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Jeanne Robertson to perform May 24 at First Baptist Church in Gainesville
0512GO-JEANNE-ROBERTSON

Jeanne Robertson
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 24
Where: First Baptist Church sanctuary, 751 Green St. NW, Gainesville
Cost: $35 adult, $32 senior, $28 student or $80 series.
More info: www.theartscouncil.net or 770-534-2787

Get ready to laugh, because professional speaker/humorist Jeanne Robertson is coming to town.

Sponsored by The Arts Council, Robertson will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, in the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Gainesville.

The show is part of the The Arts Council’s Pearce Series, which draws performing artists to the area who would otherwise not be available without traveling to a major metropolitan city, according to the The Arts Council’s website.

And while the show normally would be in Pearce Auditorium at Brenau University, The Arts Council secured a bigger venue Thursday to accommodate the high ticket demand and a larger crowd.

The Arts Council’s Executive Director Gladys Wyant said the church’s sanctuary at 751 Green St. NW in Gainesville allowed her organization to reopen ticket sales. She started by calling people on the waiting list Thursday who wanted to see Robertson.

An elegant 6-foot-2 North Carolina native, Robertson uses good clean humor to examine the Southern way of life and turn the commonplace into the absurd. Self-described as a “Grandma gone viral,” Robertson grew to national acclaim in the late 2000s when YouTube clips of her performances began generating a following on the internet.

Since then, she has performed all across the United States. Robertson also is featured daily on top comedy satellite radio channels. 

Before her show, Robertson spoke with The Times about her career and comedic style.

 

Question: Ms. Robertson, can you talk a little about your background and how you got started as a humorist?

Answer: How I got started, I was a rising junior at Auburn, but I came home one weekend and entered into a local beauty pageant. I had never been in one before, but I won it. And that let me go to the Miss North Carolina, and I won that. And then I went to what we call in the South, “the Miss Amurica pageant.” I didn’t win that by any means, but I was named Miss Congeniality.

During that one year as Miss North Carolina, when I dropped out of school, I made more that 500 speeches. It took me about a week until I started saying things funny, and people were laughing, and I’ll tell you I just loved it.

Now this is my 53rd year, so until I started doing the theater shows, I wanted people to come up to the meeting planner and say “She’s terrific. Where did you get her?”

... You want to be able to say to people that, you can bring your mama and bring your teenagers, that everyone can hear the material and laugh, and not go away offended.

Q: So when and how did you bridge the gap from being a public speaker to being a performer?

A: Someone said “You need a DVD.” So we did that.

(We) sent a tape to everyone we had the name of in the Southeast who had a motorcoach company and said “We think that you can play this and your people will not be offended. It’s funny and it’s clean.”

After that the natural progression was that people started saying “Where can we see Jeanne live?” And so we started doing shows

They told me that I had enough name recognition and enough material that I could start doing shows around the country.

Q: Can you explain the difference between being a comedian and being a humorist?

A: Well I’m a humorist and not a comedian. The comedians sole objective is to get the majority of people to laugh, and it can be with any type of material or at anyone’s expense. They can go for politics, race, religion, area of the country, whatever. But if you go to see a comedian, that’s OK. You know that’s the type of material they use, and you know that you are in for it, and they could pick on you that night.

The humorists want you to laugh just as long, just as much, and just as often, but the entire time you want to make people laugh, but also impart a message.

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