fire questions for you right out of the gate, just so we can see what happens here. So here we go. If you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?
Greg: Game of Thrones.
John: Okay. Suit and tie or jeans and a t-shirt?
Greg: Jeans and a t-shirt all day long.
John: Okay, how about a favorite ice cream toppings?
Greg: Oh, caramel. I love caramel.
John: Interesting. Okay, cats or dogs?
Greg: I have dogs.
John: Okay. Favorite Disney character?
Greg: It would be the genie from Aladdin.
John: Yeah, also hilarious. Also hilarious.
Greg: Yeah. Sorry, but to be specific, the animated Aladdin.
John: Okay, not the thing that came out with a new one.
Greg: All props to Will Smith. He’s amazing, but it’s not. He’s no Robin Williams.
John: Very true. Very true. And I know you fly a lot, aisle or window seat?
John: Okay. And the last one, this one is important, toilet paper, roll over or under?
Greg: Under is an abomination to everything that’s good. Listen, if you invite me to your house and your toilet paper is rolled underhand, I’m changing that because you’re wrong, and I’m probably not going to be your friend anymore.
John: There you go and unfollow on social which is where it really hurts. That’s where it really hurts.
Greg: Right, exactly.
John: Yeah, that’s awesome, man. That’s awesome. So let’s talk comedy. What’s new in the comedy career since we talked in 2015? That’s four years ago, man. That’s nuts.
Greg: So long good. It’s weird because I think when you’re in the thick of it, it seems like everything’s kind of moving along sort of incrementally, but you look back over a span like four years and there’s tons of stuff that’s happened in the last four years because my and is kind of nice, just like with you. You can find a niche at the intersection of the skill you were trained for, accounting, and what the passion is, what the hobby is, which is comedy.
So one of the things that I’ve been able to do a lot over the last four years, which I’ve totally loved, is I have been doing the presenting, I’ve been doing the comedy, continuing education stuff, that’s been great. That stuff kind of comes to me. I don’t do a whole lot of marketing for that. But another thing that’s happened is just emceeing conferences which is great. It’s a little bit risky. There’s a little bit of panic that I get when I’m doing that because it’s not just where you show up and you do your material per se. A lot of it is just you’re rolling with it, you’re given announcements, whatever’s happening.
But that’s been great. I love that to death. I’ve done a few Xerocons. That was a big deal doing it with Jason Blumer with the Thriveal CPA Network, do his stuff, and those have been great. It’s so much fun to be able to go to something like that as a comedian and go, these things aren’t known for being high energy or fun or funny. I’d be able to come in and people go, “What the hell just happened? That was amazing.”
John: Yeah, I mean, exactly because that’s the thing is I don’t think that people understand how important a good emcee is until they see one because they’ve never had an emcee, or it’s been the managing partner or the executive director or you name it. It’s just somebody who does it and it’s like, yeah, but that’s a totally different skill that you need to run a show. It’s something that you learn from doing all the comedy shows which is great, man.
John: I mean, that’s what I do as well. I think what you’re doing too is you’re creating an experience for the people that are there. They’re learning the content but in a way that is something that they’ll remember.
Greg: It’s how to keep people engaged with it because of — I mean, you know this. It’s like, if you space out while somebody is doing comedy, whether you watch it on TV, you’re seeing it live, whatever, you space out during the setup, and then you hear the punch line, you hear everybody laughing, and you go, “I just totally miss something,” and that’s what I did. So there’s a lot more engagement when you do keep stuff fun.
Another thing that — this is actually new as of about a year ago, I’ve also started running my own show, like my own regular live show, here in Salt Lake City called Comedy Church because another interest of mine has always been religion. I was very, very religious for about 20 years of my life, not so much anymore. Still very interested in that kind of stuff. So Comedy Church is basically, like I said, it’s a live show. I’ve got comedians that come in. They do their bits about God and religion and things like that. And then after they do their set, I do a little interview with them just to be like, how is your life intersected with religion? Has that changed over time and where are you now? And it’s been a great show. It’s been fantastic, so much fun.
John: That’s interesting.
Greg: Yeah. And every now and then we’ll get some musical comedian that will come in that will do a song because that was the original idea was just like, let’s do a comedy show that’s about religion that mirrors the format of a church service or religious service. It’s sort of evolved on its own to be what it is. But anyway, so that’s just a blast. A lot of work but a lot of fun.
John: How often do you do that?
