Comedy can be serve as a preventive resilience. Think of the iconoclasts we women become at bachelorette parties. The satire, the irreverence, the release we’re given by making fun of the grave situation that will happen the next day: the wedding. Humor helps us through this trial and allows us to face the next step in our life journey.
Not everyone gets to have a wedding, but we all get to have–a funeral. The bottom line. The last straw. Where we re-evaluate not only the life of the deceased, but our own as well. (OK, maybe some of you are thinking, aren’t you talking about a wedding?)
This week’s Comedy Around the World travels through life itself, as I attended the funeral of my friend Becky. I saw how humor offers us resilience and relief. I realized with gratitude how much alike comedy and grieving actually are. They are both necessary and healing. Think of the comedy-tragedy two-for-one on those masks and trinkets you can get in Venice. (Italy, that is. Venice, California may have another type of tragedy, I don’t know, I’ve never been there.)
Becky was one of those witty people whose sometimes politically-incorrect remarks came at just the right time. At her funeral, her son-in-law told us funny stories, like how ‘angry’ Becky was that when he married her daughter, he made Becky a mother-in-law at age 41. That joke ran through their lifestories together, and became a call-back of sorts.
Don’t you just love those people who do that at funerals! They give us a release, a chance to laugh, to breathe, to forget about how sad we are, and remind us that we are still capable of laughter! Even in this most tragic of moments.
(I wish I were that tough today, but I wasn’t. I used up all 16 Kleenex I’d brought, and both my winter gloves. John Wayne I’m not. But at least I didn’t use my pants-leg. I was wearing a skirt.)
Humor healed me during this funeral, as I watched my friend’s grandson pick his nose and stare at all the people sitting behind him. He wasn’t being very polite! He wasn’t using good behavior!
But he was funny. And I needed and appreciated him for that.
Later, I told my friend, “I’m glad I didn’t have you guys for my babysitters: ’Come on, we’re going to a funeral!’ Where are you taking him next, to the dentist?” To which she replied, “No, we’re going to take him home and beat him!”
Now that was completely politically incorrect! Hurtful! Uncalled for! And you know what? We laughed about it. It was exactly what we needed to shake us out of our grief, our suffering, our despair. A nice, safe joke wouldn’t do at this time.
I told other people about our new ‘joke’, and they laughed. This led to us talking about other funny and good memories of Becky as we ate scalloped potatoes at the dinner following. This time without tears.
(One comic says that no matter who you are, everyone’s life ends with someone eating potato salad. In my denomination, it’s scalloped potatoes. We are reformed.)
We had traveled through our grief by way of our humor. Thank you, Becky, for helping us all to, “Get Your SHINE Together!” in this life and into the next!
This just in from the newsletter by Ben Dean. Ph.D., whose ‘Coaching Toward Happiness’ programs teach about positive thinking. Incidentally, he has a free teleconference workshop Dec. 1st, visit http://www.mentorcoach.com/coaching-Q&A/index.htm for more info!
Dean speaks about creativity, saying that it must be ‘complete’ in order to be truly creative. “Like all strengths, creativity exists on a continuum…[but] In order for an idea or product to be considered creative, it typically has to be complete.”
For me as a comic, this continuum exists as an energy level: Some days I am or feel much more creative than I do on other days. When we’re talking about comedy and humor, there is no real urgent need for completeness. By this I mean that any humorous insights you have can be instantaneous, impulsive, and–even incomplete. But you can still reap the benefits of humor and laughter. This completeness that Dean speaks of smacks of the perfectionism that I try very hard to overcome and even–I hope–successfully prevent.
Nevertheless, I heartily agree with Dean when he says that, “People are much less creative when they are under time pressure, when they are being scrutinized and judged by others, and when external circumstances limit the range of options available. In contrast, creativity is encouraged by environments that are supportive, reinforcing, open, and casual.”
Yes! Yes! Yes!
When we are too focused on perfection. When we have too many responsibilities and too little time. When we are judged for our performance. Then we cannot, or can barely, be as creative as we can or need to be. This is very true in comedic circles, and true in any area of life.
When we learn how to, “Get Your SHINE Together!” we can create a safe environment where creativity, lightness–and fun–can all coexist peacefully and we can be much more productive.
I read one of Darren LaCroix’s newsletters from www.humor411.com In it, Darren talks about how he actually used his failures to find what his ‘real’ dream was. I included his story here, because his is a great example of keeping a sense of humor, even when things aren’t so funny at the time: Darren writes,
“Before comedy, I tried acting. Although I did a few commercials and a “B” movie I was not very successful. Thank Goodness! I may never had tried stand-up.
As I worked my “day job” and pursued my dream of being a comedian, I found Toastmasters as a place to make mistakes and work on my stand-up. I didn’t join Toastmasters to be a speaker. I didn’t know there was such a thing!
Notice that I thought my dream was to be a comedian. It was making people laugh and earning a living at it. For me, although I achieved the level of “middle act” at best, many would never say that I was successful as a comedian. Depends how you look at it.
Literally, I was able to accomplish it, but I never became a headliner on the circuit. Another failure that I’m thankful for. I never felt like I really belonged there.
My true dream was to make people laugh and earn a living at it. Being a comedian was a crucial part of my journey to find my “Bigger Dream.” Educating and inspiring using humor was what I truly desired. I give thanks everyday for the life I have, though there were a multitude of times when I felt like giving up.”
