Jamie Masada of The Laugh Factory is Today’s Honoree

Jamie MasadaJamie Masada’s passion for comedy is closely matched by his charitable contributions.  For the last 33 years, he has opened his club every Christmas and Thanksgiving, dishing out free dinners to the homeless and struggling artists and offers free services during the High Holidays. In 1985 he created The Laugh Factory Comedy Camp for Underprivileged Kids, now in its 28th year.  For his humanitarian efforts, Jamie was awarded the NAACP
Freedom Award, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the ACLU Freedom of Speech Award, for his support of the first amendment, among many other
prestigious honors.   Jamie has also spearheaded Laugh Factory benefits for numerous other causes, including victims of the Japanese  earthquake and
Hurricane Sandy.

For Jamie Masada and comedy, it was love at first sight. Jamie¹s passion for
comedy started from age 6 when his father a cantor/accordion player
rewarded him for being good by taking him to see his first moving picture in
Iran. The two stood outside the window of a local TV repair shop mesmerized
as they watched the Three Stooges. Although the TV wasn¹t getting the best
reception and the two couldn’t hear the movie through the glass, Jamie¹s
father invented his own clever story to the delight of his young son. Jamie
stood with wide-eyed amusement transfixed to the screen and laughed until he
cried.

In addition to his wisdom and insight, Masada also inherited his father’s
comedic chops. At a wedding, almost a decade later in Israel, a Hollywood
producer spotted Jamie doing The Stooges imitation and encouraged his father
to send the young talent to America. Confident in his son¹s abilities,
Masada’s father pawned his beloved accordion to help raise the funds
necessary to send his son to The United States.

Just 14 years old, Masada arrived in America with little more than the shirt
on his back and his sense of humor as he slept in a garage and struggled
through countless jobs to make money to send back to his family. However,
none of these obstacles deterred him from his passion for comedy.  He always
recalled something his father told him, making people laugh is the greatest
Mitzvah of all.

Though barely able to speak English, he mixed it with Hebrew and Farsi, and
soon was working with professional comedians on the stage. Comedic geniuses,
Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Redd Foxx, took Masada under
their wings.

A dispute over comedy club owners in Los Angeles refusing to pay comedians
drove Masada to create the Laugh Factory in Groucho Marx’s old building at
the age of 16.  With help from writer Neal Israel, he was able to turn his
dream into reality, while simultaneously helping comedians. Recognizing
Jamie¹s passion, Richard Pryor was the first comedian to serenade the Laugh
Factory stage in 1979.  Masada offered to pay Richard, instead Pryor handed
him a hundred dollar bill and wrote on it, You need this for your rent,
boy.

A stroke of marketing genius brought the Laugh Factory national exposure on
CNN.  Masada organized a march down Pennsylvania Ave in Washington D.C.
asking the President to send a comedian into space.  Joined by Bob Hope,
Phyllis Diller, Redd Foxx among many others he drew so much attention that
President Reagan asked Hope to arrange a meeting with him.  Masada¹s
marketing savvy has always merged good causes with national publicity.  As
the country was gripped with the fear of the AIDS epidemic, the Laugh
Factory was the first business in America to provide condoms to its
customers.  His innovations when inaugurating a Latino Night, Asian Night,
and Women Night have brought extensive national media coverage.

Masada produced the hit Disney film, Rocket Man, and the  film, Behind the
Smile at The Laugh Factory with Damon Wayans.  He produced the feature film,
Born Again with Paul Rodriguez.  His knowledge and expertise has made him
the leading authority on all things comedy and his advice is very highly
regarded amongst the entertainment industry’s top power brokers.

Visit The Laugh Factory for more information.

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