Phil teaches accounting, collects baseballs, and talks to celebrities
Phil Yaeger is a seasoned accountant and well-rounded person who teaches accounting in CPA review, offers financial advice on the radio, collect baseball memorabilia, and talks to many celebrities. Phil tells John of going into accounting during the era of the Vietnam war, how he found teaching to be a way of enjoying accounting, and why it’s so easy for him to start a casual conversation with a celebrity!
• Why he started collecting baseball memorabilia
• How Phil got into radio
• Some of the celebrities he has met
• Becoming an accountant
• Phil’s research on the negative perception of being an accountant
• Why Phil doesn’t recommend retiring
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Hello. This is John Garrett. Welcome to Episode 179 of the Green Apple Podcast where each Wednesday, I interview a professional who just like me is known for a hobby or passion or an interest outside of work. Just by being themselves, that makes them stand out like a green apple in a stereotypically boring red apple world. I’m always so fascinated at how we usually try to stand out at using our technical expertise. I’m here to shine a light each week on someone who understands that expertise isn’t always earned in degrees and certifications. Sometimes, it’s experiences from your passions outside of work that’ll make you better at your job, but only if you share them.
Really quickly, I’m doing some research. It’s a super short one-minute anonymous survey about corporate culture and how the green apple message might apply in your world. So if you’ve got just 60 seconds, please head to greenapplepodcast.com. Click the big green button there. Answer a few quick questions. Again, it’s totally anonymous. I really appreciate the help. It will support the book that I’m launching very, very soon. Thanks so much to everyone for subscribing to the show so you don’t miss any of the cool guests like this week’s Phil Yaeger. He’s the owner and lead instructor at Yaeger CPA Review. I seriously hope he doesn’t make me redo the questions for when I passed the exam decades ago. But, Phil, thanks so much for taking time to be with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.
Phil: Well, John, I want to thank you. I appreciate being on your show. I look forward to talking to you. I think we have numerous interests that are the same, so I’ll let you just talk with whatever question you want to ask me.
John: Yeah, yeah. Well, you know the drill. It’s 17 rapid-fire questions. We’re going to get to know Phil on the next level here. So I’ll start you out with an easy one here. Do you have a favorite color?
Phil: My favorite color would be – God, who knows? – tan. Is that a color?
John: Tan? Okay. Not Khaki, but tan. Interesting.
Phil: That’s it. Khaki. Khaki’s good.
John: Khaki. All right, all right, all right. How about a least favorite color?
John: Red. Nice. Okay. How about would you prefer more Star Wars or Star Trek?
Phil: More Star Trek.
John: Okay. All right. When it comes to your computer, more of a PC or a Mac? Yeah. There you go. How about a favorite ice cream flavor?
Phil: Rocky road.
John: Ooh, nice. Okay. There you go. Yeah, that’s a good answer.
Phil: How many people have said that, John?
John: Yeah. Not very often. That’s old school. That’s old school right there. It’s like — what is it — the raisin and whatever, the ice cream that whenever you go to the grocery store, it’s always full because nobody wants it. Yeah.
Phil: Another flavor, Cherry Garcia. You’ve had that one?
John: Yeah, yeah. That’s the Ben and Jerry’s flavor. Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Good one. How about a suit and tie or jeans and a T-shirt?
Phil: Jeans and a T-shirt.
John: Okay. All right. How about more chocolate or vanilla?
Phil: I would say probably vanilla.
John: Okay. All right. Now I have to ask you as an accountant, more balance sheet or income statement? Yeah. I mean it’s just one number at the end, then we’re done. Yeah. How about more oceans or mountains?
Phil: I like oceans.
John: Yeah. Ditto. How about cats or dogs?
Phil: Probably dogs.
John: Okay. Do you have a favorite number?
Phil: Favorite number, how about seven?
John: Okay. That’s a popular answer. Absolutely. Probably the number one answer on here. Sudoku or crossword puzzle?
Phil: Can I have neither?
John: Yeah. You could say neither. Absolutely. Definitely. How about do you have a favorite band or musician?
Phil: Yeah. Well the group I like is Abba and that’s not a musician.
John: Oh, Abba. There you go. There you go.
Phil: Does that qualify?
