How I got started in stand-up comedy

How I got started in stand-up comedy

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.

How I got started in stand-up comedy

It seems like millions of years ago.  I’m pretty sure that I was doing open mics during the Precambrian era.

By the way, I never had any intention of becoming a comedian.
For my whole life, I wanted to be a veterinarian.
Unfortunately, during my second year of university, 70 percent of my fruit flies and 50 percent of my final mark flew out of the biology class window.

I was devastated. I went home and cried my eyes out.
As I was weeping hysterically, comedian Joan Rivers was on late night tv doing stand-up.
That’s when the lightbulb went off.
I know what I’m going to do! I’m going to become a stand-up comedian!

To my parents’ horror, I quit university the next day.
I signed up for an improv class at The Loose Moose Theatre created by the legendary Keith Johnstone.
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to work with Keith but I was trained by some of his best students. Unfortunately, to a science nerd like myself, improv seemed so difficult.
Nerds like me like to work alone.
Fortunately, that worked out perfectly for stand up.
Luckily, nerds love formulas. Stand up has a formula! Eureka! Improv has formulas as well but I didn’t learn those until much later in life.
I loved the idea of working alone and carefully crafting the words for my monologue- which unfortunately, on some nights, probably seemed more like a Shakespearean soliloquy. However, I did not give up. 

The comedy bug bit me. Those few laughs that I got in the beginning fueled my craving for more laughs. I drove from Calgary to Boise, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and every small town in between. The incidents that happened during those road trips are too much to mention in one blog so I will share two quick stories.

Once such tale involved a one-nighter outside of Boise, Idaho.  There were probably about 10 people in the audience. After the show, the two other comics and myself piled into the cars of the 10 audience members and drove waaaaaay up into the woods. Through the pitch-black forests, we drove on dirt roads for what seemed like an eternity. We finally arrived at a desolate cabin.
This could have turned into a scene from Get Out.
Instead, the host walked around and lit candles. He cracked open a window. We could hear a raging creek just outside.
Underneath the window was a beautiful baby grand piano.
The host sat down at the baby grand and proceeded to play Chaka’s Khan’s Through the Fire. This very white man with a beard, baseball cap and lumber jacket played this beautiful soulful song. A reminder to never judge a book by its plaid cover.

During another road trip- this time in Seattle, a female comic from San Francisco said that I could use her apartment while she was traveling across the country.  I had never met her before. I thought it was a very generous offer. I arrived at the apartment in the middle of the night. It was a pretty sketchy part of town but I was just grateful for the accommodation.
When I opened the front door and turned on a light in the kitchen, 8000 cockroaches came out to greet me.
To top it off, there was a note on the kitchen table from my host that said, ‘Hi Judy, welcome. By the way, a repairman is going to swing by tomorrow to replace the wall-to-wall carpeting. Do you mind helping him lift up the carpeting?’

Uhhhh, that would be a HARD NO.
I should have known that the offer was too good to be true. I checked out of the roach motel and checked into Motel 6.

After working in the states for a few months, I returned to Calgary, loaded up my car again and moved to Toronto. Using Toronto as my base, I became one of five female comedians doing stand-up comedy across the country full time.

Comedy led to a radio gig which led to motivational speaking and coaching gigs.

As I’ve said on a number of occasions, I even got a chance to work with Joan Rivers at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. It’s as if my life came around full circle.
This nerdy veterinarian wannabe could have never predicted how things were going to turn out. My only advice to kids or adults nowadays based on my experiences is to always keep trying new things.
If you are truly unhappy with what you are doing in life, pick a hobby.
At the very least, you will forge some new skills and perhaps, even make some lifelong friends with people who share your passion.
At the very most and if you have the courage- you might just find what you were truly meant to be doing.
As Tina Fey says in her wonderful book entitled; Bossy Pants, ‘Start with a YES and see where that takes you.’

Until next time folks, Laugh Long and Prosper!


Feel free to take a listen!

If you would like to catch up on any of my other Laugh Long and Prosper episodes, voted one of the best podcasts of 2021 in Canada by CTV, check me out.

Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud

Wayne Gretsky – Hockey and Humour


Today’s blog is sponsored by: TROOL Social knows that to be visible online you have to be fully committed, congruent in who you are and what you do.
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Check out







A Comedy Fundraising Success!

A Comedy Fundraising Success!

A Comedy Fundraising Success!

This month’s newsletter is sponsored by: Linda McEwan at Sotheby’s International Realty
Canada. The number one most trusted brand in residential real estate.
Message Linda

I take laughing for granted.