Greg: It’s every other week except I take off December because it gets too busy with the holidays, and I take off the summer because it gets too busy with vacation. So every other week in the spring, every other week in the fall. So actually on August 25th, we’re starting back up for our fall season.
Greg: Yeah, and it’s pretty cool. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Wiseguys out here in Salt Lake City, but we started the shows at a bar. It was like a dueling piano bar that actually opened up for us on Sundays which was cool. But then after we proof of concept over there, the guy who owns Wiseguys invited us to move it over to his place. So we’re legit now which is pretty great.
John: Great for you, man. Too legit to quit.
Greg: Too legit to quit.
John: Look at you. You just did the hand symbols. I know you did. I know you did.
Greg: Well, I’ve got my baggy crotch pants, and I just did the little shuffle.
John: I would ask if you could do the dance, but I’ve seen the video. I know that’s enough.
Greg: It is enough.
John: That’s really great, man. That’s really great. I guess one thing that’s always fascinating is just people sharing their hobbies and their passions. Do you find that that’s happening more now or is it still a lot of work to be done?
Greg: Well, okay, it’s funny, John, because I want to say, yes, people are sharing their hobbies more. But I wonder how much my perception of that is skewed because of you and the work that you’re doing because we follow each other on social media. I regularly see posts come up about here’s a CPA. They’re not just an accountant. They’re also Bigfoot hunters or whatever the various ones are called. So I’m seeing a lot of that. I’m just saying, dude, you’re changing the profession, man. You’re making it happen, and I’m seeing it through Instagram, if not in real life as well.
John: Well, thanks, man. I appreciate that. People who are in Instagram, you can go to What’s Your “And”? It’s pretty cool because there’s pictures of everybody, including you, I believe, on the Wiseguys stage even. Everyone’s smiling, like they’re all smiling. They’re happy, and they’re alive. If I were to step into everyone’s office randomly, I’m not sure if everyone would be smiling the same way, unfortunately. So it’s cool to see.
Greg: And here’s the thing too. Just in terms of, specifically, an accounting profession, people sharing their and, I think it has a lot to do with where you’re at and where you’re going in your firm. I believe that once you get to a higher, more visible level at your firm, you’ve got to have more to talk about than just accounting, or else I don’t think you’re going to get there. Or if you get there, you’re going to hate it and everybody’s going to hate you getting there. Do you know what I mean?
Case in point, so I’m a controller, so I do need to work with a CPA firm. I do a lot of the grunt work for the tax return, but it’s super complex tax return, so I pass it on to them at a certain point. Obviously, I can’t review my own financial statements, so they do that. There’s a newer guy who’s starting to work with us from their team. He was real back office. I’d email and stuff, but then I met with him and it was one of those just weird things where — so I was meeting with the partner who’s in charge of it and this guy. This guy, he was just the lump, man. The partner, however, is very outgoing, almost like, “Hey, dude, I think I’m paying you by the hour, so let’s focus, focus.”
John: That’s weird that you’re the one saying to focus, like a weird turn of events.
Greg: Right. But the other guy, like I said, I’m just kind of going, I think he probably is good for being the nameless, faceless guy who’s crunching numbers in his cubicle, but he’s not going to move from there if he doesn’t at least get comfortable, because I got to assume there’s something that he’s interested in more than accounting, and I have zero idea what that is. So if you’re not cultivating that in, if you don’t have it, if you’re not willing to be vulnerable enough to share that with your clients and coworkers, I kind of think that’ll probably limit how far you’re able to go in your firm.
John: I agree 100% because I had someone remember me 12 years after I left the PwC office in St. Louis as the guy who did comedy at night. I had never worked with him. I never met him. He was in the tax department. I don’t even know how taxes work. He was on a different floor. I think everyone deserves, 12 years from now, to have someone say, “I remember you. You were the person that this.” And it’s never work related. It never is.
Greg: The first year that I was in the accounting profession, I worked at a firm. I like to say I worked there for 2003 hours. I probably told you this before. When I was at the firm, I think it was a monthly staff meeting that everybody was supposed to come to. Right after I started there, because I’ve been doing stand-up longer than I’ve been an accountant, so I went to the partner who’s in charge of those meetings. I was like, “What would you think if I did like an accounting update at the beginning of the staff meetings?” What I did is I wrote jokes based on articles in the Journal of Accountancy, and I did like five minutes up front at every single staff meeting. It was a tough crowd. You want to talk about tough crowds, it was a tough crowd. But it was the home team too, so they were cool. One of the partners who, after I did that, maybe three or four times, he came up to me and he was trying to be a little bit under his breath go, “The only reason I come to these meetings is because of you.”
