When I started Today’s Honoree the thought never crossed my mind that I would one day interview one of the greatest motivators, comedians, adventurers, reviewers, authors, voice overs and interviewers of all time.
A few months ago Beatrice Davis nominated her client Geir Ness for Today’s Honoree. After she enjoyed the feature she thought it would be a good idea for me to interview Fran Capo. I went from not knowing who Fran Capo was to realizing that Fran Capo has done it all.
Fran Capo has offered so much to the world of entertainment that during our interview we decided to use each letter in her name to bring emphasis to some of the things the she brings to the table.
The F is for Fast.
Fran is a Guinness Book of World Recorder for being the worlds fasterst talking woman.
A- No because I know when not to use the fast-talking. Think of it this way an Olympic runner is not always running.
Q- Are there any other fast talkers out there that the world should be on the look out for?
A- I learned a long time ago to be successful you only need to focus on what you are doing, not on the shadows of those trying to follow you. Be aware of your surroundings but always focus on what you need to do.
The R is for Relentless /Reviewer
Q- Is there one movie past or present that you would like to review?
A- I would have loved to review my favorite movie of all time, “Gone with the Wind” and talked to actor Clark Gable, for my “Minute in a Movie Reviews“, that I do with fitness celebrity John Basedow on YouTube.
Q-What gets you up?
A-Surprising people, motivating people, and making people laugh.
Q-What gets you going?
A-Always looking forward to something…cuddling with my boyfriend, watching a movie with my son, writing a new book, lunch with a girlfriend, meditating…so many things…basically loving life with those I love and trying new adventures…there is a whole world out there to explore!
Q-Why after all these years do you still want to be the best?
A- God gave us a talent to use and share while we are on this earth. I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and if we are going to have one, why not make it the best you can. Motivate, captivate and educate people the best you can with your talents.
The A is for Adventurer
Q-What did you learn from climbing Kilimajaro in July of 2004 that you apply to your life?
A-To enjoy life’s journey one step at a time. When you are climbing a mountain it looks sometimes as if you are never going to reach the top, and after days of climbing the mountain top still looks far away, but if you just keep putting one step in front of the other you will get to your goal eventually. Never give up, no matter how far away your goal seems. You can make it, if you just put one foot In front of the other and aim in the right direction.
Q-What did you learn from diving down to the Titanic and how would that experience help those that have only seen the movie?
A-Being on that expedition, I got to speak to Ralph White who was with Robert Ballard when he discovered the Titanic with the Alvin submersible. Ralph showed us pictures he took as one of the first human eyes to see the ship since it had sunk. Remember, the movie is a Hollywood version, and there were many things that Ralph revealed that was cool inside knowledge. Unfortunately since my trip there in July of 2005 Ralph has passed, so I was honored I got a chance to speak to him first hand.
Q- What did you witness that others could only imagine?
A-Being 1 of only 108 people to go down by the wreck site of the Titanic and seeing it, only 10 feet away from my submersible window. It was very surreal and awesome. Sometimes I still can’t believe I was down there.
Q-What made you want to eat fire?
A- Because I saw others do it and felt if they could do it and not get burnt so could I. I was curious.
Q- Do you have a limit of what you won’t do and what’s going too far or off limits?
A- I won’t do anything against my morals. I was asked as a young comic to appear in Playboy Magazine along with other female comics topless. I refused. To me it wasn’t worth baring my boobs for money or to go against my morals. I also never smoked Pot, or did any drugs. I never succumb to peer pressure. I barely drink, hell cranberry juice gets me drunk, so no need to. Bottom line is I only do things if I want to do them, NOT because someone pressures me to do them. I set my own limits. I live my live by one principal, never do anything in life that you would be ashamed of if it appeared the next day in the headlines of a newspaper. (Just think how many politicians careers would be saved if they lived by this same principal!)
The N is for New York
Q-What hospital or schools (grade, college, etc) did you go to in NYC?