John: Yeah, I know that. That’s a band. That’s definitely a band. Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve seen my music video parody, but I read it — what is it? – yeah, dancing queen. I read it as, “You are my adding machine. See that girl watching me digging my adding machine.” Yeah. It’s super nerdy, super Nerdy. Yeah. All right, we’ve got four more, four more. On an airplane, more window or aisle seat?
John: Aisle. There you go. How about a favorite actor or actress?
Phil: Favorite actor, I guess I will go back to – well, I guess a favorite actor would be Gregory Peck.
John: Oh, there you go.
Phil: How many people know who have listened to this, who Gregory Peck is?
John: Yeah, absolutely. Actually the funny thing is my godfather’s name was Gregory Peck, different Gregory Peck of course. But that’s pretty much the main reason why I know who he is.
Phil: They’re actually opening up on Broadway. They’re bringing back To Kill a Mockingbird.
John: Oh, great. Very cool.
Phil: That’s why I listen to that. Yes.
John: Yeah. Two more, two more. Pens or pencils?
John: Okay. Okay. The last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own?
Phil: Favorite thing that I have, favorite thing that I own is probably, I would say my – actually, my baseballs.
John: Yeah. Is there one that sticks out as a one of your favorites?
Phil: Well, I always idolized Mickey Mantle because I grew up in the ‘60s. I went to Yankee stadium a lot. This is before we knew about him being an alcoholic, a drunk, a womanizer, but we didn’t know those things and actually knows probably better.
John: Yeah, you’re a kid. Yeah.
Phil: Yeah. I think he was — most kids, I don’t, back in the ‘60s.
John: Right, absolutely. So you have a ball signed by Mickey Mantle?
Phil: I have several balls signed by — I also have his jersey framed from the year he was a rookie, his rookie jersey.
John: Wow, that’s super cool. Yeah. You got him to sign it for you?
Phil: No, no, no, no. I bought it. No, no, no, no.
John: Oh, you bought it. Oh, okay. All right. All right. But that’s awesome though. That’s really cool. Yeah, yeah. That’s really fantastic. I mean we might as well just, I mean, go straight onto the baseballs. I mean when did you start collecting these baseballs and baseball memorabilia? Really? Oh, wow. Okay. Nice. Yeah. All right. Because then that would’ve answered my question. Clearly, you weren’t a kid that got them signed.
Phil: I would say I was alive when Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth were alive. No, I wasn’t alive then.
John: Oh, wow. I didn’t know they went back that far. Wow. That is awesome, man. Also, that’s really, really cool. What made you want to get started in that?
Phil: I don’t know. I guess when I bought these baseballs, it’s like you hold them. And I hold the ball with Babe Ruth and I say, “Well, gee, he held this ball and he signed it.” So I don’t know. It’s just that and also, my original goal was just get the signed baseballs of the 1961 Yankees, which I have. But I’ve gotten into other baseballs like Lou Gehrig, as I said, Babe Ruth. I also have a lot of pictures, photographs, which are autographed by, for example, Colonel Rupert. He owned The New York Yankees during the time of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Terrible. Actually, Babe Ruth wanted to be the manager of the New York Yankees. But kind of Rupert promised him that and he actually did not follow through on his promise. I have a picture of Colonel Rupert and also the manager at that time, John McCarthy.
John: Right. Yeah. My grandfather grew up in Brooklyn. He used to tell this story about how all the Catholic kids would root for the Yankees because of McCarthy and then all the Protestant kids would root for the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was all based on religion of the manager of the team, which is insane nowadays to think about. Yeah, but cool rivalries back in the day. That’s fantastic, man, really neat.
Phil: I got baseballs that — what happened was there was this company in New York called Steiner.
John: Oh, yeah.
Phil: You’ve heard of them?
John: Yes, Steiner Sports. Yeah. They have a lot of collectibles and stuff.
Phil: They are the largest seller of sports memorabilia. So I started buying. I mean I went for baseballs that maybe had some investment value, although I probably will never sell them. But I had baseballs from players — God, I can’t think of one — but I just had baseballs going back to actually the 1920s. I have Ty Cobb.
John: Wow. Yeah.
Phil: By the way, he was a nasty player.
John: Oh, totally. He was a nasty person, but real legend.
Phil: He wasn’t very popular.
John: Yeah, but a legend. I mean, yeah, there’s not very many of these floating around. That’s really fantastic.
Phil: Yeah. No, it was — I got that. I have some of the Dodgers, the Brooklyn Dodgers, Roy Campanella.
