I was at a picnic today and Mel told me, “Having a sense of humor is important. But there are some things that you shouldn’t laugh about.”
Today’s “Comedy Around the World” takes us to Clearfield, PA. Not exactly Oslo, Norway–where I had planned to take us today, blog-wise anyway–but still there is something to learn.
My reply to Mel was, ”Yes, you can laugh at everything. We need to.”
Understand that ’laughing’ doesn’t mean being onstage. You don’t even have to get a laugh. It doesn’t have to even be verbalized. You can do this in your own head.
If you can take a negative experience and notice the irony in it, then you just accomplished the task. You can now see the bigger picture, have a larger perspective, see more than just one side, and lessen the negative’s impact.
Trina Hess says, “Get Your SHINE Together!”–no matter where in the world you are!!
The current presidential election is showing us how people react to change. This may or may not be how people will react to your injecting humor where before there was none. Or worse–where there was only seriousness, backstabbing, jelousy, and overall declining workplace morale.
Women may especially run into obstacles when adding humor. We’re not used to women being that way, saying funny things, setting themselves apart from ‘the crowd’. Similarly, we are not used to women wanting to become President of the United States. And so we attack those women who try to be so different from us. How many times was Hillary attacked on her–wardrobe? Her hair? Her typical ‘women’ characteristics. And a lot of this came from her own side of the fence!!
Watching the election also shows how people react to brand new circumstances. The first mixed-race candidate in history. Now the first woman vice-presidential candidate in the history of the Republican party. How will people react to these changes?
These monumental changes in the fabric of our common society may turn out to be a good thing. Maybe they will train us to adapt to changes. They may inspire us to make changes. They may encourage us to be brave and try something brand new: using our own sense of humor to improve our workplace, our home environment, and our interpersonal relationships. I think we can all vote for that…
“Get Your SHINE Together!”
I never really liked Whoopie Goldberg’s comedy. But as a panelist on a television talk show, she is BRILLIANT. Why do I say this, and what is the difference between Whoopie and the other panelists on The View? We can use the following reasons in our own quest to add humor to our lives.
1. Whoopie is decidedly unemotional about the election. We all are sure of who she will vote for, but she doesn’t press the issue. And when the other panelists are heated and emotionally flailing around, it is Whoopie who brings them back to earth with her quips.
2. Whoopie moderates–she doesn’t attack. Whereas the other panelists are emotionally tied to their view, Whoopie is not. So she doesn’t need to attack when someone criticizes her side: she merely rolls with the punches. Paradoxically, this makes her appear in control–of herself, her emotions, and the show itself. Chiefly because she is not fighting.
3. These reasons combine to make Whoopie very likeable. Even if you didn’t like her as a comedian. She is likeable because she is at ease. She is not one of the glamorous ones on the show, yet she still wears the sleeveless sundress, the dreadlocks, the tattoo. And it is OK, because she is so comfortable. She does care who wins the election, but she is not attached to it to the point of attacking people around her.
More tomorrow about the eclectic, changing nature of the candidates! Stay tuned.
Does anyone else pick apart The View like this? Am I right? Wanna fight about it?? ”Get Your SHINE Together!”
Watching the Joker in his carnival semi-truck chasing the GPD truck through Gotham really brought back memories of my own harrowing car chase (I was in the lead; unfortunately). I finally saw The Dark Knight at its last showing. The always lovely and talented Eric Roberts (in photo) played one of the many villains.
But villain #1 was, of course, the Joker. He said something tonight that made me think of how easily I and probably you, too, take offense at things other people say. Batman criticized the Joker for his evil nature. The Joker reminded Batman that, “I’m just like a dog chasing cars. I don’t know what to do when I catch them. I just DO things.” Or something to that effect. It was dark in the theater and all I had to write on was my Goodwill store receipt.
We tend to do what Batman did: No, not barricade ourselves in a warehouse and hire a British man to help us create weaponry. And, no, I don’t mean allowing Michael Caine to go on through the entire film without enunciating.
