“I had a show last year at the Honeywell Center. I had a great time,” says Jeanne Robertson. “I was pleased they wanted me to come back.”
The 70-year-old humorist and professional speaker will be bringing her clean, family-friendly comedy to the Ford Theater at the Honeywell Center in Wabash on Aug. 16. Robertson started her speaking career 51 years ago after being crowned Miss North Carolina at the age of 19.
“Pageants were big in the South,” says Robertson of the experience. “The year I was Miss North Carolina, I had never been in a pageant.”
The pageant gave Robertson an audience, and she made a life-defining discovery. “I found I could make people laugh,” she says.
Her brand of humor is mostly observational. She shares anecdotes of being a 6’2″ woman in a beauty pageant or the misadventures of her husband, whom she affectionately refers to as “Left Brain.” And she’s as humorous as she is wholesome.
“When I started, I couldn’t have worked if I called myself a comedian,” she says. “The humorist’s goal is to have to audience laugh just as hard, but to not have anybody leave offended.”
She’s spent the majority of her career speaking at conventions and corporate events. “I love speaking,” Robertson says. “I really didn’t anticipate having shows that were open to the public.”
But the internet changed that. Robertson embraced Facebook and YouTube and posted some of her bits online. “We went viral,” she exclaims. “Grandma gone viral!”
“Some people approached me from Nashville,” Robertson says. “They thought I could sell some tickets.” They tried it in Dallas, Texas, and her show sold out quickly.
Since then she’s been doing more and more performances for public audiences. “Last year I did 51 speeches at ticketed events,” she says. “Most of them are theater events. The comedians say, ‘You jumped it. You never did the comedy club route.’”
For those who caught her performance in Wabash last year, don’t expect to see the same set this time around. “You don’t want to be a one trick pony,” says Robertson. “You really need a whole new show.”
However, rest assured, the 90-minute set will be gut-busting hilarious. She works very hard to keep her material fresh and funny. “You just have to make yourself do that,” she says.
But, “It doesn’t even feel like a job,” she says. “I’m having more fun than a person my age should have.”
She’ll take the stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16, and she’ll be in the lobby meeting with audience members before and after the show. Tickets run from $18 to $35.
For anyone who can’t make it out, fear not. Robertson says she’ll be taping a new show in September. And for the first time in her career, she’ll be doing an encore to reprise one of her most-beloved routines.