A- Jamaica High School, and then got my BA in Philosophy and Accounting from Queens College. I always joke with those two majors that my life was like, one plus one is two…why? I also was on Dean’s list and had perfect attendance…man how nerdy is that!
Q- Why do you love NY?
A-Because of the amount of things there are to do here at any given time of day or night, for a curious person like me…it’s like one big candy store to explore.
Q-Did you ever want move out of the NY area?
A- Yes. I’m a landlord in Queens for a two family house that my family lived in. When my mom passed my sister and I rented it out to hold onto it. Now we need to sell it. But, New York City is too lenient with non-paying tenants. I may lose my family home because I can’t get the tenants out because the courts are so lax. The fact that a tenant can have a union job and not pay rent and get away with it for months, is so unfair to hard working people. Not all states are like this, but New York is. It’s made me want to move out of my home state. New York bows down to people who rather live off hardworking people than work themselves, and I’m sick of it.(If the person lost a job and is having a rough spot, that’s a different story you can work things out.) But If I as a single mom If I can do it, others who have the ability to work, should. I rather live in a state that respects those who respect themselves and not reward those who scam the system and try to squeeze money out of those of us who work. Sorry for the rant, but it’s very frustrating.
Q- Are you connected to any local charities?
A- Yes, www.ComedyCures.org I do their comedy cure lunch shows that provides free shows to cancer patients and their caretakers once a month. It was founded and is run by Saranne Rothberg a 4th stage breast cancer survivor. We also did a LaughTalk radio show.
The C is for CuppaCapo/Comedy
Q- How did you get started in comedy?
A-I loved comedy but was scared to do it. In college I asked God for a sign if I should try comedy. God gave me many signs that I ignored. Then I asked if I was to do comedy if God could make it convienient (Yeah I know I got some nerve) but that same day I saw an contest for a local comedy show two blocks from my house. The winner got to perform. I entered and won, and have since been doing comedy. It only proves “ask and the door shall be open.”
Q-Who were your comedy mentors?
Q-If you were to set up one comedy show with 3 other comedians that are still doing stand up who would they be and why?
A-Ah, I actually run 2 comedy clubs near where I live; Piazza Roma in Cortlandt Manor, and Rocco’s in Brookfield Ct. I always put 3 different headliner comics on the shows every month. I’m lucky to have so many talented friends, so it’s hard to choose only three. I once did a fundraiser to prevent animal cruelty called, “Stand up for Animals.” I put all my favorite comics on the show. Today some of my favorite comics are: Gemini, Janette Barber, Patti Rosborough, Melvin George, Rhonda Handsome, Nancy Lombardo, Chris Monty, Richie Burne, Vic DiBitetto , Rich Ramirez, JJ Ramirez, George Bettinger…too many to name.
The A is for Author
Q- Why do you write what inspired you to follow that dream?
A- I used to write little books as a kid, I mean as young as 7 years old. I remember in 6th grade telling my teacher, Mrs. Williams that I planned on writing a book someday. 17 books later, I guess I lived my dreams.
Q- Any upcoming books in the works?
A-The second edition of my “It A- Happened in New Jersey” is a book is due out in 2012 along with “Hopeville: The City of Light”. Also all my books will be available on the e-book platforms, like Kindle, Nook etc. For now people can get autographed copies by going to the bookstore on my website, www.francapo.com
Q-Do you ever teach courses on to help others learn how to write?
Not “HOW” to write, but how to put together a book. I just did finished a three hour workshop called, “So you wanna write a book.” And a one-day intensive book camp. In those workshops I teach people how to; discipline themselves to write, how to outline a book, how to write a proposal, find a voice, find a publisher, the difference between traditional book publishing, self publishing and e-publishing, how to find an agent, the difference between fiction and non-fiction writing down to how to market your books. I also will be doing teleseminars in 2012 on how to get a book published. So stay tuned.
Q-Is Amazon and your website the only places you sell your books?
