Jeanne Robertson is entering her third year as a touring comedienne. Last year, she performed as a headliner in 19 cities for thousands of paying customers and this year, she will entertain thousands more.
Tell those numbers to comedy circuit veterans and they will get you called a liar, or worse, according to Robertson.
Thanks to satellite radio and the Internet, Robertson, 68, was discovered by the public after over 40 years of making people laugh on the speaking circuit.
Jeanne Robertson will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 30 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
"For 48 years, I was a noncelebrity, professional speaker going meeting to meeting, convention to convention, and the people who knew my name were the meeting planners," Robertson said, in her pleasant, undulating Southern drawl.
That all changed about five years ago when Robertson was asked to contribute some live performances to comedy channels on Sirius and XM Radio. A new audience for her homespun tales of North Carolina life was born.
Today, the 10 video bits she has posted online have been viewed nearly 15 million times.
Robertson's newfound popularity gained her the attention of promoters, who began booking her for shows around the country.
"Before (as a speaker), I could have been in Philadelphia 10 times already, but it was at a convention, and the general public could not come in," Robertson said.
Robertson discovered her talent for the stage after representing North Carolina in the Miss America pageant.
As the tallest Miss America contestant ever (6-foot-2), she gave more than 500 speeches in the following year and soon made speaking her full-time profession.
Robertson doesn't plan on giving up the conventions any time soon - she spoke at 104 last year - but performing for the public provides a different challenge.
"You've got to have more of a point in speaking," Robertson said. "At my shows, people really want to come for fun."
She cites Bill Cosby and Bob Newhart as inspirations for her material, which is largely based on her life experience and is all self-written.
"I don't call myself a comedienne as much as I do a humorist; I weave a little bit of a longer story and it is appropriate for everyone - you can bring your momma or your teenage daughter."
"I love when people leave saying 'You know, she must've been living in our house, because that exact thing happened to me,' " Robertson said. "I've created a cast of characters - characters that I tell about throughout in stories and they begin to think they know the people."
Robertson has never been to Williamsport and she's excited to make acquaintance with the place.
"They called and they booked me and I'm coming and we're going to have a good time," she said. "I'll be out front before the show starts and out afterward as long as people want to chit chat, so come with your family or friends or church group and make a night of it."
Robertson will perform at 7:30 p.m. March 30 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
Tickets are $32.50, $27.50 and $15 and available at caclive.com.