by Ashley Whalen)
Jeanne Robertson was still in her teens when she discovered she could make people laugh, and she’s still at it 50 years later. The humorist and Internet sensation will appear at the Chandler Center for the Arts on Saturday, Feb. 1.
A professional speaker and humorist, Robertson is known for her friendly style of humor, personal stories, YouTube videos and material that frequently is featured on SiriusXM satellite radio’s Laugh USA family-comedy channel.
A true Southern girl, Robertson, 70, began her career shortly after she was crowned Miss North Carolina in 1963. Due to frequent personal appearances made as a beauty queen, Robertson realized she could make people laugh — and that she enjoyed doing it.
“I was a 6-foot-2 former basketball player that could go in front of people, make faces, say some humorous things and people would laugh,” Robertson said. “I found out I could be funny, and it was a great opportunity.”
The hour-and-a-half program will feature new material based on humor found in everyday life. It’s appropriate for all ages.
“I look for material every day,” Robertson said. “It inspires me to find humor in everything and to look for something funny. I make it a priority.”
The audience can expect to hear stories on such topics as having teenagers, traveling as a speaker, aging and bungee jumping naked.
“I don’t tell jokes, I tell stores. And I love to poke fun at myself,” Robertson said. “I want people to sit there and say, ‘The same things happened to me!’ I love to tell stories people can relate to.”
Calling herself a humorist instead of a comedian, Robertson touches on both professions.
“The difference between a comedian and a humorist is that a comedian’s sole goal is to make people laugh, and that is at anyone’s expense,” said Robertson, who performs more than 100 shows each year. “A humorist wants to make people laugh just as much, but is not comfortable going after people — it’s a friendlier style of humor.”
Robertson has received numerous honors, such as the Certified Speaking Professional designation in 1980 and being inducted into the Council of Peers Award for Excellence Speaker Hall of Fame in 1981.
Along with serving as president of the National Speakers Association in 1985, Robertson received the Cavett Award in 1989 and the Toastmasters International’s Golden Gavel Award in 1998. She was named Auburn University’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000, North Carolinian of the Year in 2001, Woman of Achievement by the Miss North Carolina Organization in 2003 and the National Speakers Association’s Master of Influence Award in 2012.
Robertson was profiled on “60 Minutes” in 2000, at the “Grand Ole Opry” in 2013 and has released six humor CDs and DVDs. She wrote the books “Humor: The Magic of Genie,” “Mayberry Humor Across the USA” and “Don't Let the Funny Stuff Get Away.”
She currently serves on the board of trustees of Elon University in North Carolina
*Blogger's note: I chose this story because she has written many books including Humor: The Magic of Genie, Mayberry Humor Across the U.S.A., and Don't Let The Funny Stuff Get Away. She has also collaborated on some books.