Amusing Monday: This southern lady has a funny story for everyone

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post titled “Get out and enjoy the cool rivers in our region.” It was during the heat of the summer, and I was thinking back to some past rafting trips. I related what I called the “feelings of calm while traveling across flat water, followed by the invigoration of roiling rapids.”

Humorist Jeanne Robertson has her own memories of a rafting adventure but with an entirely different frame of mind. Jeanne’s way of telling stories — with colorful details and surprising twists — kept me laughing through her eight-minute video titled, “Don’t go rafting without a Baptist in the boat.” Check out the first video on this page.

The sequel to the story comes from the sleeping arrangements on her rafting trip, as you can see in the second video, called “Don’t get frisky in a tent.”

The third and fourth videos were posted earlier this year. One is about a misunderstanding about the rain. The other is about her visit to Spokane, where she learned about a critter native to the Northwest. If that’s not enough — and it probably won’t be — check out 53 more on Jeanne’s YouTube video page.

At 74, Jeanne has collected lots of stories about the oddities of family life, and she is attracting what appears to be millions of fans from from all age groups. I usually go with the flow of life, but after watching her videos, I find myself even less annoyed and more amused when things don’t go as planned.

The former Jeanne Swanner was born in Graham, N.C., and makes the most of her southern accent. She was 6-foot-2 by the age of 13, according to the bio on her website, and she played basketball up through college at Auburn University in Alabama. At age 19, she was selected as Miss North Carolina and went on to be named Miss Congeniality in the Miss America Pageant. Through the Miss America experience, she learned that she has an ability to speak on stage and make people laugh.

With a degree in physical education, Jeanne taught high school and college P.E. classes for eight years before becoming a successful humorist and motivational speaker. Her husband Jerry Robertson, an educator in North Carolina, was dubbed “Left Brain” in Jeanne’s stories. Through the years, she has received multiple speaking awards and has written three books about making humor a part of one’s life — including one book titled “Don’t Let the Funny Stuff Get Away” (1998).

Jeanne is active on Facebook, where she wrote just this morning: “Happy Labor Day. They got my attention! Several FB Buddies sent link. First glance, scared me. Bet it would have made y’all nervous if your name had been in headline as mine was. ‘Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Hilarious Jeanne Robertson.’

“My stomach took a leap,” Jeanne continued. “Uh oh. What did someone know? Gulp. Maybe that time at Graham H. S. when ten of us ‘snuck’ out of study hall, crept along hall & out back door of school to slip to n’hood grocery store for snacks. Seemed good idea at the time. Teacher Mrs. Walker standing in classroom doorway, arms crossed, when we tried to sneak back in, sacks in hand. Did someone find out about that?”

This was all in reference to a new blog post by Kingsley, a self-described “busy mom of two ballet-loving girls” on, where Kingsley revealed some important aspects of Jeanne’s life and humor — including this Robertson quote borrowed from a 2012 blog by Susan Tardanico:

“Humor is not about one-liners or being able to tell jokes. It’s about accepting things about yourself that can’t be changed and finding the humor in situations around you. Things happen on a daily basis that are really funny, but people often let the funny stuff get away, either because they don’t notice it as funny, or they don’t make it a priority to look for it.”

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