John: Right, the catcher.
Phil: The catcher who actually was paralyzed in a car accident.
Phil: There’s two autographs of his, one before and one after. The one before, obviously, it’s worth more. I have the one before. Jackie Robinson, I think we all know Jackie Robinson. Then he was at the movie 41, 42 — I forgot.
John: Yeah, 42.
Phil: 42. Great movie.
Phil: I have a program from the 1951 World Series between the — the actual program autographed by all the players of the Dodgers and Yankees, ‘51 World Series. The Subway Series, they called it the Subway Series.
John: Right, right. Because, yeah, it was between the two teams in New York City. That’s so cool, man. Yeah. I mean I can’t even imagine. I mean all the names you’re rattling off, it’s like a Who’s Who of Major League Baseball. And you have items signed by them. Really neat, man.
Phil: I’ve also had the privilege — I don’t know if you know this player. He was on the ‘61 Yankees. He played second base. His name was Bobby Richardson.
Phil: He was part of the ‘61 Yankees. He actually gave the eulogy at Mickey Mantle’s funeral.
John: Oh, wow.
Phil: But you generally don’t see him giving eulogy. He was Mickey Mantle’s roommate. I’ve met him three times. He told me all these things about the Yankees, Mickey Mantle. Very interesting to talk to him.
John: Yeah, yeah. I mean as such a super fan and as a kid growing up in that era, I mean, yeah, for you to get a peek behind the curtain, if you will, is really cool.
Phil: Well, I didn’t want to tell Bobby that I really wanted to meet Mickey Mantle, but –
Phil: You take whatever is left, okay?
John: His roommate, there you go.
Phil: That sounds terrible. That sounds dumb.
John: No, no. That’s hilarious.
Phil: Bobby’s great, hell of a nice guy, real nice guy.
John: That’s fantastic man. I know also, too, you do a lot of philanthropic work as well donating a lot of money to charities and then through that, you’ve been able to have some really cool experiences also.
Phil: Yes. But one thing I did not tell you — before we jump into that — I lived in Denver for six years. I think I told you I lived in Denver.
Phil: During those six years, I had a practice. It was doing very well. Then I turned around one day and said, “Gee, I really don’t want to do accounting,” which was the reason I went to teaching. But anyway, so I started sending out audio tapes of myself. I was able to get on two radio shows. They brought me on during tax season, before tax season. They’d give them tax advice to callers. They had calling shows. One of which, the guy’s name was — I don’t know if you know this name — Alan Berg.
John: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, for sure.
Phil: I was on his show. I did gave tax advice. So I always liked to do that type of thing. Then recently, – well, in the last four years — I said to myself, “Gee, I’ve made some good money from the CPA Review. It’s only fair to give it back.” I found out about this Charitybuzz, an organization where they actually can arrange for you if — you’ve been on auctions. It’s to meet, for example, various people. So as a result of this, I bid one several auctions where I got to meet Olivia Newton-John. I went to her Las Vegas show.
Phil: I sat in her booth. After the show, my wife and I went in the back. We met her personally one-on-one. She’s a very nice person. We asked her all these questions about the movie Grease.
John: Oh, right.
Phil: Because I watched that movie, I don’t know how many times. I loved that movie. Also, I bid on to meet Robert Herjavec, one of the sharks on Shark Tank.
John: That’s neat.
Phil: We went to the Shark Tank set at the Sony Studios where they film it. We had to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
John: Nondisclosure, yeah.
Phil: Because we saw everything before it’s actually broadcasted.
Phil: So I had lunch then with Robert Herjavec, but I met all the other sharks. I met Mark Cuban. Mr. what’s his name?
John: Mr. Wonderful?
Phil: Yeah, Kevin O’Leary. Kevin is a nice guy. He’s another one, nicest guy. And Barbara Corcoran, I was talking to Barbara a few minutes. I said to her, “Barbara, if I ever meet you again, just remember this…” Barbara was involved in real estate in Long Island.
John: Oh, yeah.
Phil: I was involved with the first shopping center that ever went up called Green Acres Shopping Center. So I said, “Barbara, if I ever meet you again or ever speak to you again, just remember Green Acres Shopping Center.” So then I won an auction to meet with her one-on-one, sort of discuss anything I want to discuss. It was really not a good time for her or myself. So we agreed to have a Skype call, a video Skype call. We were on for 90 minutes. I started off by saying, “Barbara, I’ve met you.” She says, “Yeah, you look familiar. I said, “Well…” I said, “Do you remember I met you and discussed Green Acres Shopping Center?” She said, “Yes.” She was just very nice. I like Barbara. People come across a lot differently than they do on television.
