Five Things I Learned From Forensic Files

Comedy from a TV show? You betcha! I watch a variety of murder shows from Forensic Files to Who the Bleep Did I Marry and beyond, and I’ve learned more than how to get away with murder. I’ve put together a list of 5 things that you can learn and apply to business. Below is my latest humor newsletter article. It’s a GREAT example of taking a hobby, such as watching murder shows, and pulling out humor lessons that can be applied to your business life.

What do you like to binge watch?

THAT is where you’ll find the material to write funny articles. Now of course, don’t make fun of people. Murder affects families, so I DON’T make jokes. But I do find lessons that are funny. Click here for the article.

Here’s an Excerpt:

THREE: Your pets CAN get you arrested. Yes, cat and dog fur left on victims has been traced back to the pet owner. LESSON: The details that you pay the least attention to are the ones that will cause you the most grief. Should you skip that sound check? Maybe not, because this sound system might be slightly different than the last thousand ones you’ve tested. Should you really re-read an email again before blasting it out to clients? Do it. I almost sent one to a recent client saying, “I hope you have not had a chance to relax since the event.” Oops! I changed “not” to “now.”

What business advice can murder shows, like Forensic Files, teach us?

Click here for the full article.

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How I Learned About Comedy Headshots the Hard Way!

How I Learned About Comedy Headshots the Hard Way!

“What’s a Headshot?” I asked my friend Rob. He explained that it’s a picture of your head. Oh, makes sense and sounds straight forward.

We had both started out in comedy together and we were learning all the lingo and terms so we could be real comedians, and we kept hearing the word “headshot.”

Nowadays you can take a headshot with your phone, but in the 90’s

a headshot was a BIG DEAL. You slap on make-up (no app filters), find a photographer, bring 4 – 5 different outfits, and then once you saw the proofs, you had decide on which one to buy to make copies of. It was expensive and lots of work.

Rob found us a professional photographer, I’ll call Steve, who lived nearby. This guy had never photographed comedians, but he had traveled on USO tours shooting rock stars. Perfect! We figured we’d soon be rock star comedians!

My shoot went great – aside from the fact that it was the 90’s and my hairstyle looked it, plus I wore a turtleneck for the shoot. But luckily I went with a picture of me smiling as opposed to other comics who got all fancy by cocking their heads and pointing at the camera (Rob and I called it the “I’m gonna make you laugh” look), or doing something else whacky with their hands.

After picking the perfect picture and paying for 100 prints of it, we found a snag. Steve had put his copyright on the photo, and, as it turned out, most of the clubs couldn’t use it. Many newspapers wouldn’t run a copyrighted picture, and some clubs had a hard time using it in the promo kits. Ugh.

I figured out a solution by attaching a letter from Steve each time I sent the headshot out, saying that he gave his permission for it to be printed. It was a huge hassle and it didn’t work for many places, but it helped a little. I guess even newspapers knew that sometimes comics forged stuff. . . like a letter from the photographer (though mine was legit).

So after a year, back to Steve I went to do them again. I told Steve ahead of time that he was NOT to put his copyright on the photos. He agreed . . . until after he took them. That’s when he said, no. It’s his work, and he’s going to let people know it. We had a HUGE blowout argument in his studio. I finally said, ok, put your copyright on them. But the first time it gets refused by a newspaper or other media, then he has to pay for reprints without the copyright. That got his attention. Copies were expensive.

So, in a flurry of rage, Steve slammed the proofs down in front of me, screamed “fine! Have it your way!” and stormed off. He was shaking and so was I, but I got the non-copyrighted proofs from him and made my prints.

In retrospect he should have thanked me. Does he really want credit for the shot you see here? I doubt it would have gotten him work! LOL.

But lesson learned. Get agreements, like copyrighting, in writing. It would have saved me a big screaming match and lots of ill will.

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Enjoy your weekend!


Bombing Onstage: An Important Lesson

I’ve had a few weeks in my early comedy career that REALLY stand out . . . for the beating I took onstage. Not a physical beating, but mentally they were knockouts.

