Laughter Matters – The Grand Wizard of Comedy
A few years ago we bought a new car. When it came in, I was doing shows in New Mexico. The dealer called me to fill out the credit application online that weekend so everything would be ready when I picked up the car on Monday. I asked Twyla to do it, but what I said was, “I’m sure you can fill it out, but if you have problems, give me a call.”
In retrospect, I can see how she would consider this condescending.
On Monday I’m in the credit manager’s office and he asks, “What is a Grand Wizard of Comedy.”
He says, “Your credit application says your occupation is you’re a Grand Wizard of Comedy, what is that?”
“That is my wife trying to be funny.”
“Mr. Rader, We take these credit apps very seriously, what is your occupation?
“Would you believe I’m a Chippendale Dancer?”
Seven years ago we recorded a live DVD-CD of my clean, stand-up comedy and I included that story. The following morning Twyla and I were having coffee, discussing what we should title this when she starts laughing, “How about the Grand Wizard of Comedy?”
We laughed and laughed. Before we finalized everything, she said, “Someone may take offense to Grand Wizard because that’s what they call the KKK leader.”
I go, “Yeah, but, if they do, I can live with it because it’s funny.”
Last month I was hired to do an online keynote in April. Last week I received an email expressing concern about the title of my DVD-CD because the meeting planner Googled Grand Wizard and it said something about the leader of the Klu Klux Klan. I told her the story and that it had nothing to do with the Klan.
Three days later I get an email saying they are cancelling me.
I talked with our daughter Maggie and she adroitly said, “Instead of just cancelling each other, try to have a conversation with her.” She further pointed out I needed to get past being angry and really listen to this woman’s concerns.
I called, but had to leave a message asking her to call me. I also sent her an email, but only received a response of, “Thanks you for the email.” Today on Management Monday, I want to encourage everyone to have conversations about difficult situations which arise in our daily business and truly listen to each other’s concerns.
I want her to know that neither of us should feel uncomfortable with this engagement. I honestly want to hear her concerns so I can do a better job with my business. This pandemic has taught me one thing and that is the only thing worse than not working at all is having to do comedy on Zoom, so I am not upset about losing the work. I hope she will hear me say I was raised by parents who insisted I help women and people of color who do not have my privilege and the story about the Grand Wizard of Comedy is about a woman finding a creative, funny way of putting her condescending husband in his place, which I believe is a message women should hear.
If you would like a free copy of my DVD-CD of CLEAN, stand-up comedy titled the Grand Wizard of Comedy, please send me an email to email@example.com with your mailing address and I will have one sent to you and it has nothing to do with the Klan.
I want to thank Maggie for giving me her wisdom in this situation. I sincerely appreciate her helping me become a better person making me laugh when I am angry. You remind me how much laughter matters.
Known as the “World’s Cleanest” comedian and speaker, Kent Rader helps people learn and experience how laughter matters in reducing stress. Kent is the winner of the Branson Comedy Festival and co-stars in The Baby Boomer Comedy Show, Clean Comedy For People Born Before Seat Belts.
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Known as the "World's Cleanest Comedian and Speaker," Kent helps people and associations learn and experience how laughter matters in reducing stress and building successful, profitable organizations.
Kent graduated from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri with a B.S. in Accounting. He survived five years in public accounting and twelve years as C.F.O. and C.E.O. of hospitals before becoming a professional speaker in 1997.
Kent is the author of the stress reduction book "Let It Go, Just Let It Go" and co-stars with Jan McInnis in the Baby Boomer Comedy Show, "Clean Comedy for People Born Before Seat Belts, Safety Helmets, and Facebook.
He has been heard on NPR's Talk of the Nation and Sirius Satellite radio.
Kent is the winner of the Branson Comedy Festival and has been seen on Comcast's comedy show, "Who's Laughing Now." His clean, stand-up comedy DVD-CD titled "Kent Rader: The Grand Wizard of Comedy" was released in 2014.