John: Right. Yeah. Because I mean for TV, you got to amp things up and someone has to be a bad guy and whatever because that’s what makes for entertaining television. If they’re all just nice people, then it’s very boring to watch. And same with radio as well.
John: There always has to be a bad guy of some sort or somebody that disagrees over something silly. Yeah, which is cool, man. Wow. You’ve had just a lifetime of experiences, I mean very recently, it sounds like. Yeah.
Phil: I’ve met — there’s a guy on SiriusXM Radio ‘60s. He’s on the ‘60s Station 6.
Phil: His name is Cousin Brucie. He’s a very famous disc jockey who was in the New York area, the tri-state area in New York. He started off on WABC radio. It’s ABC affiliate in New York. Then when that ended and they went to all news, he then went to WCBS-FM, which was an oldie station. WCBS-FM went out. Then when Howard Stern was picked up by SiriusXM, Howard Stern brought him on. He’s now on there. I actually cohosted with him one time.
John: Oh, that’s cool. That’s combining your old radio days, except for this time, you weren’t doing tax updates, I’m sure.
Phil: No, I wasn’t. Yeah. That would’ve been awfully exciting.
John: Yeah, yeah.
Phil: He was very nice. He let me speak to the different people. I discussed, “Where are you from and blah, blah, blah.” I kept the relationship going with him. He’s met my wife. We’ve gone and we visited — we went to an Italian Festival in New York, which he invited us to. Brucie is in his early ‘80s now, but you’d never know it. He looks actually very good. Of course, he’s on the radio so you can’t see how he looks.
John: Right, right.
Phil: But Cousin Brucie, Bruce Morrow is his name.
John: That’s really cool. That’s really cool. Do you feel like any of these experiences have helped you with work at all? Whether it’s the collecting the baseball memorabilia or the –
Phil: I think what they’ve done is when I go and visit these people, whether it’s Willie Geist — I don’t know if I mentioned his name – Willie Geist, they always insist, “Take a picture.” They always say, Hoda Kotb, “Take a picture.” Then I put the people on Facebook, on our Facebook video, the Yeager’s CPA Review Facebook. They love these pictures. “Gee, Phil is hobnobbing with all these people.” I’m very comfortable with these people. I mean I just don’t mind talking. A lot of people say, “Aren’t you nervous with them?” I said, “No.” I guess all I can remember is about six years ago, we were going on a cruise out of Miami. We’re walking in Miami. Down is a thoroughfare. It was just a pedestrian thoroughfare. And I saw Jackie Mason. Well, Jackie Mason, I’ve always enjoyed listening to him. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen any of the shows.
John: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. He’s a standup comedian as well. I mean I would see him in New York City.
Phil: That’s right. I go over to them and say, “You’re Jackie Mason.” He says, “Yeah.” He says, “Come on over.” He says, “What can I do for you?” That’s the way he talks. It’s New York accent. He says, “What do you want to know?” I said, “No. I just come over to say hello to you.” He says, “Oh, sit down.” So he had me sit down with them. He was sitting at a table having coffee with his manager. He started asking me all these questions like, “Who’d you vote for,” and all these things. I said to him, “Well, Jackie, who’d you vote for?” I was talking to him for 20 minutes and he wouldn’t let me go. I mean, honestly, he wouldn’t let me go. I finally said, “Jackie, I have to go. My family is — they want to start walking. I really appreciate it.” He says, “If you ever see me, if you ever gone on one of my shows again,” he says, “…just tell them you know me. And you can come in the back.” I said, “Jackie, how are they going to know that I know you? What am I? I’m going to go up and say I know you?” Anyway, but as I say, I was very comfortable with these people. I enjoy meeting these people.
John: Yeah. I mean they’re just regular people.
Phil: They are. They’re just regular people making multimillion dollar.
John: Well, yeah. A lot of people know who they are. But that’s really fascinating though of you putting it on social media because then it lets people see the real Phil, the behind the scenes of what you’re doing with your time and what have you. I think that’s really neat. So early on in your career, did you have other passions and interests or was it kind of this next level of –
Phil: What was my passion? Well, my passions really were not to become an accountant, okay?
