Alumna uses degree for comedy industry

Leanne Linsky Published January 23, 2023

Comedy was never a field Leanne Linsky expected to get into as a career. Coming from a quick-witted and funny family in Waukegan, she had to have a sense of humor to fit in. Now, she’s combining her quest for laughs with her business degree and experience to bring something new to the industry with her online platform Plauzzable.

Linsky’s choice to start her education at College of Lake County (CLC) in 1988 ended up being the perfect one for her. Though she wasn’t sure she was even going to go to college while in high school, she ended up being the first person to get a college degree in her father’s family.

Starting off at CLC also allowed her to live at home and work while still going to class.

“I would stack my classes for certain days and times so I could fit in time to work,” Linsky said. “Scheduling classes was really flexible.”

Linsky chose to pursue a business degree because, though she didn’t know what field she’d eventually be working in, she knew business would somehow be involved.

The flexibility to work while in school also helped with her business education. Linsky worked part-time for Illinois Bell Telephone Company, and she could see the business theories and lessons she was learning about in real time.

Linsky graduated from CLC with her associate degree in business administration in 1990. After receiving a solid base for her education affordably, she transferred to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) to finish her bachelor’s degree.

Going to CLC before transferring helped prepare Linsky for being in a place different than her hometown.

“The CLC student body is diverse, my classmates had more work and life experience,” Linsky said. “When I transferred, I was better prepared for university life.”

CLC also made the transfer process simple, Linsky said, because all her credits transferred with ease.

After graduating, Linsky got a job in accounting with Pulte Home Corporation in Las Vegas. She stayed with the company for 13 years, eventually moving up to the manager of cultural development, a role created just for her.

“I was in charge of onboarding new employees, training programs and cultivating a positive company culture,” she said. “Happier employees lead to happier customers. My nickname was the director of fun.”

Unfortunately, Linsky was laid off due to the looming 2008 housing market crash. She was luckily given six months of notice, so she had time to think about what was next for her.

Comedy had become more of an interest for Linsky while she was living in Las Vegas. At UNLV, an instructor recommended she should seriously look into going into entertainment, and her coworkers at Pulte often thought she was funny enough to be a comedian.

Linsky had also begun taking comedy classes in Las Vegas, though she didn’t see herself making a career out of it. When her friend offered her a chance to move to New York City while she was looking for a new job, she decided to take a shot at the world of comedy.

Linsky’s business degree ended up being very useful in her comedy career. In New York City, she did a variety of things, including running an open mic, producing weekly stand-up shows and she wrote and performed her own one-woman show.

“It’s called show business for a reason,” Linsky said. “I had to provide services for comedians and fans, put together a line up every week at a venue, and promote and market."

This wasn’t the only way Linsky has put her business degree to use in comedy, though. In New York City, going from show to show isn’t difficult for comedians because everything is close together. This way, they can do more shows, get more feedback and improve more easily.

The same can’t be said for places like Los Angeles and Miami, Linsky noticed. Comedians often had to travel greater distances, meaning less shows and less time for other responsibilities like their family and day job.

Linsky decided to do something about this problem. She and other comedians were testing out existing technologies for online shows even before the rise in popularity during the pandemic, but it wasn’t giving users the best experience for a comedy show.

Using her business experience, Linsky created a new website called Plauzzable where comedians can perform live shows for fans and other comedians. While performing, comedians can hear the real-time fan reactions to know if jokes land.

“Plauzzable is designed specifically for comedians and comedy fans,” Linsky said. “They can perform from anywhere at any time, and anyone can watch. It won’t replace in-person shows which have an irreplaceable magic, but it gives comedians the opportunity to build a global fan base.”

Linsky’s broad business experience, which includes things like bookkeeping and marketing, made this project possible. She also went back to school to get a master’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from The University of California, Irvine.

Even with everything Linsky’s accomplished over the last 30 years, she still fondly remembers her time at CLC and the start it gave her.

“After high school it seems so hard to find out what you want to do for the rest of your life,” Linsky said. “CLC offers tremendous value for undergraduate studies, whether you know what you want to do or not. Or, if I use my own journey as an example, you can use the time and education to lay a solid foundation to continue to continue to build on throughout a lifetime."