Many people leave financial services to pursue passion projects, but given the long hours and hard work required to make it as a banker or hedge fund manager, very few try to tackle both simultaneously. There are exceptions to the rule, however.
Take Michael Reisman, who cut his teeth on the central funding desk at Lehman Brothers, working his way up from analyst to senior vice president over the course of eight years. Over that time, he performed late-night stand-up comedy gigs and saved enough money to launch the Gotham Comedy Club in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood in 1995 – he is still a co-owner and performs comedy routines there to this day.
That same year, Reisman left Lehman to join Long-Term Capital Management, the infamous hedge fund founded by John Meriwether, the former vice-chairman and head of bond trading at Salomon Brothers, which nearly blew up the global financial system in 1997 and 1998. After LCTM went under in 1998, Reisman returned to banking as a principal at Morgan Stanley. Since then, he's also worked for DB, Merrill Lynch and Mizuho Americas, where he was most recently the head of short rates sales for close to seven years.
Now Reisman's swapped jobs again. Just last month, he left the Japanese bank to join the repo trading desk in the New York office of hedge fund Millennium Capital Partners.
Meanwhile, business seems to be good at the Gotham Comedy Club. Various movies and television shows have been filmed there, including NBC’s Last Comic Standing and the pilot episode of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.