Phil: I came from a Jewish home. There’s two types of home, Jewish and Italian, okay?
Phil: Mother, especially Jewish home, mother always lays guilt on you, right?
Phil: I went to college. I went to University of Rhode Island. I know anyone major in accounting, but my mother had decided that she wanted me to be an accountant. I came to her one day after being in accounting for a year or two. I said, “I can’t stand this major. It’s boring. It’s not me.” So she just said to me, “All right. If you don’t major in accounting, I’m not going to pay your tuition.” So I thought to myself, “Well, that’s not really a choice.”
John: Right. You’re more of an accountant than you thought apparently.
Phil: Yeah. You got to be an accountant because in Long Island, the town I grew up in Lynbrook, Long Island, everybody was a CPA, all right? These are the names: Mike Stein, Sam Harris. Okay. All right. They all came from the same fraternity. And I was a member of that fraternity. So they figured, “Hey…” My mother said, “Hey, they’re doing very well. Mike Stein does very well. Sydney Friedland does well. Hey, you have to be like them.” Anyway, I graduated in accounting. Basically, I don’t know what to say from there. I didn’t like the jobs I had for five years. That’s why I went into teaching.
John: But what I’m curious about is did you feel like back in the day, was there that stigma of you just do work and that’s it? Or was it okay to talk about having interests outside of work?
Phil: Well, I didn’t have interests outside of work because the time I came out — I graduated 1967. It was the Vietnam War was going on like crazy. I had to figure out. I would not do well in Vietnam. That’s what I decided, all right? I’m not putting on a uniform and carrying a rifle and shooting —
John: Especially doing your accounting in Vietnam, forget about it.
Phil: Anyway, I thought to myself, “How can I stay out?” So the only way I could stay out was I got into a graduate school. I got into Fairleigh Dickinson’s MBA Program. That kept me out for two years. Then President Johnson, wonderful guy that he was, he eliminated those deferments. I went for my physical and I flunked my physical.
John: Oh, okay. Okay.
Phil: That’s what you call a lucky day.
John: Right, right. Yeah. Back in those days, absolutely, for sure.
Phil: No. I didn’t really have time to really think about any interests or anything because I was consumed trying to stay out of that Vietnam War.
John: Wow. Okay. All right. But even then, — so you had your own practice here in Denver?
Phil: That was in 1982. I had already been in graduate school 15 years. I went to Denver actually because my family lives in Denver. My brother was there. I used to go out there. I lived in Maryland. We had heat and humidity. I went out to Denver during August. Julys can be beautiful blues skies. I said, “Yeah, this might be better.” So my brother says, “Oh, come on out here. You know how to do marketing.” Because I did have sort of a good sense for marketing. So I went out there and marketed and got a lot of clients. I built up the firm very quickly.
John: Got it.
Phil: But then as I said, I realized that I didn’t enjoy accounting even though I had this firm and I just got the work for me. Back there in Denver at the time, people were very laid back. The mañana principle was in effect in Denver.
John: Right. Right.
Phil: “If you can do it today, well, do it tomorrow.” So that was the frustration I dealt with. That’s why I tried to get on this Alan Berg show, Peter Boyle which I did. Actually, I went to several TV stations to try to convince them, “I can do a financial accounting show.” Because there was no person on those stations at the time who did financial accounting, at least giving advice, things like that. I had the background. I had Certified Financial Planner designation, CPA. So anyway, I went to different stations. It was KCMC, I think it is, I forget stations, Channel 7, whatever that was. Basically, I realized they did not want me because of the fact that I had a New York accent.
John: Oh, yeah.
Phil: I sounded too New York-ish as far as back then. So I didn’t get that. But I really tried to get one of those because that’s something I really would’ve liked to have done.
John: Yeah. Yeah. Because I mean I’m always just curious just to hear what it was back in the day because I’m sure there wasn’t any time to really talk about interests outside of work because we have work to do. And that was a different time for sure.
Phil: I got married right out of school. Not that I had to, but we got married the week after I graduated college.
John: Yeah. You were talking about earlier when we talked a little bit ago, but was just to how you did some research paper on the negative perceptions of what people think of accountants.
