Check out the link, it’s from the Erie Playhouse Three Poles Walk into a Bar Comedy Tour. Bob Golub will bring his tour to the Pittsburgh Improv June 26-29.
Plus, Comedy Around the World???
Yes!!! Tomorrow starts the weekly installment of comedy and humor stories from around the world. I will comb through my memories from back in the day (when there was no Penn State tuition or car payments) when I traveled regularly. Everywhere I went, from Egypt to Amsterdam, Morocco to Madrid, there were always incidents of people using their sense of humor–even when we weren’t speaking the same language. But wait–yes we were, we were speaking the language of laughter. Stay tuned….
Thank you to the Latonia, and to Michael Gershe and Tim Piccirillo for a great show tonight–it was the first comedy show the Latonia has seen in over 40 years!!! The Latonia is a former Vaudeville theater where Clark Gable and his ilk used to perform in the 1930’s. Its new owners have it refurbished for today’s entertainment!
Also last night, Eric Hess and Jerome Wincek (JeROME is the French Canadian pronunciation), part of The Old Hats, gave us a taste of their new CD. Visit the band on myspace music under “Jerome Wincek”. Thanks for adding value to our inspirational comedy night!
Stop in next Friday night for another great event, and look for another COMEDY show on June 27th at the Latonia.
Thanks to Roxanne for giving us the tour of the original stage and green rooms of the building. Roxanne and Linda have done an outstanding job renovating this theater that originally opened in 1929. Look for more great events all summer long!
Went to a BNI meeting yesterday where someone read from a leadership book–something with “Lion’s Den” in the title. (If you are reading this and know the correct title, please let me know and I can edit this blog entry.). The section was about humor and how it helps one’s leadership abilities. In the workplace, using your sense of humor helps to increase your creativity, productvity, optimism, and makes it easier for people to relate to you. You become more human and approachable to both your superiors and your subordinates.
People who have a sense of humor make a more rapid, interesting and enjoyable climb up the corporate ladder. Their sense of humor separates them from the also-rans, because they remain calm and don’t take confounding situations too seriously.
That title is really funny, by the way! (Where I come from, “calm” and “com” are pronounced the same, pretty clever?). A friend and I were discussing how informal the blogs are that he’s read. (Did he mean mine? He didn’t say…) I said, “I think that a blog is meant to be like a conversation. That’s why I intentionally (of course, never on purpose) misspell words and don’t proofread so that I, too, can appear cool like all the Gen-Y kids.”
He maintained that a blog should be perfect, and should look professional. He loses respect for people whose blogs don’t reflect the professionalism of their website. Does anyone else have an opinion on this?
Maybe in this new world of technological communication, we need to become more calm, and less perfectionistic (there, that was a purposeful grammar misteak. There, another one). In order to compete in the world of business, we need to do what the customer is doing, to speak in the language of the customer.
That means joining the You-Tube, myspace, social sites bandwagon. We need to do text messaging and clip words and be casual. That is the way of the world of the next generation–but it is also the way that all generations are learning to think, behave, and be: it’s not really that the younger generations are instigating these new behaviors. I think it’s more that technology is driving these new behaviors, and that the newer generations are just more likely to try out and become expert at these new technologies. And it’s also these younger generations that are driving the casual, friendly (read: Humorous??) work environment. They will help us all to “Get Your SHINE Together!” What do you think? Are you joining the bandwagon today?
By the way, the blue jacket SOLD!!
A friend and I were asked to sing at a wedding. We don’t do ‘modern’ songs (we prefer show tunes in Phrygian mode–write if you got that). The bride-to-be said, “It doesn’t matter what you sing, just make it short. ‘Cause we’ll just be waiting at the alter for it to be over.” (I didn’t ask, “What–the song or the wedding? Or the marriage?).
I told her, “We can do that, in fact it’s our most-requested song, ‘Waiting for it to be over.’”
Before my group members and I sing, we joke around, making fun of how bad our song will turn out (and many times we are accurate with our predictions). We do this for a (n unconscious) reason: the laughter helps us to breathe, opens the lung and chest muscles (I am guessing here; but it feels like that is happening), and makes the songs come out of the throat easier (that is not the medical phrase I’m sure).
That “breathing easier” is what happens when we let down our guard, and we let out our humor capabilities. And it can happen to anyone–you don’t have to sing. It happened the other day at the antique store where I blew most of my tax refund on vintage clothing (1950’s not 1800’s).
I was the first one to let down my guard and joke with the clerks and the owner. (I figured I would practice what I blog).
Then they chimed in, too, with their light remarks and jokes. I could actually feel myself relaxing, breathing more easily.
As we had a fun exchange, we grew to see each other as co-humans, not customer and clerk, stranger and stranger. That barrier between stranger and co-human has come down!
60 Minutes just talked about the new generation of workers entering the workforce. To the untrained eye, these workers are spoiled, coddled, “narcissistic praise-hounds,” as the announcer described.
But, regardless of what we think of them, they are the future, and their workstyle is influencing the way we live and work. They have extraordinary technology skills; however, their people-skills and manners might be somewhat lacking. (Contrast this with older generations in the same workforce, whose skill set is the exact reverse).
These new workers don’t want to settle: they like to adapt and switch and try new things. (does that sound a little bit like using humor?? It IS!). So, bosses need to “know what presses their buttons,” says consultant Bob Nelson.
But it may be easy to do, IF you have a comedy/humor mindset already. This new generation of workers has been raised with a comedy-type mentality: have fun, practice a little bit, and you’ll automatically win and always be rewarded. There isn’t a lot of competition, people should work together and get along, and above all, the workplace should be FUN!
