Karo ponders at Pitt


Aaron Karo is a recovering frat boy, a double-dip threat and a self-described one-named wonder… Aaron Karo is a recovering frat boy, a double-dip threat and a self-described one-named wonder like Cher, Madonna and Pele.

Wearing a gray shirt and old blue jeans, Karo recounted a journey that took him through collegiate, corporate and comedic America and eventually into a risky business. He became a writer.

He wrote “Ruminations on College Life,” a book in its seventh printing, which got its start when Karo couldn’t fall asleep. Instead, he sent e-mails to his friends about the quirks and stories of college life.

To make what he calls an incredibly long story short, more than 11,000 people began reading his periodic reviews of the ups and downs of life at Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. Karo did not see the seeds of a career in these e-mails.

“I would work like a [corporate] goon, like a good Wharton Boy,” Karo said. “I always wanted to start an Internet company and take over the world.”

Karo worked on Wall Street for more than a year before he decided to make the switch.

Now he is a stand-up comedian and a columnist as well as an author, and credits his parents with teaching him to be a self-motivator. Despite peppering his speech with curse words — a form of speech familiar to most college students — he received support and encouragement for his new career from his parents.

“Even though I talk dirty and curse a lot, they are behind me,” Karo said.

His father is a toy executive for the company that created “Tickle Me Elmo,” and his mother is an education administrator.

“I don’t know what that means, either,” Karo said.

Karo grew up in Plainview, Long Island, a New York suburb that he described as a typical suburban town with a typical high school. His younger sister attends the University of California at Los Angeles.

“I didn’t grow up in a trailer park or something real interesting,” Karo said, adjusting his Dartmouth baseball cap.

He is currently touring areas of the country in preparation for the release of his new book, “Ruminations on Twentysomething Life,” which takes the reader into the world of post-college and pre-marriage.

“It’s kind of like the sequel, the after-college experience,” Karo said.

It’s hard to admit that you are growing up. But Karo has grown both emotionally and artistically.

“Whether I like it or not, I’ve definitely matured,” Karo said.

His advice to the ambitious is that everyone has to start somewhere: If you are an aspiring writer, start a Web site, or if you are funny, try an open-mic. Since Karo is both funny and a good writer, he describes himself as a double-dip.

One short of a triple threat.

But Karo credits the success he has met to these talents, and even now, Karo is involved in producing a pilot for a sitcom tentatively titled “The Whatever Years.”

“Guys trying to get laid and not getting laid off,” Karo said. “There’s not a lot of funny stuff out there.” Karo hopes to play himself in the show.

Karo has always seen himself as funny, not the class clown but more as the class comedian. Making the transition to stand-up comedy was difficult, but rewarding.

“I’ve been funny all my life, just never on stage,” Karo said. “There’s no feeling like it.”

Unlike his writing, being on stage and dealing directly with an audience provides him with instant feedback.

With thousands of people reading every detail about his personal life, Karo had to get used to having all of his personal life become public knowledge.

“I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s just a part of my life now,” Karo said. But that doesn’t mean he reveals everything. The name of his current girlfriend is a secret, and in his columns, Karo refers to her as “Girlfriend”.

Despite the large number of e-mails Karo receives, he still tries to check all of them. After all, you never know what will be in the next one.

“It might be the golden e-mail,” Karo said.

Karo looked to the future to see possible books titled “Ruminations on Married Life” and even “Ruminations on Geriatric Life.”

Regardless of his plans for old age, if Karo ever has children, he would help them just like his parents helped him.

“Whatever they do, I will support them 100 percent,” Karo said, pausing to think for a moment. “Unless it’s crack.”