Phil: Yes. My last teaching job was at Catholic University in Washington DC. Finally, I had to go on for a PhD. So when it came to dissertation, I figured what am I going to do my dissertation on? So I came up with, “How about if I do research showing that people don’t want to major in accounting because of the negative image of the accountant?” The things that I found out — this is a wild. The things that I found that was — first of all, I did questionnaires to principles of accounting students at the various colleges, universities. I asked them, would they want to major in accounting? Because everyone had to take principles of accounting if you are a business major. Most of those people, I think it was at 70 somewhat percent of those people that said they didn’t want to be accountants because of the negative image. But they thought that accountants were boring people. They have no personality. Now, that’s what they thought. Probably, when I started out in public accounting, that was really true, most of the people who worked in these firms. I worked for Seidman & Seidman in New York. These people were the cure for insomnia. They were so boring. I was ashamed to say I’m one of those people.
John: I mean I think it’s so cool, too, that your research shows that, I mean, it’s not true. And this podcast shows that it’s not true, that perception that people have.
Phil: John, it’s different today. The people who are in accounting today are not like they were when I graduated.
Phil: But you see the people — I mean men that have a lot of outside interests, personality, they’re accountants, all right? Also, there’s a lot more women in the profession that when I was in it, it was basically — it was dominated when I got out of school by mostly men. And that’s who were taking CPA Review in the early ‘70s, mostly men. I had a few women in the class. But now, it’s probably more women than men. It’s different than the way it was.
John: That’s the thing. It’s though for some reason, even accountants themselves still believe that old image that isn’t true anymore. So I appreciate you coming on and helping shatter that stereotype and show people that it’s not the case so stop acting like that.
Phil: Let me tell you something. It is important today. First of all, majoring in accounting is not the worst thing in the world. And getting the CPA, although if you ask me back in the early ‘70s, “Do you want to be CPA?” I’d say, “Never never.” But today, the advice I give to people is if they major in accounting, you got to get the CPA certificate because you may not stay in public accounting. You may not stay in public accounting, all right? I’m sorry. I’m repeating myself. Private accounting. But it’ll open doors for you. You never know what it’s going to do for you. You could end up being a Vice President of Finance, a CEO, a CFO, all right? But without the CPA, you’re not going to do that. So in a way, it’s a good thing to go for.
John: Right. Absolutely. Or you could end up hosting your own podcast like me. But either way, the CPA comes in handy. No, but for sure, I mean if you’re going to major in accounting, then definitely get it. Accounting is the basis of all business because even if you go into marketing, there’s still numbers and dollars involved. At the end of the day, there’s still a bottom line. So do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that thinks that maybe they collect baseball memorabilia, but it has nothing to do with accounting? Do you have any words of encouragement for anyone?
Phil: Well, these are the words of encouragement. I made a mistake when I was — it was actually my early career, all right? I was just focused on whether I was opening a CPA Review program or teaching accounting. That was my total interest. If someone said to you, “What’s your interest back then?” It was teaching, all right? But I’ve learned you got to be a well-rounded person. You got to have other interests. You don’t want to be an account 24 hours a day. Have something else that actually will interest you. Because otherwise, if you just concentrate on your profession and only your profession, you’re going to go crazy. And someday, eventually you may stop working. Then you’ll say, “Well, what am I going to do?” And if you didn’t have any interests while you were working, then when you retire, what are you going to do? You’re going to be sitting around doing nothing, watching The Price Is Right every day. By the way, I do watch The Price Is Right.
John: Right, right.
Phil: But anyway — no, seriously, you have to have an interest. You learn that interest, whether it’s playing golf, playing tennis. Do it when you’re young, so when you get older and you retire, you have something to fall back on. Although, I do not recommend retirement at all.
John: Right, right, right.
Phil: Because I have too many people — I don’t know about you, but I have too many people I know who retired and they either went back to work a month later or they died. I think the former was better.
John: Yeah. Right. Exactly. Exactly. I think a lot of those people, they just didn’t have passions or interests outside of work to go do. So that’s why they just went back to their default of what they felt safe. But that was so well put. I mean you’re basically — when I speak to firms in conferences, I’m telling people you’re preparing for retirement. So you’re getting ready. So that then when you do retire, you can go and live a full life. It doesn’t have to be all work all the time.
Phil: That’s right.
John: Very well put.
