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.

For more stories about my comedy career, check out my Facebook Business Page or subscribe to my newsletter for 3 stories a year.

And check out my other posts HERE!

Take care and enjoy your journey!


Writing funny Stories – WOW people with easy humor

This is a blog about humor writing, and so I’ve focused a lot on adding humor to your written and verbal communications. BUT another way to add humor is by writing or telling funny, real-life, stories about your experiences. I’ve been doing that on my Facebook business page – click here

Funny Stories GRAB people’s attention

Which is what you’re trying to do with jokes and humor. See some of the examples on my Facebook page. Here is how one story starts. . .

So I’m standing in my boss’s office many moons ago, getting absolutely reamed out. He had just seen the budget numbers, and we were wayyy over by like $200,000+! He couldn’t understand how I ran my department before he came on board in the last year because I apparently didn’t know anything about budgeting. Blah blah blah. After a few minutes of this tirade, I was able to break in and ask WHAT did I overspend on.

He grabbed the printout, and pointed at a line item, practically shoving the sheet of paper in my face. He said, “look, we are about 200% over budget from last year on this item alone!” I looked for a minute, and then said, “Well, Robert (not his real name). We ARE way over on that item. It’s personnel. We hired YOU!” Que in the moment of complete awkward silence with a few ahs and ahems tossed in. I left without an apology, but his stumbling and stammering around made up for it.

Find the rest of this funny story here, along with many others.

It’s a short funny story, but it’s effective .. . funny with a little seriousness. And then I let people know about my humor keynotes on using humor in business. Stories are a fun way to use humor without having to write a comedy routine.

Where do I find the funny stories?

Well, from my life . . .and you can find them in your life too. Just write down stuff that has or is happening to you . . . keep your phone (pen and paper) handy, for when a funny story pops up; and they will. Also talk with friends and family; they will jog your memory to the crazy stuff that happened as a kid.

Funny Stories and cats go together
Funny Stories and cats go together

What Should I Include?

A picture of course – such as the one of my cat Maizie above. I’ve also included a “call to action” to give some attention to my keynotes. As for writing the actual story thought, make sure to start your story off with some action, such as I did with me standing in front of my boss getting yelled at. And build a little with some details like him shoving the paper in front of me and me wondering what it was that I was over budget on. And of course, make sure the story really happened. When you write jokes, you can make stuff up and exaggerate, but with writing funny stories, the story and pretty much everything in it needs to be real – unless you promote yourself as a fiction writer.

That’s it! Most of us have had funny things happen to us all of our lives. It’s time to share those funny stories with the rest of the world! And speaking of funny, check out my website –

And don’t forget about my short humor writing tips on youtube. Here’s a post about those!

My Tax Day Joke and Quick Tips for Writing One

Today is TAX DAY! Which is the perfect day to A. Write jokes about taxes and B. write a blog post about writing current events jokes.

Writing jokes based on current events

is a great way to stay relevant and engage with your audience. With the constant flow of news and information in today’s world, there is no shortage of material to work with.

Here’s the Joke.

Here are four quick tips to help you write jokes based on current events:

  1. Pick a common “enemy” – Rich or poor, the majority of us HATES paying or (even if you don’t owe anything) doing taxes. It’s an extra headache AND hassle. Which makes it PERFECT for writing the joke.
  1. Pair it with something similar. Make an analogy with another thing that many people hate (or like or don’t understand – pick one). In this joke I’ve done it with a form of entertainment, that many people aren’t particularly fond of.
  1. Make it personal. Don’t say “we all hate taxes” . . . say that YOU hate taxes. If you say “we,” then there’s always someone who will say – nope, not me. But if you make it persona, people will see themselves in it, and agree with you.
  • Exaggerate. Okay, the joke below is NOT true, because in reality, I would rather watch Opera. But it’s funy to THINK that Opera is so bad, I’d rather do my taxes.

Writing jokes based on current events is a GREAT way to stand out from the people who are complaining about current events. So keep your eyes open. There’s a current event on most every day that can use a little humor!

For more ideas on humor writing,

check out my Youtube Page where I have a series of “How to write Humor” videos. Each one is under 1 minute and will give you a quick humor writing tip. Click Here!

And check out my other blog posts by clicking Here!

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