I mean, we attach meanings to people’s words. And then we take offense–whether it was offered or not. Then, most importantly, we forget that we have a sense of humor. We shut off our ability to remember that it is O.K. to laugh at this person, these words. It is O.K. to not take them or their words seriously. Maybe they are just chasing cars.
Someone told me today that Michael Phelps had broken his wrist last year. Bad news. He thought he wouldn’t be able to compete in this year’s Olympic Games. But it turned out to be good news, because he could only use a kickboard. This kickboard exercise may have helped him improve his kick. Or given him something he may not have had if he hadn’t broken his wrist.
This reminds me of the method we follow when we add humor to our day. We take what seems bad at the moment, give it time to settle, and then we can laugh at it.
A terroristic car chase may not seem like good news. And, even though I have seen every episode of Starsky and Hutch, I was still surprised. Surprised that a truck pulling a trailer with a racecar on it could keep up with my Corolla. After a 10.1-mile chase through back country roads, we also surprised the oncoming Amish buggies. Maybe they had a comedy show somewhere, too.
Just like the show I had come from. Now, understand that this was not New York (city). Not even Pittsburgh. In fact, the theater director said we should have had the show in the next town, because there, “we have about 70 or 80 families who can just walk across the bridge and come to the show. Here we have 4.”
Now, maybe this racecar-towing-driver had lost his race and was venting anger randomly. (But judging by the speed he kept, he probably had won.) It was a harrowing few minutes–and that was just talking to the 911 operator and the police officer, both of whom had absolutely no advice for me. Finally, the race-car towing cretin turned right when I turned left.
So what could be possibly good about that scenario?
1. Maybe now I know what happens, what it feels like to be chased late at night on the road.
2. Now I will know better what to bring with me in the car–more ammo than I had at the time, which was a can of hornet spray.
3. Now I know there are Amish out on the roads at 11 pm, and what are THEY up to?
4. Now I am no longer afraid of, “What if someone would chase me when I’m driving?”
5. Now, after the dust settled–literally–I can see how absurd that must’ve seemed especially to the Amish buggies. A race–but the race car was on a trailer. And the Corolla was in the lead. And I don’t even have a NUMBER on the side of my car!
If we can separate ourselves–via time, emotion, reason–we CAN laugh at these formerly terrorizing moments in our lives. And then, finally, we can laugh at them.
Humor IS that kickboard for our lives. We can use it when we are weak, injured, hurt, sad, lonely, confused. We can let it build our muscles to the point where we are something, someone better than we were before.
“Get Your SHINE Together!”
Just got an invite to Naymz, another social site. All this interaction via technology reminds me of a comedy show, actually. The give-and-take, the interaction, the connection. It’s the direction that business is moving today. Gone are the independent, isolated, competitive business styles. Now what’s hip–what’s necessary–is to cooperate, coordinate, and connect.
In the way that a monologue is all about ME, and you are just a viewer, the old style of doing business was very ego-oriented. It didn’t matter what the customer’s opinion was. And certainly didn’t matter what the competitor’s opinion was.
But a comedy show is all about a dialogue. The comic says something and immediately the crowd yells out something in reaction. If the comic is approachable. If the comic doesn’t seem too ego-centered (onstage anyway…). If the comic seems open to the connection.
This resembles the M.O. that is needed in business operations today. In the age of technology, now we need to connect and communicate with those competitors. Maybe even stop calling them competitors. When we share our information and when we support each other, we create a synergistic effect. We together become stronger, more vibrant. And we in turn collect more for ourselves. More information, more esteem and support–and maybe even more money.
So go out and “Get your social networks together!”
–most of the time. My song tonight was a surprise–to everyone, especially to me. It was ~almost in the right key. Until I hit the high note–at somewhat of an angle. Whether you think you can sing, or not, we all have a key that is right for us. Just like we have a style of humor that is uniquely our own. When we use this type of humor, it is natural, sounds beautiful, and connects people. To you, to your perspective, to your ideas, to each other. In other words, it makes an impact.