A-No they are also sold at brick and mortar stores like Barnes and Nobles. I also cross promote and they are sold other people’s websites as well, we work out a commission. Also all my books will soon be on Kindle, Nook etc. I also sell them after all my shows and speaking engagements. I’ve even been known to sell them out of the trunk of my car. I once even sold a book on top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia.
Q-Do you do a lot of book signings?
A- Yes after every show and lets not forget my most memorable one was at the top of Kilimanjaro (check out photo under world records button on my website.)
Q- What tips can you give upcoming writers about the business of publishing?
A-Never give up. Decide if you want to self publish or go with a traditional publisher. Self publishing brings you more money. Traditional publishing give you more respect as an author and credibility. I have books that are done both ways.
Q-How did you get started?
A-I attended a seminar on “speaking”. At the end of the presentation I asked the guy to give me his contact on the cruise ship he said he was performing at. On a lark, without even having a topic yet, I called them and said, “I heard you hire speakers.” They said yes, what topic do you talk on? I said, “Several depending on the audience.” She said, “We have people 45 and up.” I said, “Wow I have a topic how to have more energy in the later years.” I got booked and my career got started. Then I went back to the original presentor and told him the story. He booked me as a keynote speaker at his “Speakers University.” I got a standing ovation and liked it ever since.
Q-How does a public speaking audience differ from a comedy audience?
A-The set ups and messages are different. In comedy I got to keep them laughing every minute (hopefully). In speaking, I can tell longer stories then make them laugh, and interject the “Reason” I am telling them the story and the points I am trying to get across.
Q-Can you name at least one country/city on each of the continents that you have spoken on?
A-Antarctica, Tanzania, Okinawa, 45 of the 50 states, England, Jamaica, Korea, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bahamas, and Aruba. I am lucky to say I have spoken on every continent…yup even Antarctica…those penguins really know how to dress up.
Q-What differences do you see in the school audience and corporate audience?
A-Young kids are more open and let their feelings show. They get enthusiastic. Corporate audiences are more respectful, but once you open up with comedy, they will open up with you. The bottom line is if you speak from your heart and you have a good message, your audience will sense your sincerity and enjoy the ride. I absolutely love seeing people laugh till they cry…it brings me great job to know I can make them happy. And if they come up and hug me after a show, buy my books, and take pictures with me I am in heaven, because then I know I have really moved them.
The O is for Optimism
Q-How important is it for you to have a positive circle of friends?
A- Very. Many people say you are the sum of the 5 most influential friends you hang around with. So look at your 5 best friends…where are they in life…that’s generally where you will be. I am SOOOO lucky to have such wonderful friends…caring, loyal, just there for me (and me for them). ..they lift my spirits when I am going through things. I am rich beyond belief in my circle of friends.
Q- You have been robbed a few times so how do you stay optimistic in NY, the city that you love?
A-I was held up 3 times at gunpoint (Once while I was pregnant – the man was on the 3rd floor balcony of my home trying to break in) I threatened to shoot him and he jumped off the balcony and ran away before the cops could get there.
The other two times I was in college. Once as the manager of the local King Kullen, and the other time as the manager of a copy shop. I remember joking with the crook when he asked for the money in the copy shop. He said, “Empty the cash drawer.” There was only $20 dollars in it. He was mad. I said, ‘Well mister what did you expect, it was 5 cents a copy, you should have robbed a bank.”
You always have to maintain a sense of humor, because life sure can throw you for a loop at times. The bottom line is you need to ask yourself, “What is funny about this situation, and don’t give up till you come up with an answer.” If you are going to laugh about it, why wait, laugh now (not while the guy is holding the gun to your stomach, but soon afterwards.) As long as you are still alive, that is something to be optimistic about. Remember….live everyday as if it’s your last, and one day you’ll be right….. and on that last day you don’t want to be doing the laundry.
Any Last words:
If people enjoy what I do all I ask is for them to tell 3 friends about me and spread the word about my cuppa capo so I can bring joy into their homes. (And hey if they want me to come into their businesses as well to speak…just shoot me an email.)
Fore more information about Fran Capo: