humorous keynote speaker        
What the Humor PEG Has Done for Me        

Lola Gillebaard
Laguna Beach, California

I joined the National Speakers Association and the Humor Peg in 1985. I am a humorist, so to join the Humor Peg at the same time I joined NSA seemed the logical thing to do.

I have never been sorry. The Humor Peg exposed me to so many different humor styles, most of them funny in their own way. I believe that “Only the truth is funny.” Not everyone. However, those non-believers can be funny too.

It was through the Humor Peg that I was told that SHOWCASES are the best way to grow your business. Since I am a native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, I always take advice unless I have reason to believe it’s bad, I signed up for a showcase at my first opportunity. Mind you, I had no idea what a showcase was. I just knew I had been told it was a good thing to do. It wasn’t. Or maybe I should say that it was a good thing to do, but I wasn’t prepared for the consequences.

The showcase was sponsored by a bureau located in Atlanta, GA. That bureau has long since gone out of business, and “No, I was not the cause of its demise.”By the time I paid for the showcase and my travel expenses, I had $1,000 invested in “my future payable funniness.”

When I arrived at the hotel in Atlanta, I was given an umbrella as a gift by the hosting bureau. The year was 1986. The month was July and it was not raining. I left the umbrella in my room.

I met many other speakers, some also participating in the showcase, and some who were just there to support the others. Then I got the SHOCKER. There were only SIX meeting planners in the audience. The rest were speakers and their friends and acquaintances (and other “wannabees” in search of good material!)

I did my 12- minute showcase. It wasn’t great, but it was O.K. By that time, I had already decided that all I was going to get out of this adventure was some showcase experience and a new umbrella.

I came home and put the umbrella in the upstairs’ closet. Several times during the next year’s rainy season, husband Hank offered me the umbrella. I said, “No, thank you. That umbrella cost me $1,000. I’m not about to take it out in the rain!”

367 days after doing that showcase in Atlanta, I got a call from the Director of the Los Angeles Airport. The woman had been one of the six meeting planners in my showcase audience in Atlanta. She booked me for her upcoming conference before she hung up the phone.The next time it rained, I took out my $1,000 umbrella and opened it. I held it over my head with delight.

This week, I did my 8th Showcase. There were over 100 meeting planners in the audience. I’ve already gotten 5 positive responses.

So what is my point? The Humor Peg is my personal advisor and coach. Together we learn.

Thank you, Humor Peg!


Lola is a clean comedia

Lola Gillebaard is past president of NSA’s Greater Los Angeles Chapter, and she travels all over the world making people laugh and cry, then laugh again. Her latest book, Laughter Made From Experience is going into its second printing.

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