The Tragedy Academy

Recent Episodes

January 30, 2023

Susan Gold "Wake Up Little Susie" Trauma through a child's eyes.

Welcome to episode 78 of the Tragedy Academy, where we explore the stories of those who have overcome great struggles and come out on top. This week, Jay sits down with Susan Gold, a woman who has turned her own personal tragedy into a successful career as a producer and talent broker. Susan shares her inspiring journey of using her ability to discern where people are best applied, honed from her own trauma, to make a name for herself in the entertainment industry while offering actionable advice for listeners looking to improve their mental well-being. She shares how life in Montana as a coach now helps her remain at peace.  But don't let the heavy topic fool you; this episode is filled with laughter and moments of levity as Susan and Jay bond over their shared love of overcoming adversity. Tune in for a truly uplifting and entertaining conversation on the Tragedy Academy.

January 23, 2023

Anthony Hyland - "Clout"

In this episode of The Tragedy Academy podcast, host Jay Hicks interviews Anthony Hyland, the focus of the new docu-series "Clout." The series details Hyland's personal struggle to clear his name after false allegations of sexual assault were made against him. The episodes provide a raw and emotional examination of the impact of these false accusations on Hyland's life and the lives of those around him, as well as an exploration of the motivations behind the person who made the false allegations.

January 17, 2023

Detention Episode: Professional Fighter Pearl Gonzalez - "The Slappening"

In this special nighttime detention episode of the Tragedy Academy Podcast, host Jay and co-host Gary welcome special guest Pearl Gonzalez, a professional boxer and MMA fighter known for her power in combat sports. Pearl is a...

January 16, 2023

Marina Hernandez "Chicana Pride"

In this episode of The Tragedy Academy, Jay, Gary, and guest Marina Hernandez have a thought-provoking and insightful conversation about cultural identity and the challenges and celebrations that come with it. Marina, a Chicana business owner and photographer in East Las Vegas shares her experiences of being told she does not belong in certain environments because of her ethnicity and style. Despite these challenges, Marina persevered and embraces her cultural identity, using it as a source of inspiration and pride in her work.

January 09, 2023

Jay - The Origin Story

Join Jay & Gary on the latest episode of The Tragedy Academy podcast as they explore the journey of finding authenticity and starting a successful podcast. In this candid conversation, Jay reflects on his past as a self-cente...

January 02, 2023

Detention - What does a bear do in a locker room for five days?

Summary On this week's "Detention" episode, Jay & Gary, our favorite delinquents, have brought up some seriously "heavy-hitting" topics. They were supposed to have Jay as a guest. Instead, things turned unexpected when Gary t...

About the Hosts

Jay HicksProfile Photo

Jay Hicks

Host / Owner

Florida native Jay Hicks is a veteran, music producer, podcaster, graphic designer, and the owner and creative mind behind The Tragedy Academy Podcast. Jay has held many careers, from digging septic drain fields to being a Financial Services Solution Architect Manager for one of the nation's largest consulting firms. Jay has experience producing and engineering podcasts, voice-overs, promotional videos, and advertisements.

I lived most of my life imprisoned in my mind, a slave to past experiences and choices, as well as anxiety over the future. Seemingly random memories and worries trapped me: Will I be successful? Am I successful enough? Does she love me? Will people admire me? Do people hate me? Am I the way that I am because someone made me this way? Someone told me I'm no good. Does that mean it is true? I experienced shame over past bad decisions or was overly prideful with no need. The list of mental agonies is endless.

Looking at this box created around my life, I can see that I had succumbed to an onslaught of past and present thoughts. I had forgotten entirely about NOW. I wasn't grateful for today, the moment, family, friends, existence itself. I will not break down my construct and inner demons, but I want to give some insight and share my thoughts on what I believe is missing from humankind today.

I never learned how to be thankful and present now. I was taught to focus on the perceived problems from my past experiences or my need to prove something to imaginary adversaries. For myself, it has been a journey to this point - not good, not bad, just experiences as they all define who I am today. Without them, I would not see this need to be grateful in my own life. This realization is what drives my work, my creativity, and my mission.

Gary DeFrancoProfile Photo

Gary DeFranco


Cleveland native Gary DeFranco is the Emmy nominated Executive Producer of UFC's The Ultimate Fighter and Discovery Channel's Street Outlaws and has produced over 500 television episodes for major networks (ESPN, Fox, Discovery Channel, Playboy TV, Spike TV, Bravo, Travel Channel). DeFranco is a recording artist, music producer, podcaster, graphic designer, and the owner and creative mind behind Max Glow Media/Design/Records. Gary has 20 years of experience producing non-scripted television, feature-length documentaries, music videos, and commercials. As the producer of shows like The Ultimate Fighter, Street Outlaws, Playboy Shoot Out, and UFC Next Level, DeFranco has seen it all and has brought that wealth of knowledge to The Tragedy Academy.