The boss has to be a therapist, not a dictator. You can’t be harsh with this new breed; you can’t ask them to put the job above their lifestyle. They’re living and being themselves and that keeps them busy. (Maybe we all could learn about work/life balance from them!)
So what is a boss or supervisor to do? Get Your SHINE Together! and take yourself lightly. When the CEO is willing to submit him or herself to being dunked in the dunk tank at the summer picnic, these workers see that “we’re all in it together”.
For them–and for all of us–the workplace should be an efficient, flexible and nicer place to be.
Here is a flawed metaphor (but isn’t every metaphor flawed, since it isn’t meant to describe the thing exactly??) to build on yesterday’s ‘trust & risk’ theme:
There is a risk in going outdoors in the winter: You could freeze (I am in Pennsylvania; then again, you could freeze in May, too, here). It is much more comfortable indoors under blankets and with t.v. (If you have one, or either).
By being professional, stand-offish, and lock-step–that is, by not using our sense of humor–we are staying indoors. It is comfortable, we aren’t in danger of getting cold, we can see who wins Dancing with the Stars, we can eat comfort food. But too long inside and we get cabin-fever, we gain weight, we become sluggish. Because we are not using skills we know we have.
On the other hand, when we take the risk and go outdoors–when we use our sense of humor–it is shockingly cold at first, but the more we get used to being outside, the more fun it becomes. We can appreciate the sun hitting the white snow, as it contrasts the blue sky. (We can appreciate how other people brighten as we give them permission to let down their guard). We can appreciate playing in snow, and skiing, sled-riding, running in the snow. We can appreciate playing. We are feeling good, because we are exercising our muscles, we are breathing fresh air! We are also clearing the air for others to be around us–we are creating that environment of lightness, fun, humanness.
But stay outside too long and we risk getting frostnip or frostbite (cold hands means more than warm heart, it also means someone is very funny from taking so many risks in winter…) Similarly, people who are always looking on the funny side, may be in denial, may miss things that should be taken seriously, may put themselves at an inverse-risk.
Once again, you have to trust that taking that risk is going to be worth it, and trust that you will know when you need to go back indoors. But you also have to trust that you will survive if you DO venture outdoors into the world of humor….
(Photo is a jacket for cold weather that I am currently selling on ebay. Buy it and you will be ready to be funny.) Only 2d 14hrs left! How is that for cross-pollenization of my services?
“All trust involves Risk” I saw on a sign outside a church today. Seems that is also true in comedy, and also when trying out our humor muscles and skills in everyday situations (especially with strangers; I know we’re not supposed to talk to strangers, but no one ever said we can’t joke with them!).
I remember my very first joke I ever did in public. It was my first piano recital, and my piano teacher wanted me to rehearse and deliver a joke before I played my song. Like any teacher, she wanted to boost her students’ self-esteem. “OK, Hessmeister, not only are you hitting puberty and your skin is going bad and you’re packing on the pounds, but now I’m going to have a roomful of people LAUGH at you!” And back then it wasn’t a good thing.
[I seem to have bad experiences with music teachers. My current violin teacher tells me, "Trina you are the PERFECT example...Of why Vaudeville died!"]
It was a big risk I took as I looked scared-faced at that piano-recital-induced audience and said, “All his life Beethoven had been composing. Ever since his death he has been decomposing.” And I said it just like that, stone-faced, dead-pan. Because I didn’t even GET the joke myself.
Groans. Some laughs, but mostly the sound of eyes rolling. And then someone in the back stood up and yelled, “You SUCK!!!!” Through tear-filled eyes I said, “Thanks for the support, MOM!”
I hope your risk isn’t nearly as horrific as mine was. I’m still here. And now it’s a GOOD thing that people are laughing at me. We just have to trust that whether or not the joke gets laughs, we are still accomplishing something good. We are the Shining Example, the one who had enough courage to use a sense of humor where before there was none, and we did succeed–we created an atmosphere where everyone could lighten up! And from my recital experience, I’ve learned to never let anyone write material for me.
Now go and “Get Your SHINE Together!”
Humor in everyday situations–it’s like being in live traffic. There are many different makes of cars, going at different speeds, making all different kinds of sounds.
Just like there are different types of humor: some types of humor are like road rage, some are mild Sunday driver jokes, and some are a loud smelly mufflered car! Sometimes you are the pedestrian, not even in the car (not in on the joke).
Beeping your horn in this scenario isn’t rude. It’s a friendly nudge–an element of surprise that most every bit of humor contains. Then someone wants out…nobody will let him out…you let him out, it’s like a dance. “Move like water” they tell us movie extras. “Be active and inconspicuous,” they tell us. I said, “I can do that; I am a substitute teacher.”
Did I miss any car/humor analogies? Do you have any to add or alter?
I ran out of photos on my desktop to add to this post. I was going to put a picture of my grandma here, but I think she’d sue.
Getting used to using humor in everyday situations (especially with strangers!) is kind of like moving from a winter coat to SPF.
All the directions, practice, and thinking about what you’re going to say–that’s like putting on a winter coat. You are aware of it, you take it on and off, it’s not really natural to you (in May; unless you live in W.PA…).
But, once you’ve got the gyst (i.e. “GetYourSHINETogether”…) of it, humor is like putting on SPF sunscreen–it becomes seamless, weightless, and completely natural to you. Then, when it’s time for you to give a speech or presentation, your humor will be organic, natural, and will just flow from your words.
No longer will you have to scrounge around to find ‘jokes’ to shove into your speech. You can just notice the humor naturally come out of the content of your speech.
Now go and “Get Your SHINE Together” and don’t forget to wear SPF!
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