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


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