Agent Mike Berkowitz, who has helped make standup comedy one of the hottest segments of the concert touring business, is joining William Morris Endeavor, leaving Agency for the Performing Arts as it weathers a sexual assault scandal.
Berkowitz represents stars like Kevin Hart and Amy Schumer in their arena comedy tours. He was the subject of a multi-agency bidding war with WME beating out Creative Artists Agency and United Talent Agency, an individual familiar with the situation told TheWrap.
While CAA and UTA “chased him hard,” the WME offer is worth up to $5 million a year in compensation and commissions with a four-year commitment, the individual said. Berkowitz mingled with the agency’s top reps this week at a comedy department event, the insider added.
On Wednesday night, APA quietly named Jackie Knobbe and Max Burgos as the new co-heads of its comedy touring department. Berkowitz’s status as a member of APA’s board of directors remains unclear.
Berkowitz has a specialized and prized position in the agency world: mounting comedy tours for the likes of Hart and Schumer, who sell out venues like Madison Square Garden on top of their rich film and TV deals.
Hart’s 2015 “What Now?” worldwide comedy tour reportedly grossed over $1 million per show for 100 shows over a year, Forbes reported. The spectacle earned the tour — and Berkowitz — a profile in Rolling Stone.
Berkowitz’s importance at APA could not be understated: It’s a “keep the lights on” division at the company, another individual familiar with the matter told TheWrap. APA lost a whale when it fired Louis C.K. after he admitted to sexual misconduct. The company also faces a sexual misconduct scandal involving one of its own former agents, Tyler Grasham.
Grasham, a top talent agent to young stars, was fired in October after TheWrap reported on accusations from young men who said Grasham plied them with alcohol underage and sexually assaulted them.
Among the accusers were young men hoping for representation. Grasham is under LAPD and London Metropolitan Police investigation for three different charges, including an accusation he drugged and groped a 15-year-old boy.
Grasham has not responded to numerous requests for comment.