Welcome to our new website!
The Tragedy Academy

Recent Episodes

October 03, 2022

Dan Lambert - American Top Team & AEW

Summary: In this episode of the Tragedy Academy, Jay welcomes Dan Lambert, owner of American Top Team, the legendary MMA gym. Dan grew American Top Team from an amateur MMA gym, doing it only for the love of the game, to one ...

September 26, 2022

Heather Jess - Momma Squad

Are you a parent? This episode is for you! Tune in as Jay welcomes Heather Jess to talk about post-partum depression, the challenges of being a parent, and the power of community support in raising children. Heather Jess is t...

September 19, 2022

Kerri McKinney "Perfectly Imperfect"

In this episode, Jay and Gary welcome Kerri McKinney to talk about the highs and lows of being an alcoholic and getting sober. Kerri is an empowerment coach, energy healer, and speaker who is also a recovering alcoholic who s...

September 12, 2022

Iden Crockett

Summary *TW: This episode contains discussions of suicide; please listen with caution.* This week on the podcast, Jay welcomes Iden Crockett. Iden is a true Renaissance woman: artist, writer, photographer, musician, and so mu...

September 05, 2022

Olivia Blair - Body Dysmorphia

Summary This week Jay welcomes actress Olivia Blair to the podcast. Today, Olivia pursues her passions of acting and film, however she hasn't always been able to live as her authentic self. Olivia first began to struggle with...

August 29, 2022

Sip The Motivational Kid, Deandre Smith

Summary *TW* - This episode discusses experiences with death and violence that may be upsetting for some listeners. Please listen with caution. This week The Tragedy Academy is honored to have Deandre "Sip the Kid" Smith on t...

About the Hosts

Jay Hicks Profile 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 DeFranco Profile 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.