One memorable week of being pummeled started out great. I had a killer set on the first show of the first night which was perfect because the club owner was there to witness it. The next day she left for a conference, and I proceeded to have some of the worst shows ever. NOTHING WORKED. I was doing the trifecta of bad comedy: my stage presence, jokes, and timing all tanking at once. The audiences were not amused; literally. I was pretty baffled too.

As I continued through the week, my “baffled” turned to frustration as I tried everything to figure out what was going on! But I had no clue. In fact, my first show Friday night was so bad, that, in an attempt to get whatever bad vibes I was attracting off of me, I went back to my hotel room between shows and changed my shirt. Maybe a new outfit would bring new energy. The late show went even worse; turns out the bad shows weren’t my shirt’s fault.

I can’t tell you the variety of emotions you experience during a long week of bombing; from anger at yourself to fear of never working again to frustration that these are the same damn jokes I’ve told before to raucous applause and laughter. It rocks you to your core.

stories from my comedy career. This one is about bombing for an entire week at a comedy club
Stories from my comedy career! This is about bombing!


the last show on Sunday night show arrives and so does the club owner back from her trip. I got on stage and ROCKED THE ROOM. Yeah, I was pretty surprised myself!

After the show, as I’m standing in the back office being paid by the owner, when she causally asked how the week went. My first thought was to say the shows were fine and pretend that I didn’t notice the silent stares from 7 separate audiences. Hey, she saw the 2 shows that rocked. I figured I could save some face, hightail it to my car and never be heard from again. BUT I knew she’d see the comment cards and then know that I was not only a terrible comic, but a liar.

So I fessed up and said that they didn’t go great, and in fact I said that don’t think I ever do really killer in her room. Without missing a beat, she said “I know Jan. You never do really great in my room. But I really like your act and I think you’re funny, so I’ll keep booking you.” RELIEF! And surprise!

I left the club feeling like I was on cloud 9. That one compliment did it. And the fact that she liked my act and believed in my comedic skills was such a huge bonus.

The lesson –

If you don’t give yourself an honest personal assessment when things go wrong, you won’t give someone else the chance to make you feel good about your mistakes.

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Take care and enjoy your journey!


Comedy Writing Gigs part 3

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Watching Comedy

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What Have You Laughed About Recently?

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Humor in Pain

Funny jokes come out of pain. . . if you can stay present and see the humor. When we’re sick, we don’t feel like laughing, but that’s precisely the time we need to pay attention to finding the humor – because you’re looking at life from a different...

Take The Road Less Traveled

As for funny things, that's not only the name of a popular book, but it's a philosophy for finding humor. One of the shows I performed at this week was for 600 women at a church. The crowd was so big that they turned the men's room into a ladies room. . ....

Dialing For Dollars

In my line of work, there's a lot of cold calling. Sure I get work through agents and bureaus, but the majority of my work i get through "dialing for dollars." And while you may not need to make cold calls to bring in an income, you still will need to...

Judging Jokes

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Remembering Your Funny Jokes

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5 Things Not to Say to a Comedian

People think they can say ANYTHING to a comedian and why not? They're a comedian, they can take a joke. Right? Well, sure, but there are still things that you should NOT say to a comedian. Why? Because number one, these things are rude and number two we hear them all...

A Comedian on Being Genuine

Joke material and funny stuff these days is all around us. . .especially if you’re a comedian and you write political humor. Between “alternative facts” and bringing your own cheering section to a briefing, the current president is opening himself up to a...

Political Humor

I chatted on this comedy blog infrequently in the past couple of months. .  .okay not at all. I’ve been in the middle of some comedy projects that are exciting but taking more focus than I can handle. So for funny this week, I thought with all the politics...


Letting Go . . .Of joke ideas that aren’t working that is. And this is a hard one because, as we comics say when we come up with an idea for a joke we just know “there’s something there.” I’ve been working on a joke about “tribute bands” – you know bands...

Wedding Toast Jokes For Laughs

In previous blogs I’ve talked about using topical jokes to bring in some current humor, and I’ve got a great example of it. I’ve started writing topical jokes for a wedding toast website for the best man:...