Jim Comer ’66
For Wordsmith, Success Can Be Funny

By Donna Parker

Jim Comer ’66 is an experienced writer and speaker, but his life stories are too good for words.

Take the $10,000 Pyramid – one of many quiz shows he was on during eight years as a struggling actor in New York. Jim nearly “took to his bed” when a one-syllable preposition did him in on his last clue to TV star Adrienne Barbeau. It was three weeks before he realized he’d won $3,300 because he was so disappointed for not snagging the $10,000…and no, he doesn’t recall the preposition.

Jim waited tables and met Joan Rivers, for whom he wrote jokes for $7 a line. She used his joke on The Ed Sullivan Show and he expected instant fame.

He finally went corporate, writing speeches for Avon. There, he customized an unsolicited monologue for guest speaker Bob Hope, but the comedian didn’t understand the “insider Avon-lady jokes.” Jim spent hours in Hope’s hotel suite convincing him to use the lines. Hope told Jim he’d do the first joke and, “if they laugh, I’ll do them all.” The audience screamed and yelled and beat the floor and Mr. Hope performed all of the small-town Texas boy’s material.

Jim’s wild ride goes all the way back to his Trinity days in the ’60’s. One night, as a pledge, he was told to race between campus and a downtown restaurant. The non-athletic freshman was so terrified of being last, “I just did what the person next to me did.” That guy was the halfback of the football team and he and Jim left their competitors in the dust, laughing all the way.

Jim Comer’s latest venture is a serious book entitled Parenting Your Parents with the companion website www.parentingyourparents.com, but humor is never far behind. The home page offers such tips as, “What to do when you find three gallons of Scotch in your dad’s retirement home closet!”

But seriously folks – all kidding aside, this humorist who’s made a living making people laugh, left a promising career in show biz to become a first-time parent at the age of 51 to his mother and dad.

No doubt, he’ll leave them laughing as they go.