TODAY | May 31, 2012
>> is "today" on nbc.
>>> back now at 8:45 with "your life calling today." our special "today" contributor jane pauley has been working with aarp which has sponsored and produced a series of reports for us. and the lights have gone out, but jane is here this morning.
>> she can tell us what's happening in the dark.
>> absolutely. where's my flashlight? move to florida, the state of retirement, a funny thing happens. he didn't find his life calling. he heard it.
>> thank you.
>> reporter: gibb poole was a jack-of-all-trades.
>> i'm one of these guys that gets bored real easy. i went to seminary, ski instructor, i was a financial planner , i was in the army, i was in the air force .
>> reporter: you sold some stuff.
>> i sold vacuum cleaners door to door . i sold boats. i sold cars. i sold insurance.
>> reporter: how would you fill in the blank under occupation?
>> road show .
>> reporter: the road led here, mccurdy's comedy club in sarasota. i know these people.
>> i'm next to paula poundstone .
>> reporter: at 61 on a whim, he signed up for a comedy class.
>> when i took that comedy class, wow! what if i could really do this? what if this is the one thing that i can hook myself into and just see how far i can go?
>> reporter: six years later, he's really doing it. it's like you finally grew up and got serious about yourself.
>> grew up, really. i'm a comedian.
>> reporter: but he's very serious about it.
>> we're going to have a redneck hurricane survival guide.
>> reporter: constantly writing and refining material.
>> maybe it's just s-t-u-p-i-d. i stay up till 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning changing things.
>> reporter: his wife, jane , videotapes every show. and a computer program analyzes his performance.
>> it tells me what percentage of the time i'm on stage the audience is laughing.
>> reporter: he gets lots of material just watching people at the mall.
>> i went to this mall. and i'm sitting there. and i'm in this chair. one of those little padded chairs around the fountain. like day care for husbands. i see stuff there, things that just don't make any sense at all. that's how they talk in atlanta. well. a button right here. well, well, well.
>> reporter: when did you get your first paycheck?
>> about four years ago, $25. and i spent about $30 in gas to get there and get back. i will send you some posters.
>> reporter: these days, he does better. playing clubs, colleges and corporate events. and his wife enjoys one of the perks.
>> thank you.
>> reporter: he teaches comedy, improv and presentation skills on cruise liners . his payment, a free ride.
>> we did over 100 days of cruising last year.
>> reporter: he's not getting rich, but he's suddenly getting attention. and sometimes it's a little overwhelming.
>> i look at all of this. and i feel like i wasted all these years. and it sort of hurts that i feel like it took this long, you know. i guess the hardest thing about the comedy, it's just such a brief moment in your life. everybody loves you. you love them. you walk off stage. and it's gone. this moment will never be there again.
>> reporter: most people go through their lives, and they never hear the applause and the laughter at all.
>> reporter: the bottom line, gibb poole is 67. and he's having the time of his life.
>> i got married again because i got tired of having my own opinion. almost every show, somebody will walk up to me and go, gee, i've always wanted to try that. and i said, well, why don't you? we're the first generation because of our health care that gets a do-over. why do we want to waste that on sitting around hoping we could try something instead of going out and doing it? it amazes me. i'm going to do it until i can't remember what to say. you guys enjoy the rest of the evening.
>> formerly jack-of-all-trades gibb poole has one thing going for him. he wasn't afraid to try new things. the reality check , getting laughs is hard work. getting paid for laughs is even harder. amateurs don't get checks on the way out the door, as gibb says, unless they're doing valet parking. i hope you'll join me today for my radio internet call-in show at 10:00 a.m . eastern at aarp.org/ jane .
>> you get a gold star for being such a good sport. you kept on trucking when the lights went out. i want you to know that we figured out the problem. i think al --
>> i'm really sorry. i wasn't supposed to do this. sorry about that. just kidding.
>> thanks for that. by the way, the great thing is somebody off camera, jane said to us, i think she was one of our producers.
>> she said the two of you never looked better.
>> we're back with much more in a moment. but first, this is live television "today" on nbc.
>> ah! ah!