Jan McInnis – The Work Lady®


Laughing at things that are uneven

Part Two

This decision led to some pretty painful nights for me when I first started out doing many bar gigs. Sometimes these heavy drinking groups did not appreciate my clean, clever humor on kids and family, because they were looking for edgier and/or dirtier jokes. Bombing in a bar will make you drink.

And sometimes it wasn’t just bar audiences that wanted dirty jokes. I once had a waitress in a major comedy club tell me that an audience member told her that he didn’t like the show because none of us comedians cussed, even though the other 499 attendees loved us and we practically got a standing ovation! He said it wasn’t an “adult” show without curse words.

Despite weird comments like that and some tough, tough shows, the decision to stick with clean material eventually helped me out more than I could have imagined. It led me to so many fun places and unique experiences in front of audiences who don’t give a damn that I don’t say “damn.” And, it got me away from audiences who didn’t appreciate my material.

Years into my comedy career later, when I was pretty much done with these tough gigs, I ran into a comedian friend whom I hadn’t seen in over a decade. He always did well in bar gigs, and those crowds loved him. Many nights, I’d skulk off stage while he’d go up and rock the room. But at this meeting, he said he had seen my picture up in lights on the strip in Las Vegas, and he confessed that he was a little jealous. He said when he started out he swore that he’d never do any pot jokes, and now he can’t get hired in Vegas because he had 60 minutes of pot jokes. He knew he had compromised his act just to get those immediate laughs.

Handling the inconsistent times is a true skill that we all need to practice! In my new keynote “Flourishing in Failure – Handling Mistakes Like a Comedian,” I offer more tips and insights on how I got through these tough times and came out ahead.

So figure out what it is that you can be consistent with and that you will not compromise, and stick with it. There is a huge difference in reaching your long-term goal in a way that you can feel good about.

About the author. . . comedian, keynote speaker, and comedy writer Jan McInnis has shared her customized humor keynotes with thousands of associations and corporations. She is also the author of “Finding the Funny FAST; How To Create Quick Humor To Connect With Clients, Coworkers And Crowds,” and “Convention Comedian: Stories and Wisdom From Two Decades of Chicken Dinners and Comedy Clubs.” Jan was featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Huffington Post for her clean humor. From a recent client: “Thank you Jan. You were a HIT! It was a good conference and you capped it up for us perfectly.”