‘6-foot, 2-inch basketball player in the pageant’

This was another great interview for the SanTan Sun News. Jeanne Robertson had me laughing quite a bit as she told jokes while answering questions. A very sweet lady.

Article published in the SanTan Sun News Dec. 21, 2013 issue

Humorist Jeanne Robertson returns to Chandler Sat., Feb. 1

Jeanne Robertson

Jeanne Robertson

Jeanne Robertson was well on her way to becoming a successful Auburn University student when she won the Miss North Carolina pageant 50 years ago.

Putting her college career on hold, she traveled throughout the state on a speaking tour which offered a glimpse into her future. Robertson, who still lives in the Tar Heel State, learned she was a witty speaker who could make people laugh.

She never looked back.

Now at age 70, the well-known humorist will bring her comedy show to the Chandler Center for the Arts on Sat., Feb. 1.

“I started telling stories about being a 6-foot, 2-inch basketball player in the pageant,” Robertson says. “They like the true things that are funny.”

Her speaking engagements went viral on YouTube. She delved into ticketed events after her material was played on Sirius XM.

“My first reaction was, ‘I don’t think so,’” Robertson says. “My background was just, go to the convention and the people were there. Now you are asking people to buy tickets to come and see me.”

Her first show in Dallas sold out immediately.

“The name does sell tickets,” Robertson says.

As a humorist, she says she tries to weave a little bit of a longer story with a point. She learned that as a speaker.

“When you go into the theater, it’s entertainment—entertainment with a message and a speech,” she explains. “They are coming to be entertained. If you slip in a message they seem to appreciate it.”

Last year, Robertson made 101 appearances, 49 of which were speeches and 51 were ticketed events.

“I’m having a ball. I like what I do so much,” she says, adding that she is not ready to retire. “I’m in demand, so why? (Let’s) see how long I can go.”

Robertson spends between 23 to 25 days a month traveling for 10 months before taking time off between Thanksgiving and New Year to write more material.

“I write material every day,” Robertson explains. “Is it all good? No.”

She culls her material from everyday life and finds humor in everything that surrounds her. With traveling becoming tougher, Robertson still finds humor.

“I not only find the stories for my programs, I really influence myself to keep my sense of humor,” she explains.

Robertson spends time people watching and talking to others. Talking to strangers, she finds, encourages them to tell her funny stories. She also finds herself eavesdropping. Robertson says when she is at the airport and students are stretched on the ground, she fi nds herself scooting closer, so she can catch a particular phrase or funny word to add to her material.

“You can bring your momma or your teenager; it’s appropriate for the family,” Robertson says. “First, I had an older market of people, now because of Sirius XM, junior high and high school students are coming as well.”

Robertson will perform at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, at 7:30 p.m. Sat., Feb. 1. Prices range from $28 to $38. For information visit, chandlercenter.org

 

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