Joke’s On Hedge Fund Manager-Turned-Comedian

Aug 13 2008 | 1:00am ET

Hedge fund investors are a tough crowd. Comedy club audiences are tougher.

Ben Shoval, who manages $260 million for his family’s firm, Ambit Funding, got a decidedly mixed reaction during his debut as a stand-up comic at a New York comedy club. The 31-year-old’s take on life as a hedge fund manager was not as popular as his non-financial one-liners last week, Bloomberg News reports.

“Only in New York is it cool to be gay, but you have to stay in the closet if you’re a redneck,” the Kingston, Pa., native cracked. Ambit is based in Wilkes Barre, Pa.

But much of his 12-minute set focused on matters closer to home.

“Chrysler today announced they’re no longer going to be offering leases,” went one Jay Leno-esque joke. “This is horrible. Millions of Americans are losing their houses, and now they’re not even going to have cars to sleep in.”

Shoval also tried to explain to his lay audience what, exactly, he does.

“A hedge fund is like a mutual fund on steroids,” he said. “It’s like the Barry Bonds of investments. Barry goes to Mexico for his juice. We go to the Cayman Islands.”

Bloomberg reports the line received a “smattering of laughs,” not much of a return on $3,500 in comedy lessons.

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