Recently, I hosted a comedy fundraiser for City Street Outreach – a local charity that is near and
dear to my heart. I was joined by some truly amazing friends who donated their time and
efforts to the cause. I could not have done this show without them. I will forever be grateful.
Linda McEwan is one of these good friends.

She occasionally sponsors my podcasts and newsletters but she also sponsored the event.
My other good friends; Cathy Boyd, Martha Chaves and Evan Carter donated their comedic
skills that evening. We raised funds to help Toronto’s homeless and most vulnerable.
The evening was a roaring success.

Cathy was one of my stand-up comedy students at Second City a few years back.
She went on to perform on the first season of Canada’s Got Talent.

Martha Chaves is a regular on CBC Radio. She’s a veteran on the club circuit in the US, Canada
and Latin America as she speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Evan Carter (also a regular on CBC Radio) has been the opening act for many stars including; the
Temptations, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick.Currently, he is the opening act for a cross country Motown tour.

By the way, I would also like to thank another very good friend of mine, the very talented Elaine
Lindsay from TROOL Social who put together our virtual poster. It helped us tremendously to
get the word out. Elaine is the magic behind this website and anything that I do online. I would
be lost without her!

Coincidently- Linda, Cathy, Evan, Martha and Elaine all have a quality about them that I
notice in many of my friends and family members – they love to laugh.
They love to make others laugh.
I’ll tell you something about my family.
If my nieces or nephews are dating someone – the first thing that my sisters and I say to each
other is, “Oh boy, are they funny? Please let them be funny!”
By the way, in my family, there are a couple of levels of ‘funny’ that you have to pass.

Level one – If someone can laugh at a joke or at themselves – great. This means that they’ve got
a sense of humour.

Level two– if they can TAG a joke… if they can make the joke even funnier or add another joke
then they are on their way to full club membership.

The third and final level -can they play charades?
If they can play full-contact charades in our household (and be okay with maybe losing an eye),
well then start tuning up those wedding bells!

Our family can overlook other bad characteristics or personality flaws, i.e., mass murderer,
embezzler or serial cheater. In our family, a good sense of self-deprecating humour is the true
litmus test.

My two younger sisters are very funny people. If they weren’t so shy on stage, they could both
easily do stand-up comedy. They love to make people around them laugh. They, themselves
love to laugh.

Where did we get our sense of humour?
From my parents, I think.
Both my parents were very funny people. However, they grew up in some pretty unfunny

My dad was born in the Netherlands. He grew up during the war. He, along with his two sisters
and his parents spent many nights underneath the basement steps with kitchen pots over their
heads as the Nazis bombed their neighborhood. My father said that my grandparents used to
tell the kids funny jokes and stories to try and distract them from the terrible war that was
going on outside their front door. At a young age, my father learned how to use humour as a
coping mechanism.

My mother, meanwhile, grew up in Guyana, South America where there was and still is a lot of
I always remember my mother saying that her mother never turned anybody away who came
to the door asking for food- even if she only had a cup of rice to give them.

My mother said that despite the poverty, her parents would always do things with the kids that
didn’t cost a lot of money but created a lot of fun and laughter. This included; having the
neighborhood kids over, playing games or putting on plays or make-believe circuses, just to
name to few fun examples.

My mother grew up to be a very funny person. She was the quintessential ring leader.
It’s no wonder that my sisters and I ended up being surrounded by funny people our entire

Which brings me back to the fundraiser for City Street Outreach.
My compassionate, talented and very funny friends, Linda, Cathy, Martha and Evan made the
evening so special. Again, I can’t thank them enough.
The audience was fantastic. They laughed from beginning to end.

I want to thank each and every one of them personally for buying a ticket and spending the
evening with us. I would like to thank friends and family who bought a ticket online, even
though they couldn’t make the event but still wanted to contribute to the organization.
After our ninety-minute fundraising show, Linda McEwan came up to me and said,
“Everyone that I talked to said that they had a GREAT time. Some of them said that they hadn’t
laughed in a long time and the evening was so cathartic for them because they really needed to

That’s when it dawned on me.
Not everyone laughs every day. Not everyone has someone who makes their world funnier and
that’s really sad because laughter is so cathartic.

Laughter creates happy chemistry in our bodies. Our immune, respiratory and circulatory
systems all reap the rewards. Researchers at the University of Maryland found that when
participants laughed over and over during a funny experiment, their circulation improved by 22

Laughter also increases our aerobic activity. While laughing, we take in more oxygen to our
body and brain. Afterwards, we feel mentally and physically invigorated.