John: That’s great, man. That’s so great. It was a guarantee they remember you.
Greg: Oh, yeah, without a question. Yeah, for sure. Oh, and the managing partner did not enjoy my sense of humor, though.
John: Why it wasn’t 2004 hours.
Greg: There was a guy, I can’t remember his name, but whoever it was, the current president of the — because Barry Melancon is the CEO of the AICPA. He doesn’t change, and he’s a cyborg or something, so he’s never retired. But every year, they get a new president. So whoever the president was, Ernie Escalante, so anyway, something like that, Ernie something, and I just made a joke. I think about his name and the managing partner just completely humorous, says, “I met him. He’s actually a really nice guy.” It was like, oh, my God.
John: You would have laughed harder. You got that joke, Ernie.
Greg: Yeah, exactly.
John: He’s laughing the hardest about that joke. I don’t even know the guy. That’s hilarious, man. It was Bert and Arnie joke, I bet.
Greg: It’s probably something like that. I mean, I guess that’s more just for my own kind of subversive side where it’s like, it’s so nice that one partner is saying the only reason he shows up for it. And then at the same time, I’m like driving the managing partner up a wall because he’s worried that somehow words going to get back to Ernie that I burned him hard in the staff meeting.
John: Right. I mean, clearly, nothing’s going to happen like that, and they’re going to shut the firm down. You’re like, “What’s the worst thing can happen?” It’s crazy. Like, your clients are going to find out that, it’s just dumb. People can build things up so much in their own head. And then when you let it out, it’s like, oh, wow, like everyone does love this, like this is cool.
Greg: Well, exactly. And that’s the thing is that I think that in our profession as accountants, so much of what we think, our perceived value is taking everything very seriously. But that’s bull crap because what people really want is they want to make sure that you’re competent, that you’re trustworthy, and then beyond that, they’re awesome. If you’re somebody who’s like — I mean, it’s countless times that people have told me how refreshing it was that I actually have a personality. So I don’t think that we have to be these severe serious, buttoned-up people all the time. And there’s a time to not to screw around. I think that time is very infrequently, but some discernment is going to help you navigate through that.
John: That’s so perfect, man. And what a great way to wrap it up with a great bit of advice. And it doesn’t even have to be like messing around. It’s just show some personality. I think for you and me, the personality obviously is goofing around. But not everybody has that but show some flavor like the person that you met with, the new person at the firm that’s doing the work for your company, then it’s like, you got to open up a little bit, buddy. Like you got to show some personality here.
Greg: And it takes a little vulnerability, but just I think if people do it, they’ll figure out it’s not really that big of a risk.
John: I would argue riskier to not.
John: That’s great, man. Well, I started out rapid-fire questioning you. So it’s only fair for me to turn the tables and allow you to rapid-fire question me. I have all the bulletproof everything on because I’m so nervous right now for you firing away.
Greg: Question number one, what is the most crucial part of the tax cuts in JOBS act?
John: Oh, the most crucial part is the part where it says “the end.” That’s the most crucial part because then you know you’re done.
Greg: I was still hoping you would have just said, “Oh, paragraph 8.”
John: Right. I don’t even though if there is a paragraph 8. I do know there is a “the end” though.
Greg: I see it, right, right. Okay, so next thing, coffee or running shoes?
John: Running shoes. I somehow missed the coffee train altogether.
Greg: Did you, really?
John: I’m not a coffee drinker.
Greg: You’re not a coffee drinker. I’m not so much of a coffee drinker either, so I’d probably go the same thing.
John: I’m not going to run in the running shoes, but I’ll wear them.
Greg: I mean, I will but I can run about as good as I can dance. And then just the last rapid-fire question for you. What is the worst thing that you’ve ever done in your life?
John: Interview Greg Kyte twice.
Greg: Perfect. There are so many regrets.
John: So many regrets. I can’t even count the number of showers I need right now. So this has been great, Greg. Thank you so much for taking time to be with me again on What’s Your “And”? This was so much fun.
Greg: Absolutely. Yeah, fun for me too, man. Anytime.
John: Yeah, and everybody listening, if you want to see what Greg looks like and be like “No way!” go to whatsyourand.com. There are links to his social media. Follow him on Twitter. He’s got hilarious stuff that he’s posted there with his cartoons that he does. And while you’re on the page, please click that big green button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.
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