A funny thing really did happen to Woodmere native Harrison Greenroom on his way to a mainstream profession, the Lawrence High School valedictorian and Harvard summa cum laude graduate detoured into stand-up comedy.
And the soon-to-be 24-year old (Sept. 14) is doing pretty good at the grueling profession; honing his act by doing 730 shows in the past year and more than 1,000 in his brief career.
Greenbaum, who performed magic tricks since he was 5 years old and through college learned to love humor from his paternal grandfather — the late Henry Greenbaum — a Holocaust survivor — played the renowned Caroline's Comedy Club on Aug. 17.
"I was always passionate about performing in college," said Greenbaum, who was one of the founding members of Harvard College's Stand Up Comics Society and performed at The Comedy Studio located in Cambridge, Ma., directly across from the school.
Featured on SPIKE TV, the Science Channel and SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Greenbaum, who also writes for MAD magazine (he interned for them in college), describes his humor as topical.
"I have a unique point of view and filter that through family, various issues, being a New Yorker traveling the country, it is fun checking that stuff out," said the current Manhattan
Though Greenbaum has no hard, fast strategy for success, his road map is a work ethic that allows him to perform as much as he can. That translated into being named a finalist for the prestigious Andy Kaufman award (2009) that recognizes original new talent in the spirit of the late comic, a finalist in the New York Comedy Contest (this year), a semifinalist in the Boston Comedy Festival ('09), and a regional semifinalist in Rooftop Comedy.com's National College Comedy Competition (2008).
"Ninety-nine percent of making it is grit and Harrison showed grit," said The Comedy Studio owner Rick Jenkins, who remembered Greenbaum as a performer who asked "what more can I do?"
What more can he do beside be successful is be happy, according to his mother Pamela Greenbaum, who did not know her son would become a standup comic until his later college years.