Monday, April 15, 2013

Dont Call Me a Comedian


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”.
As a professional speaker I have to sell myself on a regular basis to meeting planners. In order to do that, I must have video, a cd, marketing materials, and a website. When SiriusXM radio asked for my materials, I simply reached onto the shelf and put together a package (with cookies) and over-nighted it. Opportunities come to us every day. The people who take advantage of those opportunities are prepared to embrace them. Talent, skill, and a good product are prerequisites for success. The trigger that creates the emotional buy-in, however, is often in the packaging. Are you waiting to be discovered? or are you building a package that will enable you to embrace success?


Patrick Henry is a funny professional speaker, author and songwriter. He is the author of The Pancake Principle: Seventeen sticky ways to make your customers flip for you. Buy it at Amazon.com 






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Patrick Henry is a professional speaker, humorist, author, and songwriter who delivers funny and entertaining keynote speeches. Patrick shows audiences how to create IMPACT! by creating extraordinary customer, client and co-worker experiences. He is what happens when Keynotes, Comedy and Concerts...Collide!