Professor Duncan Geddes, a consultant in respiratory medicine at the Royal Brompton Hospital
in London, says that laughter stimulates the body’s defense mechanism, decreases pain and
improves recovery times. Laughter releases chemicals in our brain cells called endorphins.
Endorphins are natural pain killers.

Geddes observed that laughter helps fight diseases like allergies, arthritis, asthma, backache,
bronchitis, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, hypertension and migraines.
Research at Oxford University also showed that laughter in participants improved tolerance to
pain and lowered blood pressure.

Obviously, one can see the therapeutic benefits of humour.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many people in this world who have really big burdens on
their shoulders that make it hard just to get out of bed every day- much less crack a smile.

I feel lucky. I’m blessed to have the circumstances and thus, luxury to laugh every day.
I’m also blessed and lucky to have friends like Linda, Evan, Martha, Cathy and Elaine who use
their humour and love of laughter to give back.

Again, thank you to my funny, talented and very generous and good friends.

Until next time folks, Laugh Long and Prosper!


Feel free to take a listen!

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast (voted one of the best
podcasts of 2021 I in Canada by CTV) on 
Spotify or Soundcloud.

‘Laugh Long and Prosper’ is shelf help with a smile, stressbusters with a smirk, and information with a wink wink. You get the point.

Wayne Gretsky – Hockey and Humour










Wayne Gretzky -What Hockey and Humour Have in Common

Wayne Gretzky -What Hockey and Humour Have in Common

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

This past year, I signed up for the online learning course Masterclass.

Aaron Sorkin, Shondra Rhimes, Steve Martin, RuPaul, James Patterson, Spanx founder Sara Blakely, Malcolm Gladwell, Wolfgang Puck, Jon-Kabat Zin and Chris Hadfield were just some of the presenters who filled my head with hundreds of hours of information, ideas and inspiration.

Then there was Wayne Gretzky.

I knew Wayne was The Great One. Please, I’m Canadian.

Hockey is part of our heritage.

I was surprised by Wayne’s presentation because yes, he did speak about hockey but his takeaways could apply to anybody. Even a comedian!

Wayne talked about the power of routine, practice, anticipation, goal setting, having a mentor, having various outside interests and hobbies, keeping your head in the game and perhaps, most importantly, the power of play. Creativity. The importance of not getting locked into structure and a system too early. The need for young players (and comedians) to just play, have fun and have the freedom to discover their own unique skill set.

It was so obvious throughout Wayne’s Masterclass how much of an influence Walter, his dad, had over him.

Walter was a decent hockey player when he was younger, and Wayne’s mother was athletic. Wayne and his brothers and sister all played sports.

Wayne said that his dad built a hockey rink every year in the backyard of their Brantford, Ontario home. The neighbors wanted to know why Walter’s backyard was so green every summer. I guess they thought he was using a secret pesticide or formula. Wayne said it was probably from all the ice that melted in the spring!

Wayne said he loved skating on that ice every winter, from sunup to sundown and well into the dark. His passion and discipline helped him develop the skills that made him stand out in the sport at a very early age.

He worked on his accuracy by firing hockey pucks at a picnic table lying on its side with circled targets. Wayne said he sharpened his shot as a kid quickly because he hated walking in the snow and getting his feet wet while retrieving the pucks from the neighbor’s lawn.

Wayne’s skills developed quickly so he always ended up playing with older kids.

Walter told him that because he was smaller than his older rivals, Wayne would have to

to use his brain and skate with his ‘head up’ to anticipate the play, as well as to avoid injury.

This is where Walter came up with a unique exercise for Wayne.

As Wayne watched Hockey Night in Canada, Walter made him get a piece of paper and draw a rectangle. That rectangle represented the rink that Wayne was watching on TV. Walter told Wayne to watch where the puck was going and draw it on the paper without looking down. Afterwards, when Wayne looked down at the paper, he was able to see the patterns that the puck made during the game. He saw the areas that the puck travelled to most of the time. This later helped him develop a way to capitalize on those areas and helped him to score and set up many goals in the future.

Wayne is famous for the quote, “I skate to where to puck is going to be. Not where it has been.”

He followed the puck, not the players. He learned to anticipate the next play. Those hours and hours in front of the TV set following the path of the puck gave Wayne new ideas for scoring.

The thing that hockey and humour have in common.