Phil: You have to get up every morning and have a purpose. That’s really it. And that’s true even when you retire. You got to have a purpose every morning
Phil: Whether it’s doing something else. Don’t you know a lot of people that maybe they’re accountants during their lives but they really always wanted to be, for example, a shepherd? No, I’m just kidding.
Phil: They always say to me, “What do you want to do if you retire?” And I say, “Well, I want to be a shepherd. I’ll get myself a nice flock and be a shepherd.” But there’s not a lot —
John: of fields and just — yeah. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Yeah. So it’s only fair. I started out with rapid-fire questioning you. Do you have any questions you’d like to ask me?
Phil: Yeah. I’d like to know — I understand you’re a standup comedian. Okay. All right. And part of that is there’s a lot of rejection when you first go into it. I mean not everyone’s going to laugh at everything you have to say. How did you deal with the rejection?
John: Yeah. There’s a lot of rejection even now. Every day, there is rejection on that. Yeah. I mean you just fight through it. You look at the positive people that were there that were laughing. You look at your own personal growth. You try hard not to compare yourself to others. You’re just in your own lane. You just try to get better on your own. You just see that progress. Then that’s the encouragement. Because a lot of comedy is confidence. So the more confident you are, the more that people are going to come along with you and laugh. It’s very similar to probably being an instructor for CPA Review. So if you’re not confident in the material, they’re not going to listen to you.
Phil: That’s true, what you’re saying, because when you teach — I went into teaching thinking everyone’s going to love me. I’ve found that that’s not always the case. You’re going to have people that like you. Some people won’t like you. And that’s similar to being a comedian.
John: Totally. And I also thought you find your audience as you go. I also realized that my comedy wasn’t for everyone because you can’t be for everyone. Whether you’re an accounting firm or you’re a comedian or whatever you are, you’re not for everyone because then, technically, you’re for no one. So you just have to find your niche and find your lane and then just run as hard as you can.
Phil: I’ll ask you this question. Living or dead, who do you think the best comedian has been in comedy over the last 20 years.
John: Oh, okay. Over the last 20 years, wow. Okay. Yeah, goodness.
Phil: I’ll give you an answer. You give me your answer.
John: Okay. All right. Yeah. Well, I mean gosh. I mean Carlin and Pryor were so prolific. But you were saying the last 20 years. Well, I guess Carlin was still alive. But, yeah, I don’t know. I mean Jerry Seinfeld’s certainly done a lot, writing as well.
John: I mean Dave Chappelle is a monster.
Phil: Yeah. He’s excellent. Yeah.
John: I mean he’s a monster too. Yeah. And Brian Regan, he’s one of my favorites.
Phil: I don’t think I know who he is.
John: Okay. Yeah. But I mean there’s so many great comedians that depending on the day — yeah. But I mean those names there, I think, are so prolific that it’d be hard to argue any of them.
Phil: Well, can I give you mine too?
John: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah.
Phil: I’m going to give you as well.
John: Yeah. What have you got?
Phil: First of all, today, I don’t know if he’s still — I think he’s still performing. Steven Wright. I like his comedy.
John: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Guy to Boston originally, but yeah.
Phil: He’s unique. That’s all.
John: Yeah. Yeah, totally.
Phil: And the guy I probably miss is Rodney Dangerfield.
John: Oh, Rodney. Yeah, yeah. And he was a great story too because he actually tried doing comedy when he was younger and it didn’t work. So he went and sold aluminum siding for years.
Phil: Right. I remember that.
John: He came back as an older guy. And all of a sudden, the stuff works.
Phil: He could give one liners and go one after the other. He was amazing, amazing guy. I saw him live once a long time ago. But he was one of the funniest guys, I mean really funny.
Phil: But he’s unfortunately gone.
John: Right, right. Well this has been really fantastic, Phil. Congrats on all the success with the CPA Review and with all the philanthropy that you’re doing. It’s really, really fantastic.
Phil: Thank you. Thank you.
John: Yeah. I just appreciate you taking time to be with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.
Phil: It was my pleasure. I enjoyed meeting you tremendously. Good luck with your career.
John: Well, that was really, really fun. If you’d like to see some pictures from Phil’s philanthropic adventures or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to greenapplepodcast.com. All the links are there. While you’re on the page, please click that big green button and do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture. It’ll help for the book that I’m launching in just a couple of months. Thanks again for subscribing to the show and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread which is to go out and be a green apple.