Leighann Lord

I’ve been a stand-up comedian for 25 years. (Yes, I started when I was 10.) Comedy has literally taken me around the world and back again; from Baghdad to Brooklyn. (I’m kidding. I can’t afford to live in Brooklyn.) Comedy has opened the door to being an actor, author, and keynote speaker. I believe that humor makes people happy. Happiness gives us hope and my hope is that if we can laugh together we can live together.

As a second generation American of Caribbean descent, I consider myself lucky (you don’t get to choose your parents). Now retired, my mom was a pre-school teacher. She stayed home with me until I was four-years old, teaching me how to read, write and use my imagination. My dad, a king masquerading as a civil servant, was the head of the New York City Fire Department’s print shop (which means I can have incredibly geeky conversations about kerning and fonts). The baby of the family and the only girl, I grew up with a lot of love and laughter, which is where my comedy comes from. I’m not the funniest person in my family; just the one who gets paid for it.

I had a busy childhood: dance classes, girl scout meetings and regular outings to see Broadway and Off Broadway shows, which laid the foundation for my love of theatre and my work as an actor.

A native New Yorker, I was raised in Jamaica, Queens. In high school (St. Francis Preparatory School – Go Terriers!) I was a member of the color guard, marching band and drum corps (of course I thought I was the next Sheila E!). I earned a place in the LEAD Program (Leadership Education and Development) and INROADS. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Baruch College, City University of New York, with a degree in Journalism & Creative Writing. I was accepted into City University’s Creative Writing MFA program but chose instead to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.

Well… I didn’t go straight into stand-up. I took a five-year detour into corporate America. I hated it. It was great! There’s nothing like having a job you don’t want to motivate you to find the career you do.

I love doing stand-up and infusing humor into my keynotes because of the effect it has on people. I love watching them laugh, know, and grow. When someone comes up to me after a show or a talk and says, “I really needed that;” when they share a bit of their lives with me – anything from a job loss, to a death in the family or just a plain old bad day; and they say I made them laugh and feel better — that’s good stuff. That’s great stuff! It’s humbling and mutually uplifting. We need that.

Life is hard. Laugh harder.

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