Wayne says he is not a psychologist but so many times he sees coaches putting kids into a hockey ‘system’ too quickly. In his opinion, there is too much emphasis on structure and not enough emphasis on play.  He says this approach doesn’t allow young players to learn or think for themselves and thus develop their own style and creativity.

Comedy is similar. I see so many young comedians wanting to replicate somebody else’s writing style, cadence or physical mannerisms. In the worst cases, they actually steal another comedian’s material and do their jokes on stage! Of course, this is a major industry taboo.

I always say to my students: watch, study, and always write but, most of all, don’t forget to HAVE FUN. Play. Discover who you are on stage. Take the time to develop your own point of view.

This is comedy, after all. Don’t be so serious!

No matter who we are or where we come from, when we step out of our comfort zones and allow ourselves to have fun, we have a greater chance of discovering something new and wonderful.

You might not be the next Great One but you might be pretty good –The Pretty Good One! At the very least, you won’t know until you try.

As Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.”

Until next time, play, have fun and don’t forget to laugh long and prosper.



Feel free to take a listen!

Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud

Wayne Gretsky – Hockey and Humour










Creativity, Comedy and Keeping Your Job from the Robots

Creativity, Comedy and Keeping Your Job from the Robots

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.


The robots are coming. The robots are coming.

Everyone is aware that artificial intelligence is playing a bigger part in our lives every day.

Whether it’s predicting your next online purchase, Nest regulating your home thermostat or opening your phone with face ID, AI is here to stay! 

In fact, how do you know that I’M not a robot?

You don’t, do you?

The initial numbers are staggering in terms of the number of jobs that could be replaced by AI

According to studies at Oxford University and the World Economic Forum, up to 50 percent of human jobs could be lost to artificial intelligence over the next 15 years. 

So how do you protect YOUR job?

Well, that’s where clowns like me come in.

Oh sure, everybody laughed at the classroom clown -no really, I killed every recess – but there is something to be said about the ‘fun’ and the ‘funny’ and the role that they play in our creativity and overall intelligence. In fact, as we lose our sense of play and creativity over the years, we lose our capacity to be genius and perhaps, even more successful. 

We lose our ability to be genius.

In the 1960’s and ‘70’s, an American psychologist by the name of George Land tested the creativity of 1600 children. He discovered that 98 percent of five-year-olds displayed genius levels of creativity. When he retested those same children five years later, only one third of the children displayed genius levels of creativity. By the time the children were fifteen years-old, that percentage had dropped to twelve percent. 

Here’s the good news. We can get our creativity back!

We can stimulate our creativity by learning to play an instrument, taking a drawing class or hey, (shameless plug) by learning how to write stand-up comedy with Judy Croon and her #1 bestseller Stand Up in Ten Steps!

Humour is a terrific tool to keep your content, customers and creativity in a world where the average attention span is now only eight seconds! According to researchers at Microsoft, since the mobile internet was introduced, the average attention span has dropped from twelve to eight seconds. We need all of our creative tools on board!

What humans do best. 

The other good news is that AI is really good at doing routine tasks and pursuing specific goals that we program it to do. However, humans excel at making connections and forming new ideas from previously learned material whether those ideas are related or not. This is known as divergent thinking.

Penicillin, x-rays, electricity, radioactivity and America were all accidentally discovered by people who were looking for something else!  Luckily, they were all able to circle back and find the connection. 

In 1901, French physicist Henri Becquerel left a piece of radium in his vest pocket. When he noticed that he had been burnt by it, he made the connection between radioactivity and medicine. He took the first steps toward developing radiotherapy which is still being used to treat cancer. 

In 1492, Christopher Columbus accidentally discovered America when he left Spain looking for a direct route between Europe and Asia. 

The point is that yes, AI is here to stay. We can benefit from all of its fantastic capabilities, but it’s the wonderful combination of creative humans with AI that makes our future look that much brighter and hopefully, a little funnier too. 

Until next time, laugh long and prosper!











The Incredible Benefits of Laughter Yoga

The Incredible Benefits of Laughter Yoga

In 1998, Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical doctor from Mumbai, was studying the health benefits of laughter.

He decided to do some tests with his patients.

First, he asked them to stand in a circle and tell jokes or funny stories for ten minutes once a day.

Everyone was laughing and having a good time.

Unfortunately, after two weeks, material ran dry and jokes started turning dark and offensive.

The patients complained and wanted to quit.

Dr. Kataria begged them to stay while he worked on a solution.