All comedy is based on truth. When comedians tell jokes that aren’t based on their own lives (if an accountant tries to tell rap jokes, honestly) it is rarely funny. It’s like listening to them sing in a key that’s not their own. It is uncomfortable, they look like they are in pain, we are definitely in pain hearing it. It is unpleasant and ineffective. But when they take the events, people, emotions of their own, real life, and make those things funny–THAT is funny, no matter who you are, and no matter what key you sing it in!
Keep in tune with your truth and you will always get a laugh. And “Get Your SHINE Together!”
Terrorism. Bloodshed. Car bombings. Armageddon. Anyone want to go to Israel with me for this week’s installment of Comedy Around the World? A hotbed of tourist and terrorist activity. You can put off this trip for the rest of your life, if you are waiting until it is a ’safe’ time to go. On the trip, that is…
These stereotypical impressions that I had about Israel show how humor can change our perspective. I didn’t encounter any terrorists, other than Saddam Hussein sending rockets into TelAviv. Again. Of course I was terrified, and especially at my mom’s fax telling me to come home immediately! But my host family’s mother had a different opinion about Saddam. “Oh, he is always doing that, trying to scare us. The news only shows the drama and violence. They never just show people eating a sandwich for lunch.” That is the more ‘typical’ Israel.
Score one for perspective transformation.
During the trip, I stayed at a kibbutz outside Nazareth. It was during Christmas season. Nazareth in December was vibrant with kitschy Christmas lights, dust-covered butcher shop signs, Arabs, noises, and–Frank Sinatra Park?? What was going on? This isn’t Israel, is it? Or is it Bayonne, New Jersey? I laughed to myself at my fear of what I’d find in Israel–the danger, the terror, the large donations made by American pop singers. Score two for perspective transformation.
December 31, 11:45 pm, and I was at Soweto, a reggae-type of dance club. This will be great, I thought. To celebrate the new year in this place, with the locals, in this interesting country! But as it got closer to midnight, no one was in any hurry to celebrate. Bob Marley was still singing, “No Woman, No Cry.” People were dancing, talking–but no one was counting down the new year!
Score three for perspective transformation, I thought, as the Scandinavian tourists at the next table explained the story to me. Israel’s New Year isn’t until sometime next Fall! To them, January 1st, 12:00:01 has absolutely no significance!
We can hold our viewpoint so tightly sometimes that we can’t see the truth of a situation. Luckily we have travel, to show us where we are wrong. To remind us that we are safe. And to let us tell others this truth. And, we can do this no matter where our ‘travels’ are–whether they are out of the country, a new route home from work, a trip to the store, or a walk in the woods. Our perspective is pliable. And it can be very, very funny.
“Get Your SHINE Together!” Where will YOU go?
Thank you Evan DeWitt, Sally Chopping, and theater director Adam Weiss for a great show tonight at Lincoln Hall in beautiful downtown
Foxburg PA. We had the best crowd we could have dreamed of!
“Get Your SHINE Together!” WE did!!
Just read an e-newsletter article by Jack Canfield. His advice was that one of the best things we can do in our lives is to change the way we react to negative feedback.
Using our sense of humor also gives us valuable feedback. Maybe the person listening to you didn’t get your joke. Solution: You can change your style of humor, simplify it, adapt it to his or her style of humor.
Maybe the person is offended. You just learned how far NOT to go with that person.
In the first case, you could have thought the person isn’t too intelligent. You are brilliant! Why didn’t he get my joke? And you would have stopped there. And your connection would have been severed. But instead, you didn’t take it personally. You just adapted to the situation until you found a way that the two of you could connect.
In the second case, you could have deemed the person too prudish or close-minded. And you would have stopped all connection. But instead, you realized that some people are more used to a certain boundary in their lives, including in their style of humor. You are ok, and so are they. You’ll know better next time.
Being funny isn’t just about getting laughs–although that is a worthy goal. It is about making a connection, proving your humanness, and building trust and credibility. When you use the feedback you get from your humor, you can begin to build those connections, and then you can help others to, “Get Your SHINE Together!”
So–you think you’re funny? Let us know!
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