In This Issue

I’m with ERIE

Comedian with a motivational story

March 30, 2009

Brett Leake
Policyholder with McArdle & Associates Agency in Ashland, Va.

Hometown: Richmond, Va.

Mike White

"Sitdown Standup" comedian Brett Leake has appeared on The Tonight Show and performed at the Pentagon, the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center.

Occupation: Motivational comedian

Where you may have seen him: With Jay Leno. Brett was the first comedian with a disability to appear on NBC’s The Tonight Show and has been on the show five times in all. He’s also performed at the Pentagon, the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center.

Living and laughing through adversity: Brett has a type of muscular dystrophy. He often refers to it, disarmingly, to break the ice with his audience. “For those of you who haven’t seen me before, I have a slight disability—a degree in economics,” he jokes. “Don’t feel sorry for me, folks. When I’m out of work, I know why.”

“Sitdown Standup Comedian:” This title on his business card is not a misprint. With the help of his new standup wheelchair, Brett can once again perform his comedy standing up, something he hadn’t been able to do for nine years. He was able to buy the chair with money he made through comedy—proof that humor can get things done.

Awards/honors: 2008 National Humor Treasure Award, 2008 (Virginia) Governor’s Caregiver Recognition Award

Web site:

Why Erie Insurance? “My dad was approached by Bob McArdle, an Agent who sells Erie Insurance in Ashland, Va., many years ago and we’ve been with them ever since. We’ve always received good service from ERIE. In fact, several years ago there were bad winds in Virginia that damaged several trees. We had a check in hand that day. Today, I have an auto, homeowners and liability policy with ERIE and the McArdle & Associates Agency.”

His motivational life advice: “Chart your own course. Serve others. And make the most out of what you’ve got.”

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