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Martin Montana: Finance Is No Laughing Matter

It’s mixing metaphors, but NBC Sports’ telecasts of England’s Premier League soccer is a home run.

Helping raise ratings are a host of Westporters. Jeff Clachko is in marketing. Mike Carey provides real-time research. Rebecca Lowe is an on-air personality. Former US national team player Kyle Martino is a studio analyst.

Covering all bases, even one of the ads has a Westport twist. Martin Montana does the voiceover for MotoX. He not only graduated from Staples in 1997; he was friendly with Martino when both attended the University of Virginia.

But this is not a story about the Westport/EPL connection. It’s about how Montana made his way from the Staples High School basketball program, to the world of finance, then into comedy, acting and voiceovers. All in the space of 15 years.

Martin Montana

At Staples, Martin captained the basketball team. He’d been a stand-up fan since the 1st days of Comedy Central, and had always been “the funny dude” in school — but was too shy to actually perform.

At UVa, Martin broke out of his shell. He took acting classes, kept notebooks of interesting jokes and did short sketches. Still, he never took the stage.

After graduation, he had student loans. So he moved to Boston, for a “regular job” in finance. At 25, he ran his company’s San Diego office.

“Things happened fast,” Martin recalls. “I made money. Life was good.”

But he felt unfulfilled. In 2006, “I realized I was at a fork. I could stay in the financial world, and cruise to the finish line when I was 55 years old. Or I was still young enough to start over.”

The next year he quit his job, and moved back to Boston. His friends wondered why he’d left such a sweet gig.

“I got it,” Martin says. “What I did was not real logical.”

But it was what he wanted. He worked harder than ever. His 1st comedy gig was at a bowling alley.

Soon, though, he was performing 4 or 5 times a week, at downtown clubs.He went from opening shows to hosting, then headlining.

Three years ago, he moved to New York. His career took off. Martin has worked at top clubs, and been a semifinalist in the city’s Funniest Stand-Up competition. He does colleges and corporate gigs, and appeared on Sirius XM. He’s getting ad work too, like the MotoX voiceover.

His style is “myself,” Martin says. “I’m not a political, heavy guy.” Favorite topics include his parents, dating and sports.

As funny as comedy is, it’s deadly serious. “My job is to make people laugh, from the minute I get the mic,” Martin notes. “The feedback is live. There’s no place to hide.” He thrives on the challenge, and the immediacy of what he does.

“The crowd can be great, lots of energy, or there can be 17 people in the audience,” he says. “It’s totally raw. Whatever it is, you have to give it your best.”

Back in his Staples basketball days, Martin might have wanted to play at Madison Square Garden. Now he’d love to perform comedy there.

Funny. Life changes like that.

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