So no matter whether you fail or succeed, you can still, “Get Your SHINE Together!”
And it’s the first Thanksgiving for baby Michael. He may just be my youngest fan, born six hours after hearing my comedy show from his seat in the womb.
Some comics revel in making people nauseaus during their show.
I may just be the first comic whose humor made someone go into labor.
I should have called weeks ago. A lunch/coffee meeting with someone who wanted to meet and talk about comedy, comics, and other program ideas. I did plan on calling. Several times, I had told myself, “By next week I will have time to call.”
Then yesterday I did call his workplace to return his call about our meeting. The secretary hesitated, then told me, ”He isn’t here. He was killed in a car crash a week ago.”
Yes, I know, great comedy, huh, folks? Isn’t this supposed to be a humor site? The shock of that news, coupled with the realization about first impressions hit me hard. Because that person was someone who made an interesting and memorable first impression. Not only because he had recently played a character onstage that was similar to the Steve Martin/Dan Akroyd “Wild And Crazy Guys” Czech brothers.
But because at the cast party he was so appreciative of the new friends he’d made in the play. He made everyone in the room happy about their contribution to his life. I had known him less than a month, and now don’t have the chance to learn more.
Our world is operating at what at times seems the speed of light. We have to catch up, keep up, stay on track, and advance faster and faster. We expect everything NOW. Fast service, quick technology, and even quicker results.
The problem is that our expectations of people are also instantaneous. Most people don’t have time–or energy–to think, “He probably had a bad day. I won’t take his comments personally.”
Instead, they’ll make an instant evaluation of how we appear to them, how we treat them. If we can make humor a lifestyle, it will be automatic. Seamless. Instantaneous. We will make that first impression that can lead to people wanting to learn more about us.
Thank you, Jack, for that message and lesson you gave us. You were someone who helped all of us to, “Get Your SHINE Together!”
I was re-reading a blog entry from Scott the Nametag Guy (www.hellomynameisscott.com) “Marketing and Dating Are the Exact Same Thing”.
Scott talks about the Law of Attraction and of timing. He claims that the old methods of selling and promotion don’t work. “Not in a culture where the average person is exposed to over 3000 advertising messages a day. Not in a world where you only have a few seconds to make a first impression. And not in a business environment where people buy people first.”
What better movitavion do we have to use our sense of humor than this?
Think about it:
If you have trained yourself to see the humor in everyday events, you will:
1. Be in a better mood.
2. Be seen as a happy, approachable person who is easy to talk to.
3. Be seen as someone who is not easily offended.
4. Be seen as someone who would appreciate the newest joke without being offended.
5. Be seen as someone who doesn’t take yourself so seriously.
This is the persona that others see and that others are attracted to. It has less to do with your clothing style, your table manners, or your hairstyle and shoes. It has everything to do with how WE make THEM feel. And if WE feel our sense of humor, THEY will feel better being around us.
Let me ask ya this–do you want to “Get Your SHINE Together!”?
From my friend from Pittsburgh NSA, Barbara Thompson:
I will be on Fox and Friends tomorrow morning (Tuesday) about 7:45 AM
Eastern time. I will be debating the Canadian government’s ruling that
morbidly obese people who are disabled by their weight be allowed to
have 2 seats while paying for only one. I am of course in favor of
it. Here is information about the ruling
http://www.canada. com/theprovince/ story.html? id=977633. I hope you can tune in.
Author and Speaker on obesity sensitivity and weight loss surgery
I’m excited to post this billboard featuring my friends Bill and Paula. They are fellow alumni from The Kill Point–the SPIKE TV series that starred Donnie Wahlberg and John Leguizamo. And us. So if you’re driving into Pittsburgh from 28, just look up!
I just read a blog entry by David L. Holzer at www.dojonoshugo.blogspot.com and was motivated to use his pattern of comparisons. He compared martial arts ‘what ifs’ with insurance ‘what ifs’. He also talked about “shugo”. “Shugo is the concept of protection. It is the peace of mind that you gain knowing that you can protect yourself and your loved ones through action.”
I thought: That’s exactly what our sense of humor does for us–protects us. From stress. From taking ourselves too seriously. From taking offense so easily.
And I thought about his ’what ifs’ in terms of today’s Comedy Around The World segment.
Travel ‘what ifs’:
* What if you don’t have a reservation?
* What if you don’t know where you are?
* What if you run out of money, supplies, energy?
* What if you don’t speak the language?
* What if you just want to go home?
* What if you don’t want to go home?
Humor ‘what ifs’:
* What if your sense of humor allowed you to be at peace with your surroundings?
* What if your sense of humor allowed you to be comfortable with the unknown?
* What if your sense of humor allowed you to be human and not perfect?
* What if your sense of humor gave you an approachability and likeability that drew safe people to you? What if we spoke the same ‘language’ of humor, regardless of which language we speak?
* What if your sense of humor made you at ease no matter where you are?
* What if your sense of humor helped you to handle your daily life more easily, more pleasantly, and with more fun?
What if you read a blog that inspired you to see the connection of humor in your daily life? What would you do? “Get Your SHINE Together!”, perhaps?????????
Take a look at my site for fund-raising for the Achilles Track Club, a running program for disabled athletes. Read the story here!
« Previous entries