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Meet Richard Laible of Laible Productions in Winnetka

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Laible.

Richard, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in Plymouth Michigan (a town my family has been in for 6 generations). I sent away for a magic kit from a box of Wheat Chex (50-cents and 2 box tops) while in 3rd grade. I started getting paid to do magic in 6th grade. Worked my way through High School and college doing magic, always adding comedy as part of the act. When the stand-up comedy boom hit in the early 80’s I performed comedy (sometimes with some magic) then joined an Improvisation Troupe in Detroit in 1982 – The Detroit Times Theater Company. Dave Floyd and I split off to become the comedy team of Dick & Dave and toured the Midwest doing two-man improvisational comedy in stand-up comedy clubs.

Dave left for LA in 1985 and I went to Chicago with Tim Meadows (Ladies Man and SNL alum) to study Improv with teaching guru Del Close (acting coach on SNL when it first aired) and performed at the ImprovOlympic (now called iO). I also was an original member and helped to start The Annoyance Theater which just celebrated its 30th reunion.

In 1989 I auditioned for The Second City and performed there through the 1990’s (with Chris Farley, Steve Carrel, Stephen Colbert, Amy Peohler, Tina Fey, etc.). While at The Second City I was Creative Director of their corporate arm that did corporate shows. I incorporated in 1999 and am now a professional meeting emcee and trade show presenter for such clients as Dow, Discover, Kraft, Abbott, Cisco, Honeywell, SAP, Fisher-Price, Kellogg’s, Sara Lee, Roche, Starbucks and Jim Beam… to name a few. (www.RichardLaible.com) I have a son in college studying Engineering, a daughter who is a senior in High School and my wife teaches Special Education in the City of Chicago.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Life is not a smooth road, that’s what makes it so exciting. Some struggles include losing a sister to a car accident when I was 19 and my mother suffered from Alzheimer’s for 20 years. Business-wise, losing long term clients for a plethora of reasons, dealing with so many different corporate cultures, finding new work, basically owning one’s own company so having ALL of the responsibility that goes along with that.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Laible Productions, Inc. – what should we know?
I’m a professional meeting emcee and trade show presenter. I specialize in writing and performing for business events to engage people and bring their messages to light while using charm and comedy

I am most proud of my accomplishment of having a 95% return rate with customers. Once I am hired by a company, as either an emcee or trade show presenter, I am almost guaranteed several return engagements (over 50 shows for Cisco Systems, I have been emceeing Lincoln Financial’s Resource Group meeting now for 16 straight years).

Many comics emcee and just tell jokes between speakers. I provide personalized, entertaining introductions of speakers, segments and topics. I get the audiences to really listen to the messaging by maintaining a dynamic and engaging flow and pace to the activities and agenda and sustain audience involvement and interactivity. I do my homework on a company, their messaging, the speakers, everything! Simply put: I’m prepared. I monitor and adjust the meeting’s mood and pace with a variety of humor, audience interaction, magic, and stories …whatever it takes.

What sets me apart for both as a meeting emcee and trade show presenter, is that I’m not just funny, I do much more than just makes the attendees laugh, I make the meeting work better. One time, when I was already booked for a show and a past client wanted to hire me for the same dates, I said that I could find him someone else. He said “I don’t hire an emcee, I book Richard Laible.” Such a nice thing to hear.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My parents deserve most of the credit, driving me to perform before I was old enough to drive, laughing at my jokes (only when they were funny), supporting my dream from an early age and all through college and beyond.

Also Joe Keefe who was the Executive Producer of Second City’s corporate communications division for believing in my talents and basically giving me the career and lifestyle I have today.

Mark Steele, head of events for TV Guide and NewsCorp. He was my first big and long lasting client (almost 10 years). He hired me to emcee events and trade shows for TV Guide (at the time the biggest magazine in the world), NewsCorp, HarperCollins, etc.

My wife of 25 years Kate. Who keeps me grounded, humble and knew, even when I was living in the dining room of a one bedroom apartment, this guy was going to make something of himself

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