I believe it was about 3 years ago when I saw Jeanne Robertson on YouTube for the first time. Indeed, I laughed hard and long, but that was only the beginning. Jeanne Robertson is, on so many levels, just plain stunning. She is 6’2’’ and wears it well. She is at home in her own skin. She is physically beautiful, a snappy, age appropriate dresser, and has a killer sense of timing in her comedic delivery. She is the quintessentially charming yet substantive Southern gentlewoman. And, the best part, she is genuinely “Rated G.”
In 1963, she was crowned Miss North Carolina in the Miss America pageant, and while she didn’t win the national title, to this day she holds the record for the largest margin by which any contestant has won the Miss Congeniality title in the Miss America contest. I think her fellow contestants must have surrendered due to the sheer delightfulness of her humor, and the fact that they were laughing so hard their sides hurt. She went on to teach school, be a wife and mom, and never had the intention of becoming a nationally known, multiple award winning speaker. She has an uncanny gift of taking such seemingly common topics like husbands going grocery shopping, or the more curiosity generating tale of bungie jumping as a senior citizen, and making you howl with laughter.
Jeanne Robertson is like the aunt you can’t wait to talk to
at the family reunion, who always has a new story to tell that
keeps the whole family in stitches.
- Thom O'Neil, The Carlisle Theater, Carlisle, PA
Some of Miss Jeanne’s other offerings are, “Don’t Go Rafting Without A Baptist In The Boat,” “Don’t Underestimate A Daddy,” “Don’t Go Line Dancing In The Ladies' Room,” “Mothers vs. Teenage Daughters,” and “Mother’s Revenge.”
Athens Bible School has invited Jeanne to come to the Von Braun Center on May 10th as part of a fundraising event to take care of some major needs at the school, and provide a memorable evening for the whole family. I spoke with Norm Webb about their needs and goals, but it took awhile to get there because we both started comparing and cracking up at our favorite “Jeanne routines.”
ABS had some huge and unexpected expenses this year, and did not want to pass on the cost to young families who are already sacrificing in order to get their kids a private Christian education. The HVAC unit in the dining hall went out, and cost $50K to fix. Norm told me that the cost of insurance for ABS employees is now 30% more expensive, and they also have not raised tuition in 4 years. They are “fighting to stay in the black” right now, and having Jeanne come will be a win-win situation. “Jeanne’s show is helping us deal with some significant unexpected expenses,” said Norm, and he also added that the evening will increase their ability to provide financial aid to students.
In “digging in” to Miss Jeanne’s brand, I learned something about being a comedian as opposed to a humorist. Comedians have rapid fire “bits” that are chock full of jokes, and are often strung together. Humorists take their time with the story, set it up well, allow the audience to have the opportunity to imagine it in their own minds, and the journey is enjoyable every step of the way. Jeanne refers to her material as “presentations.” She is also the author of Don’t Let The Funny Stuff Get Away, and Mayberry Humor Across The USA, along with some collaborative titles. In addition, Jeanne does something quite wonderful, and that is, teach others to use humor as a strategy for success in life. She also has the ability to just be “light,” say, for an after dinner presentation, or slip a number of important principles into her material that teach life lessons. She has produced 7 DVDs, and her husband, Jerry, (to whom she affectionately refers as “Left Brain”) helps her with her business/ministry, and often travels with her.
Norm mentioned that he “loves the fact that Ticketmaster is handling everything. They have done an outstanding job of advertising, and have made things so much easier for us.” The prices range from $35 to $150, the top price also giving the ticket holders access to a private reception with Jeanne. There are also sponsor opportunities, and Lynn Persell Home Builders of Athens, as well as Bankston Motor Homes of Huntsville have already offered their generous help.
“The VBC has a total of 1995 seats available for the evening,” said Norm, “and already 1400 have been sold.” Truly, you need to “get after it” and get your tickets quickly, or you will miss out on a night that will help a school, and demonstrate in a new and charming way that “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” For more information, you can call Norm Webb at 256-431-7946. You may order your tickets through Ticketmaster.com, by calling (800) 745-3000 or in person at the VBC box office.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner