A Wall Street Banker Turned to Comedy for Happiness and a Career Change
One minute, the guy running JPMorgan Chase was the world’s largest bank, with assets of $3.8 trillion. The next, he was sitting at home, his head in his hands.
“All I can think about,” he remembers, “is, What did I just lose?”
His boss, Jamie Dimon.
It’s not the first time, in the years since, that David Solomon, a 42-year-old New York bank manager turned Wall Street jokester, has turned to comedy.
“I’m a comedian,” he tells me from his home in Red Bank, New Jersey, not far from the Atlantic Ocean. “And I’m an addict.”
Solomon’s story is a tragic one. The son of Syrian immigrants, he grew up surrounded by laughter. He loved to joke around with his friends, always on the lookout for that one line that would crack up anyone who was around.
“My dad and uncles were all stand-up comedians,” the only son of five, he says. “We had a big backyard and a swimming pool, and the best thing happened: When they were doing a comic routine—like the king of comedy—I was right there in the audience. When they were playing for money, I was standing right next to them. That’s the most embarrassing thing about me, is that there are people that don’t know I’m Jewish.”
Solomon was the oldest of five sons. One day, he says, he told his father, a doctor, that he was going down to the bank. While waiting in line, Solomon decided that he might as well try for a laugh.
“So I started saying, ‘I’m going to go down to the bank,’ ” he recalls. “At the time, I was a high school student. And I said, ‘I’m going to go down there, and I’m gonna try