“I am going to tell you the secret of going into business for yourself; it’s very simple,” Jon Minjoe shares with an audience from a stage in Deep Ellum. “Make yourself unemployable. Just become the worst employee of all time, so no business could even fathom hiring you.”
It might not make for the best career guidance, but it landed some laughs—which was the point. Being comfortable in front of groups is essential for the executive director of the local chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and Minjoe’s experience as a standup comedian keeps him sharp and allows him to share observations about professional life and commentary on life’s struggles.
Growing up, the Michigan native enjoyed musical theater but went the practical route after college and started a career in strategic communications as the co-founder of a company that did digital work for political campaigns. Eventually, the requisite negativity and outrage required of a job in politics got to him, and he shifted to the CEO of a tech company and worked in commercial real estate, all while actively participating in EO. When an opportunity to serve as executive director came up, his fellow members told him he’d be a perfect fit. So, he pursued and got the job.
At the same time, Minjoe was unable to ditch the itch to perform and decided to attend standup classes at Dallas Comedy House in Deep Ellum—and later worked up the confidence to do open mics. “I went to my first open mic and killed it,” he says. “Not because I was good, but the audience was just drunk enough to be in a good mood.” His second performance? Crickets. It was the worst experience he ever had on stage, he says.
But Minjoe stuck with the craft, eventually being asked to host shows at Dallas Comedy House and doing some of his own material before and in between sets by bigger-name comics like Aaron Aryanpur. He also landed corporate gigs and sprinkled jokes into his emcee role at the Dallas Women’s Lawyer Association gala.
Today, between organizing social and educational events for EO, among other management tasks, he keeps up with his passion for comedy by writing new material, attending open mics, and performing at charity events. The writing process is therapeutic, and he finds that reacting to an audience and being quick on his feet have been excellent training that translates to the C-Suite. “I don’t think I would be where I am today without comedy,” Minjoe says. “It’s such a great relief valve.”