John Scimeca is a business development manager at Air France who is also a stand-up comedian; here is a link to his Twitter page:
Q: How did you first come to work for Air France?
A:.I spent many years in my youth trying to find the right career path. I tried everything: While attending night school, I drove a truck. I also worked as a bartender, as a head hunter, in apparel manufacturing, retail, and even tried my hand as a circus acrobat. I kept searching for the right situation. One day noticed a position with Air France posted in the Sunday New York Times. (That was back when you could actually speak with someone in person about a job.) I sent in my resume. Pretty soon I was called back and asked to come in for to be interviewed. As it turned out, I got stuck working a 14 hour shift the night before the interview and was exhausted, But I went home, showered, changed and drove into New York. From there I was sent to JFK airport for more interviews. In total, I had 6 interviews that day. It was an exhausting experience but I got the job and have been here ever since. Never give up trying.
Q: What were the reasons for the Air France and KLM cargo merger?
A: There are no secrets here. All of this information is available on the Internet. I just read on Goggle the following: The Air France – KLM merge made it the World’s largest Airline in terms of revenue.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced with the merger?
A: Both Air France and KLM had good reputations prior to the merge, so it was not difficult getting the word out.
Q: What changes did you see in your career with Air France?
A: I started off as an Operations Manager. After the merge, I was promoted to Sales Manager. I am now responsible for USA Business Development of our Express Products Division called Equation.
Q: What is you funniest work story?
A: There is a funny story from when I was working for a trucking company. It is about a shipment of Ostriches which were being sent to California for a breeding farm. It seems that the wooden stalls that held the Ostriches were built out of low quality lumber and several of them broke apart when they were being loaded into the trucks. Soon we had dozens of really big birds running in the warehouse and several escaped onto the roadway. We spent the entire evening rounding up these birds. I remember hanging out of the side door of a cargo van that was speeding down a road in Brooklyn trying to lasso Ostriches running alongside.
Q: What made you interested in stand up comedy?
A: I have always felt comfortable speaking with small groups of people, but I didn’t think I could work a crowd. I thought of taking public speaking classes but never got around to it. One evening, I just happened into a comedy shop in Manhattan during open mic night. I had a few drinks in me and walked up on the stage. It was terrible and I bombed. (If anyone reading this was at that show, please allow me to buy you a drink). But like anything worth doing, I persevered, practiced and tried again. Things got better and I found my timing and style. It’s great to feel the vibe of the room, to catch people off guard and make them laugh. There is an electricity flowing when a performer and the audience connects. To me, Laughter is the World’s Greatest Cure.
Q: Who are some of your comedic influences?
A: I have to mention Robin Williams first and probably would have even if he was still alive. The man was a comedic genius and his loss really strikes home. I am influenced by Richard Pryor, John Belushi, Sarah Silverman, Bill Cosby, Bill Maher and George Carlin. I enjoy standup as well as Improv. I enjoy starting my set by introducing an absurd concept and then going off in a separate unrelated direction before reintroducing the first thought and piecing them together. Thankfully, I find my work in comedy has opened up new avenues for expression. I recently completed 2 original screenplays including one I am pitching for Gina (Gershon) as a tough New York Investigative Reporter.
Q: What trends in stand up comedy annoy you?
A: I do not like abusive comedy. Don’t get me wrong, anyone going to the bathroom during my set gets picked on. And hecklers deserve everything they get. But for me, it isn’t about picking on someone else. My job is to make everyone feel good. For the most part, messing with people isn’t funny, it’s cruel.
Q: Tell me an NSA joke.
A: I have strong suspicions that my wife is having an affair.
But I can’t afford a private investigator.
So I called the NSA and tried to get them to send me proof.
They weren’t very helpful.
Now I am starting to suspect them of being in on it…
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)