Mar 18

Getting Paid to Make People Laugh

I want to review a great e-book by the late humorist and M.C. John Cantu. It’s called “Getting Paid to Make People Laugh” and it comes as a bonus with the That’s Comedy collection of joke books.”.

I really enjoyed this book because it’s a transcript of an interview with Cantu and you get the impression that the guy interviewing Cantu made sure that no stone was left unturned.

I find that what happens sometimes in books like these is that the author can sometimes forget little details because they are now so used to carrying out that little task that it gets overlooked. Not so with this book. Still got stage fright? Cantu gives over a dozen tips and techniques. Too shy to market and promote yourself as a speaker? Cantu deals with that too. And what I also like is the fact that Cantu discusses what a humorist is and how it differs from being a comedian:

“When you are a comedian, you have to have one killer joke after another. When you are a humorist, they don’t have to be that strong, because you are coming from a different perspective…

“A comedian basically does a very structured type of presentation. It is set-up and punchline, set-up and punchline. That is not an organic way of speaking… on the other hand, when you are a humorist, you tell stories. You still get up and talk, but you talk with funny examples – you give real life examples.”

The area where I think this e-book falls down is in its explanation of how you can use Toastmasters. It seems to imply that you can use the Toastmasters programme to create a 50-minute speech 5 minutes at a time. In my experience it doesn’t really work that way because you have to use different topics with each speech project. Especially in the beginning stages of doing the Competent Communicator.

But working through the Toastmasters programme does, obviously, have its own benefits of learning how to craft speeches, gaining valuable stage time and so on.

I also feel that it’s very American-orientated. This is fine because it was recorded in the States and if you’re based there then it’s perfect. But some of the suggestions don’t translate as well to other countries; for example, using the “Animal clubs” (Lions, Elks, Moose, etc) to further your stage time.

Whilst there are a couple of Animal clubs here in the U.K., like Moose International, they aren’t that prevalent and as a result are dotted around the country and not that easy to access unless you drive. So the tips for moving beyond Toastmasters and on to other speaking gigs doesn’t quite work in the U.K. in the same way.

However, the sheer wealth of information and detail is great and it’s a resource that I keep going back to reading again and again. It’s only a shame that Cantu’s no longer around to see the continuous influence of his work on other humorists and speakers.

I got hold of my copy of “Getting Paid to Make People Laugh” as a bonus product through Dean Rackley’s That’s Comedy site. This is a really good deal because not only do you get “Getting Paid to Make People Laugh” as a bonus when you purchase the That’s Comedy joke book, but you also get Cantu’s other shorter e-book “Smiling for Dollars”, which details avenues that pay for both humorous writing and humorous performing. Plus you get a whole host of joke books that allow you to begin an invaluable resource.

My favourite story in this e-book is as follows (and I’m paraphrasing):

A comedian is booked at the same event as humorist. The comedian watches what the humorist’s act. To the comedian the humorist was doing a comedy act, but with mostly funny stories and anecdotes. After they got to know each other the comedian asks the humorist:

“What’s the difference between a humorist and a comedian?” And the humorist replies:  “About $15,000 a booking.”

Note: There are affiliate links in this post. That means that if you buy a product via my link I get paid a commission. This is one of the ways I help pay the bills.


  1. mark

    i think you mentioned buying “getting paid to make people laugh” through your site for you to make money. i don’t see a click through for that. if so, let me know how to do so

  2. Jason Peck

    Hey Mark,

    I picked it up as a bonus from “That’s Comedy”, the links of which are in the post.

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