MALONE — A Franklin Academy graduate has had his hand in four Grammy Award-winning comedy albums.
Michael Epstein graduated in 2006 and went on to earn a degree in business leadership and management at New York University, then his M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business Administration at Fordham University.
Epstein is the son of Malone resident and dentist Gary Epstein, who owns a practice on Main Street in the village.
During his time in college, Epstein did internship after internship and found his way into the entertainment industry.
“When I was young, I wanted to be a dentist like my father but I also loved music and always wanted to run a record label. I got into NYU and moved to NYC to attend college,” said Epstein in an email to The Telegram.
“There, I sort of just fell into the entertainment industry and ran with it from there. I didn’t really know exactly what I was going to do or how I was going to get there so I just took internships and jobs at a variety of entertainment companies including MSNBC, WMG, EMI, and Troma Entertainment.”
Following his graduation from Fordham in 2012, Epstein set his sights on the West Coast.
“Moving to NYC and then to Los Angeles were both moves I always dreamed about doing,” he said.
“Moving to NYC wasn’t too crazy for me since I was there multiple weeks every year with my family, as that’s where my dad was born and raised. It was kind of like a second home. Moving to Los Angeles was a big change though, but it’s where I always wanted to be and turned out to be one of the best decisions I made.”
At first, Epstein was nervous to move out west to start a new career in a new industry. But after he secured himself a job at a production company, he set off.
“Before moving to Los Angeles, I was worried about how hard it was going to be to get my career started here. I ended up getting a job lined up for myself at a small production company, packed up a U-Haul, and took a road trip across the country,” he said.
But once he got there, his plans took a turn.
“Once I arrived, the company said they decided to give the job to someone else,” he said.
But he didn’t give up hope, and began mass-applying to jobs in the industry, still seeking that coveted first job in the competitive field of entertainment. And eventually, it worked out.
“So I sent out my resumé to a ton of different places and ended up being hired by Comedy Dynamics, and that’s where I’ve been for the past six years, being promoted from coordinator of the record label all the way up to (executive vice president).”
Since starting at Comedy Dynamics, Epstein has won four Grammys for his work with Louis C.K. and Dave Chappelle, but he’s also gotten the chance to work with many other big-name comedians.
“Working for Comedy Dynamics has been fun,” he said.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities and gotten a lot of experience. I’ve learned so much working on comedy specials and albums, and winning Grammys, with some great talent like Dave Chappelle, Kevin Smith, Patton Oswalt, Ali Wong, Bob Saget, Tiffany Haddish, Steve-O, and tons of others.”
He’s also had nothing but good experiences with the celebrities.
“They were all very nice, very down-to-Earth, people that I was honored to work with,” he said.
Right now, he’s happy with his role at Comedy Dynamics and looks forward to continuing his work there.
“From here, I’m not exactly sure what the next step will be but I plan on continuing to do what I’m doing for the time being, finding new diverse talent and helping them get more opportunities,” he said.
But an executive vice president role at an award-winning production company and even feature articles in the Los Angeles Post-Examiner aren’t the be-all, end-all for Epstein. He wants to keep moving up the entertainment industry ladder.
“And one day, I plan on owning my own company,” he said.