Then, Dr. Kataria asked the patients to fake their laughter for one minute. He wanted them to laugh loudly at nothing.  Initially, the patients thought it was awkward but then the laughter caught on and very quickly, it became contagious. The patients laughed uncontrollably for ten minutes. Snorts, guffaws and yes, even the occasional fart led to more uproarious laughter.

Dr. Kataria discovered that whether his patients genuinely laughed at something or pretended to laugh at something, their bodies and brains reacted in the same positive way.

Perhaps, more importantly, Dr. Kataria discovered the medical benefits of sustained laughter. Sustained is the key word. It’s hard to laugh continuously for ten minutes (unless, of course, you’re watching one of my comedy specials). However, we can fake our laughter for longer periods of time.

By encouraging participants to prolong their fake laughter to improve their well-being, Dr. Kataria quickly became known as the Guru of Giggling. He named the program of study

‘Laughter Yoga’.

Since his first laughter yoga class, Dr. Kataria has trained many other laughter yoga coaches.

Now there are over 10,000 laughter yoga clubs in various countries including:  America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, China and Africa.

Dr. Kataria has also worked with the Indian Army.  There are YouTube videos that show these military men who are initially laughing because they have to and then because they want to.

Danny Singh, an English teacher in the UK, uses laughter yoga with his students to help them open up the creative side of their right brain.  I also use laughter yoga to warm up my stand-up comedy students.

Laughter yoga is being sought out by businesses, schools and hospitals around the world as participants learn the physical and psychological rewards of a good guffaw


Obviously, I don’t have to convince you of the medical benefits of laughter. Perhaps you want to sign up for a laughter yoga class in your city? If you do, here are a few exercises that you might expect to see:

A Greeting Laugh

Participants laugh while shaking hands.

A Shy Laugh

Participants greet each other while hiding their faces behind their hands and laughing.

A Cellphone Laugh

Participants laugh uncontrollably while having an imaginary conversation on their phones.

A Gibberish Laugh

Participants make up a language and laugh as they are pretending to share jokes.

The No Money Laugh

Participants pull out their empty pockets and laugh at the fact that they have little or no money.

Whether it’s a shy laugh, a gibberish Laugh or a no money laugh, Dr. Kataria has certainly contributed a lot of laughs and benefits to our well-being.

What started as an experiment with a few patients has blossomed into an exercise that is now practiced by thousands globally every day. In 1998, Dr. Kataria created World Laughter Day,which is celebrated around the world on the first Sunday of every May.

Dr. Kataria says, “In laughter yoga, we don’t laugh because we are happy, we are happy because we laugh.”  He adds, “I have not seen anybody dying of laughter, but I know millions who are dying because they are not laughing.”

If there was ever a time that the world needed more laughter, it’s certainly now.

Thank-you, Dr. Kataria.


Laugh Long and Prosper, Folks.

Until next time, I’m Judy Croon.


How would you like to work out only 3 minutes a week???

Judy’s One Minute Shelf Help Video Pick

One of the ingredients from my keynote, ‘Relieving Stress with Humour’ is healthy physical activity. Back by popular demand, here is a fan favourite: ‘ The Truth About Exercise’.  How would you like to work out only three minutes a week??? I’m not kidding. Check it out!

Relieving Work Related Stress with Humour Keynotes:


I had a blast this month chatting with so many awesome groups including;

City of Toronto 

Municipal Finance Association of Ontario
(It was an honour to be one of the speakers at this event, along with CBC’s Rex Murphy. Can you believe we didn’t cover the same material? haha)
Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre
International Association of Electrical Inspectors
Hydro One Sault Ste Marie
Girls Gone Camping 
21st Annual Footcare Conference



It was an honour to host an evening of entertainment for The Gala of Hope fundraiser in support of Ovarian Cancer Canada at the Mississauga Convention Centre.
Thank you Debora Duclar- Liburd for asking me to be part of such a worthy event.


How you can help Toronto’s homeless every Monday and Thursday and Saturday night. Can you volunteer? Do you have clothes, sheets, towels, etc  that can can be picked up? Would you like to make a donation. Contact Alex 416 -834-7736, call me or visit the website: City Street Outreach – Monday, Thursday and Saturday Street & Community Outreach
Please listen here how you can help the homeless in Toronto.



‘I believe the greatest privilege in this world is to use your freedom of speech for those who have no voice.’ – Ricky Gervais
There are some fantastic animal groups in Ontario who are always looking for help.


Check out

Speaking of Dogs


Shades of Hope Wildlife

(North of Cobourg, Ontario. Open Thursdays and Sundays)