Wisconsin native Pete Lee is glad he wasn’t accepted by the big university in his home state. He ended up at the University of Minnesota, where he discovered standup comedy. “I’m so lucky I didn’t wind up at the University of Wisconsin. I would have gotten drunk every night and flunked out.” Instead, he found Acme Comedy Co. “I remember going with some friends to see Nick Swardson, who was a young phenom,” Lee recalls. “I saw a show where he emceed, Mitch Hedberg featured, and Doug Stanhope headlined. It was such a cool show to see in college. Soon after, I signed up for my first open mic.” It went well, as he had been writing jokes for some time in preparation. “I went to my college guidance counselor the next day,” Lee adds. A pre-med student, he asked what degree he could switch to in order to graduate quickly. Journalism was the answer. “I didn’t want to be a doctor anymore; I wanted to do comedy.” It was a drastic move to make after just one open mic—especially in a business that’s not known for its job security—but things worked out. “I remember when I first started doing comedy,” Lee says. “My dad said, ‘You need a steady job.’ There was a point where my dad lost his job, both my brothers lost their jobs, and then there was me, a comedian, the only one who had income. I told you so, Dad!” 18+.