Overcome Obstacles, Break Barriers, and Maximize Team Performance. Motivational Speaker Joe Yannetty creates a unique, powerful and high energy experience. Yannetty empowers audiences to embrace change and do more with less. His story is proof that you can overcome any obstacle life throws your way. He talks about conviction to change in spite of challenges. He is not just your "average Joe", he is a man with a message that transforms lives.
Cancer is no joking matter; but for Joe Yannetty, laughter is one of the best treatments. In February 2014, the veteran comic was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Fortunately, it was treatable, but recovery can take up to a year. During that time, he’s sidelined from doing his standup act.
Being a comedian, I had no health insurance, since it was so expensive. Then I find out I have Stage 4 throat cancer, which is completely curable with extensive treatment if you act right away. Through Obamacare, I went online and got health insurance in 10 minutes that allowed me to go to Dana-Farber to the best experts. Obamacare saved my life.
My brother came and lived with me for months and completely put his life aside. Friends in the Boston comedy scene like Lenny Clarke did so many fund-raisers for me. That’s how I paid all my bills. Agents that are hated in the industry put out an e-mail blast and all the guys who knew me made donations. I’ve been doing stand-up for 33 years. My entire life I felt like I didn’t fit in, even when I was a little kid. All of a sudden, I realize people really, really love me. They have gone so far above and beyond to help me.
A call from Denis Leary — we started together at Ding Ho in Cambridge — got me out of bed and back on stage. It was for Cam Neely’s Comics Come Home cancer benefit at the Boston Garden with Jimmy Fallon in 2014. I’m on stage in front of 15,000 people. I had never worked in front of an audience that large. I messed up my very first joke; then it all came back. I did a routine about cancer and it was the talk of the show.
I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m in love with a wonderful woman. I have more work. I’m traveling around the world so happy doing what I’m doing. I can speak. My mouth is dry, but I’m alive and it’s OK. Everything is perfect.