What’s the difference between a comedian and a humorist? Most humorists, especially those who began their careers as comedians, would say that the difference is context…(and money). Comedians primarily perform in comedy clubs while humorists are often writers and speak and perform at conventions, association meetings, and corporate events.
A popular quip among my buddies in the National Speakers Association is “do you have to be funny to be a professional speaker?…only if you want to get paid”. My goal as a humorist is to, not only make people laugh, but to also deliver content, motivation, and expertise to my audiences in a funny way. For that reason, I was pleasantly surprised and a little taken off guard when SiriusXM Radio called and asked me to perform a one hour comedy show from the Blue Collar Theater in Nashville, Tennessee last month. In one phone call I became what I never aspired to be…a comedian. I don’t perform in comedy clubs so, in preparation for my show, I pored over my material and removed anything that resembled content. My wife and I, along with some friends from North Carolina, flew to Nashville for the recording. The Blue Collar Radio theater is tucked away in the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. The Southeastern Conference Championship basketball game was being held that weekend so we fought our way through Vanderbilt and University of Kentucky fans until a security guard saw us and escorted us inside. The studio audience, made up of invited guests and SiriusXM subscribers, was lined up waiting to go in. After a few brief hellos, I was escorted up the elevator to the “green room” in rock star fashion which is where I decided that I could get used to being a comedian. For about 20 minutes I chatted with the programmers for the SiriusXM comedy stations. One of them said “I love you Blue Collar Radio guys”. I asked why and he told me that he regularly visits comedy clubs across the country looking for talent to put on the radio for the uncensored comedy stations such as Raw Dog or the Foxxhole. He said “ I will find someone who I think is great and ask them to send me their materials so I can put them on the radio…they rarely follow through.” He then went on to say “when I ask one of you Blue Collar guys to send me your materials, not only do I have a package the next day…there’s a box of cookies with it”.