Humorist Jeanne Robertson Will Perform for an SRO Crowd on Nov. 19th at the Clayton Center

Jeanne Robertson is a teacher-turned-humorist
Jeanne Robertson is a teacher-turned-humorist

Jeanne Robertson is a teacher-turned-humorist
Jeanne Robertson is a teacher-turned-humorist

Award-winning humorist, public speaker, and 6’2″ former Miss North Carolina Jeanne Swanner Robertson will play to a Standing Room Only crowd at the Clayton Center Auditorium & Conference Center at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19th. The 68-year-old Graham, NC native, who was voted “Miss Congeniality” at the 1963 Miss America Pageant, received of the prestigious Cavett Award, presented by the National Speakers Association, in 1989. In 2001, the N.C. Press Association named her North Carolinian of the Year. Over the past 12 years, Robertson has released “Just for Fun” and five other comic CDs/DVDs.

According to her Facebook bio:

“Jeanne Robertson reached her 6’2” stature at age thirteen. Perhaps it was an indication of a future speaking career that would soar to great heights.

“No, professional speaking might not have been predicted when Jeanne was in the seventh grade in Graham, North Carolina, when and where she would have been voted most likely to make the basketball team and least likely to be a contestant in the Miss America Pageant. She did make the team — averaging more than 30 points per game in her junior and senior years — but as Miss North Carolina 1963, she also competed in the Miss America Pageant where she was named Miss Congeniality.

“It was her participation in and, perhaps, even her losing of the Miss America title that turned Jeanne’s life into a succession of events which led her to be one of the funniest, busiest and most popular professional speakers in America today. Because she was asked to speak every day as Miss North Carolina, Jeanne traveled her native state for one year speaking at pageants and addressing civic clubs and corporations. When that time was over, she found that people were willing to pay her to come and address their groups and conventions and loving every laughing minute of it. They wanted Jeanne — not just a title holder — and they wanted her because she made them laugh.

“At that point, Jeanne still viewed speaking as a way to make a little money while continuing her education. She received her degree at Auburn University and taught physical education in high school and college, a career she enjoyed for nine years. But throughout those years, the requests continued to pour in for her to speak. In 1976, she stopped teaching and entered professional speaking full time.

“With the flexibility to speak more often, Jeanne’s rise in the speaking profession was nothing short of phenomenal. Clients and speakers alike were quick to recognize her ability. In addition to a full speaking schedule year after year, she has been awarded every top honor and designation in her profession including the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation in 1980 and being inducted in the CPAE Speaker Hall Of Fame in 1981. A member of NSA/Carolinas, she served as President of the National Speakers Association in 1985. In 1989, she became the first woman to receive that association’s most cherished honor, the Cavett Award. The Cavett is awarded annually to one member ‘whose accomplishments, integrity and reputation are a credit to NSA and the speaking profession.’

“Toastmasters International named Jeanne the recipient of its 1998 Golden Gavel Award, given annually to one individual for accomplishments in leadership and communications. She is the only female professional speaker who has received this honor. Other recipients include Lowell Thomas, Walter Cronkite, Earl Nightingale, Art Linkletter, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Tom Peters, Mark Russell, Ken Blanchard, and Zig Ziglar.

“In recognition of her professional expertise, experience, and competence, Jeanne was honored by the NCAA Southeastern Conference as Auburn University’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2000. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Elon University.

“The North Carolina Press Association named Jeanne as its 2001 North Carolinian of the Year for ‘her popularity on the speaking circuit, her award-winning ways, and her representation of North Carolina.’ Past recipients include Elizabeth Dole, the Rev. Billy Graham, and Dean Smith.

“The Miss North Carolina Organization named Jeanne as its 2003 Woman of Achievement. She was the first former Miss North Carolina to be so named.

“Jeanne has produced five humor DVDs and CDs and written three books on humor — Humor: The Magic of Genie, Mayberry Humor Across the USA, and Don’t Let the Funny Stuff Get Away. These books are filled with reality-based stories, which illustrate her humor philosophy. She can be heard on XM Satellite Radio’s Laugh USA — The Family Comedy Channel 151.

“While she enjoys making people laugh, Jeanne views the role of a humorist as more than eliciting laughter. As audiences are holding their sides and wiping tears from their faces, she makes her point clear. Perhaps that is why thousands of meeting planners make their point clear when they say … ‘The Meetin’ Ain’t Over ‘Til the Tall Lady Speaks!'”

The Rev. Hal Melton of Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh warns, “Don’t eat too much dinner, and do hold your sides — otherwise you will hurt from laughing so hard! Her humorous stories come right out of real life — one lived with antennae straight up! Southern has never been funnier!”

The Clayton Center Auditorium & Conference Center presents JEANNE ROBERTSON at 8 p.m. Nov. 19 at 111 E. Second St., Clayton, North Carolina 27528.

TICKETS: $15 Standing Room Only.

BOX OFFICE: 919/553-1737 or






Jeanne Robertson: (official website) and (Wikipedia).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).