Tragedy plus timing equals comedy.

Richard Pryor


Bad things happen in threes.  In1988 my mother was unexpectedly diagnosed with lung cancer.  I left New York City and moved into her hospital room with her.  I became her nurse and her protector, but no matter what I did, how hard I tried to bargain with the gods she was dead within six weeks.  Heartbroken, I went back to New York City to my strained marriage and my lucrative job in the garment center.  And after five years of working like a dog—I’d built their unknown company into the #1 Color-Forecasting company in the country—they fired me.  I’d put my life on hold for four years to put my husband through law school.  After he passed the bar he informed me he was moving to Hollywood to become a motion picture producer and I wasn’t invited.  

In 1990 I found myself alone, forty years old, and unemployed.  Devastated, dejected, and filled with rage, I did what any red-blooded scorned woman would do.  I cut my hair off, died it red, and began doing stand-up comedy.  I had to somehow get my soul, my self-esteem, and my voice back.

Jill Dalton (R) receiving the Mary Jo Comedy Show Award c. 1995.

Mary Jo Comedy Show Award

In 1995 I received the Mary Jo Comedy Show Award for best up and coming female stand-up.  I was shocked but so grateful.

Mary Jo Comedy Show Award c. 1995.

c. 1995

c. 1995

Photo of my award check for $500. c. 1995

I was thrilled to receive a check for $500.00.  I so needed that money.

The Alluring Ladies of Laughter

One of the greatest gatherings of new female comic talent!

CaB Magazine

(Top to bottom): Jill Dalton, Leighann Lord, Michelle Balan, and Venessa Hollingshead

It’s not always easy to get stage time so Leighann Lord, Vanessa Hollingshead, Michele Balan, and I put together this show, “The Alluring Ladies of Laughter” that we did on Wednesday nights 55 Grove Street.  We’d invite special guests every week as well.  One week we had Amy Stiller and she brought her mom and dad.  Jerry Stiller and Helen Meara (Stiller and Meara).

Taking it on the road.

Comedy tour with Sam Brown c. 1995

Sam Brown and I did a comedy tour and because I’d been on the Soaps I got the publicity even though he was the headliner and I was the middle act.

Stage Time.

In order to get stage time, I was always traveling out of town via Metro-North to do    clubs.  I’d do The Laughing Bean (NJ), McGuires Comedy Club (Bohemia, NY), Porky’s Comedy Club,  Pips Comedy Club (Brooklyn), etc.

Standing in front of the venue where I was the entertainment for the Nut Swamp PTA fundraiser.  c. 1994.

Nut Swamp PTA c. 1995

Standing with my photo/resume that they’d blown up.

Nut Swamp PTA c. 1995

c. 1994

When we pulled up to Brother’s Caterers there was a gigantic banner draped across the front of the building with my name in huge letters. And I guess because I’d done soaps and America’s Funniest People they billed me as a T.V. star! The place was packed, and I remember I was getting over a bout with food poisoning.  My set went really well.

c. 1994

My sister, Cam ( featured in the photo above on the left) asked me to MC at the Winterland Ball in Long Beach, CA so I did.

New York stand-up comic, Jill Dalton, kept the room in stitches . . .