I killed at the palliative care conference

My new sort-of comedy career hit an important milestone this fall when I did my first-ever keynote address, as the concluding speaker at the annual Palliative Care Manitoba conference, where I bounced back and forth from my cancer-related comedy to my experiences with prostate cancer.  It seemed at the time that they 200 people in attendance enjoyed it, and that was confirmed a few weeks later when I received my copy of the audience assessment survey results. I’m still working to springboard from this to more work at conferences and support groups – not to mention comedy clubs, where I don’t just laugh about cancer. (I’m doing a bunch of travel-related comedy at an event in December.)

And now ladies and gentlemen and palliative care workers, put your hands together for our headliner!

I never imagined I would find myself doing comedy at a palliative care conference. Maybe I’ll teach you all some jokes today that you can use in your work. You know how everybody likes to get the last laugh?

Very satisfying.

You know, I’ve never done anything quite like this. I know there are some comedians who do a lot of entertaining at professional gatherings and in a variety of health care settings. So I thought I’d ask for some advice.

Told a comedian I really admire that I’m doing a conference keynote and wondered if he had any tips.

“How long is your keynote?”

“Fifty minutes.”

“What’s the longest set you’ve ever done?”

“Ten minutes.”

“Who’s the conference for?”

“Palliative Care.”

“Well, somebody’s gonna want to be put out of their misery.”

Just as an educational aside, those are “greeting the crowd” jokes. Now I’ll move into the joke jokes.

I started doing comedy just after I was diagnosed with cancer…. I like to drop the cancer reference early because it sets the fun bar nice and low.

“Hey, what’d you think of that last comedian?”

“Well, he was more amusing than cancer.”

When you’re diagnosed with cancer and you tell your family and friends, one thing you hear a lot is: “You’re strong Bob. You’re gonna fight this. You’ll win this war.”

Well, thanks, but I’d be okay with a negotiated non-aggression pact.

There was a lot more, but you know the old saying about giving away the milk when you’re trying to sell the cow. If you find yourself in need of guest speaker, you can reach me through the Platform Formerly Known as Twitter, where I go by bobarmsnovelist.