Vanilla is plain.
It is perfectly unoffensive, pristine, nearly flavorless, and the exact extract I wanted to be known for from the beginning of my career.
Growing up in an extremely religious state, espousing the same beliefs as the majority, it became apparent quickly that my path to success among my people would be to ride the Vanilla wave of comedy, music, and entertainment in order to survive the driest community in the U.S.
Making people laugh who don’t drink, don’t have outward vices, who LOVE vanilla, became my Signature Move and is a Promise I still keep to this day.
Stepping on toes, insulting, belittling, cursing, going to the edge, none of that was, nor is, my style.
I prefer VANILLA.
And because I have chosen Vanilla, when I have softly served another side, dare I say – thrown in a heath chunk or sprinkled some gummy bears here and there on the precious Vanilla ice cream – there are people who are THRILLED!
They LOVE when they see the “he adds flavor” part of me, and that’s what comes through mostly in private coaching sessions, small workshops, and occasionally, depending on how frustrated I am with an audience, a lucky crowd getting a few zingers from me they were shocked and delighted by.
Such as the time I stopped the show in Michigan and began talking to the guy in the front row who wasn’t responding to a thing I did. He insulted me. I verbally kicked him back. He saw I wasn’t backing down. I ripped his table mate, then his girlfriend, then the entire room, and pretty soon the whole place was scream laughing, standing ovation, they invited me out for drinks.
Go figure. They wanted crumbled nuts on Vanilla.
I didn’t go full rogue on them, it wasn’t inappropriate humor, but dang, I had to go to a new place to keep The Promise with an audience, and how I wish I’d recorded that show!
I wrote a bit years ago that continues to kill, about being from Utah, leading you to believe I’m going to say I’m a part of the state’s prominent religion, but instead saying I’m a skier…and then that I don’t ski but that my wives do.
This one colorful bit has SLAYED audiences nationwide because its so unexpected.
If they read this blog, they’d see more of that flavor shift, as I hope you notice, since I promise you it’s in there every single article if you read every single line.
When you’re Vanilla, however, and throw in some caramel or fudge, there are some who come at you like you’ve just broken the law of Moses and purposefully danced like Gene Kelly, morphing into Machine Gun Kelly, and taken too many steps on the Sabbath.
I get it. I have done this to myself. And I have very often bent to the cries of the one in 1,000 who complains or calls me out.
For instance, a few months ago, I wrote what I felt may have been one of my most profound pieces of my writing career. It was very edgy, and I knew it. I posted it on my blog and got some very concerned messages….from those who didn’t read every line.
Have you ever commented on a social media post that announced an engagement of your eternally single cousin, only to be had since you didn’t read the whole thing? Yep!
This was the same as the now infamous post about my dog, Goldie, and a vivid dream I had which actually changed my life and the way our family loves and treats our little dog.
I received one call from one peer who ripped into me. I was also recovering from my leg injury and on some medication that didn’t allow me to properly respond and remind them not to talk to me like I’m an idiot.
But I took it like a guy who is… Vanilla.
I immediately issued an apology to all of my readers and took the post down.
I’m sick of being Vanilla.
It works for some needs, such as being asked to come and be clean & funny after the last funny guy showed up high, but Vanilla is completely forgettable. It stands for nothing with the hopes of pleasing everyone.
With that said, the post about Goldie is officially back up, I hope you enjoy it, and please send me all the hate and vicious emails you feel you need to.
In the past few months, I have posted more and more “controversial” things, and although you may be wondering what that means, I can assure you, in my culture, I am being ripped for posts as simple as telling a joke about my own life, our culture, our mistakes, and even posting a video of a friend bearing testimony before he tragically passed away.
We all live in a judgmental world, but then there’s the one surrounding my Vanilla world, with members in my very faith community, who will let you know when they believe you’re wrong, that will make a lesser person need to exit that space.
Well, I’m not going anywhere.
I love my faith, I love my community, and I love getting the hate that seems to be stirring.
That means I’m finally adding some sprinkles to the boring Vanilla.
The Promise is to make small amends, micro shifts to get better.
Adding flavor to Vanilla makes me a better person, a more interesting writer, a compelling speaker, an entertainer who can wow you without going to the edge, but still not just being Vanilla.
As a Coach, Mentor, and Consultant, the feedback I receive is that I tell it like it is, and it’s never described as Vanilla, more like “a roundhouse to the face with these bad boys”…with Jason Hewlett Signature Move charm, humor, values, integrity, realigning their foundational beliefs, and that’s exactly what they loved about it.
So, raise a cone with me, to Vanilla! Now dip some Wendy’s fries in that thing!
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Coach & Mentor
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to Create Legendary Leadership through the Power of Commitment
- Author of “The Promise To The One”