I was talking with my friend Rob last night. He told me about an experience he had in LA on Sunset Boulevard (Sunset Strip? I don’t know LA; I only know PA). Wanting to fulfill his dream of doing stand-up, Rob walked into a comedy club for their amateur night. What he found was a shock.
Onstage, practicing some new material, was Robin Williams. His act was followed by J.J. (Dy-no-mite!) Walker. Then Billy Crystal took the stage. This was in the early days, when Robin Williams was just getting started, Rob told me. (I can almost hear Robin Williams say from the stage, “Oh, I’m just gettin’ started!”…)
Rob said, “At that point, I didn’t even want to go onstage. How can you follow someone like that??!!”
And so, he didn’t take his chance while he was in LA.
Rob is one of the funniest, most clever people I have met in a very long time. He’s a joy to be around, because he brightens the room with his skewed outlook and his off-beat comments. Someone at our meeting asked, “I wasn’t able to be here last time; what did I miss at the last meeting?”
Rob replied, in a serious tone, “We raffled off a Lexus. And those people who jumped out of the cake–whoa!” Everyone was laughing, mainly because we weren’t expecting that kind of reply.
But that’s Rob’s gift–he’s not only funny, he knows exactly WHEN to be funny. And it works. Every time.
Not everyone will like us, personally. There are some people who are wonderful–but not wonderful for us.
We don’t click, and we never will. But that’s no reason to stop being yourself, or to stop living your values.
In the same vein, just because someone may be funnier than you are, that’s no reason to stop using your sense of humor. You can’t please everyone, all the time, and you can’t make everyone laugh, all the time. (Unless you are Rob; but I am partial, because he’s a friend of mine. Other people may think he’s an idiot).
“Get Your SHINE Together!” even if you have a tough act to follow. Because to some people YOU are a tough act to follow!
Want To Be Featured On Our Show Wired Outdoors??” I am a fan of the show Wired Outdoors. I’m WIRED, are you? Become a fan today - www.facebook.com/wiredoutdoors”
Here’s a note from my friend Jason Say, about his hunting and outdoors TV show: Want To Be Featured On Our Show Wired Outdoors??Share
Wed at 9:43am
Let me start out by saying thank you to everyone who has already signed up on our Facebook Fan page! We appreciate your support. In an effort to spread the word we are asking for your help and in return, we are going to feature 13 of our awesome Facebook Fans on our tv show Wired Outdoors this fall. Pretty cool, huh?
The most important thing we are asking is that you help by spreading the word to all your friends about the show. We would like you to put in your status update - ” I am a fan of the show Wired Outdoors. I’m WIRED, are you? Become a fan today - www.facebook.com/wiredoutdoors”
For those of you who have “Wired Outdoors” clothing and hats, we are asking that you post your photos in our Fan Page photo section. If you don’t have any t-shirts or hats, you can order them by visiting our website at www.SportsmenPortal.com and click on Apparel. We have a few folks already posting their photos!
Make sure you let us know that you are interested in being featured on the show! Only two more months left until the show airs nationwide. Thanks again for all your support!!!
Tonight I went running with my dog along the railroad tracks that had been lifted. Dirt and cinder had filled to overflowing with the constant rain we got today. The best time to run!
My dog is one of those big, chocolate labs; not one of those fussy kinds you have to take to the hairdresser. If this dog gets dirty, you can just take the garden hose to him. That’s the best kind to have!
Some of the puddles filled the entire trail. I had to tramp down the trees and plants along the sides in order to not get my shoes too wet. The dog just ran straight through.
Occasionally I would see ground in the middle of the path, or rocks, so I knew where I could safely step. The dog ran straight through the water. Tail wagging.
I wondered why I was being so careful: My shoes were already soaking wet. What was I trying to prove?
Comedy is like that too. We are sometimes afraid to joke around with strangers, or add humor to our speeches, our meetings, our conversations with telemarketers. We step lightly and timidly, trying to keep our shoes perfectly dry. But it will always be raining, at some time.
Wouldn’t it be much more fun to just run straight for the water, and wag your tail in delight?
That’s what I say to people who really try really really hard to get laughs. They think that’s what it’s all about. I tell them to stop it (I don’t need the competition), and do something else (that will bring better results.)
Laughs are about YOU and how the audience perceives you–as a person, a comic, a creative artist, a human being. When you are focused on laughs rather than on communicating your ideas, you get hooked on the results. Results that may or may not happen.
A better tack is to focus on THEM. No, not Van Morrison’s former band, but your audience. Or, anyone who is orbiting around you at any point during the day. The goal is not to convince them to like you; that takes a lot of energy.
Your goal is to make them like themselves. Make them feel great about themselves when they are around YOU. You can be the catalyst to helping them feel great, but you can’t do it if you are focused on yourself and your laughs (or lack of them).
Just read Scott the Nametag Guy’s blog entry about entrepreneurship. He writes that wanting balance is a bad thing. A better aim, Scott suggests, is alignment.
Humor revels in being off balance. In being comfortable in the limbo of experience, words, feelings, and images. That’s where creativity thrives. Off-balance means we can grab what’s there and mix and match with something else. Without aiming for patterns or perfection.
How off-balance are YOU today?
Comedy Around The World today goes to Virginia Beach on a family vacation.
After many hours driving in our tan station wagon from Pennsylvania to Virginia Beach, my family was enlightened. We had listened to hundreds of repetitions of Billy Joel’s two albums on 8 track (it was a double album). We could recite verbatim “My Life,” “Italian Restaurant,” and “Only The Good Die Young.” But what we really wanted to do was see the beach. Oh sure, we love Erie, but we wanted a change of scenery.
We took our rafts and mats and flotation devices and frolicked in the waves. Suddenly, a huge wave started rolling towards us. My parents and brothers and sister were all scared for me, “Hold your breath, because you’re going to go under water when this wave hits!” They knew I was the fragile and sickly one. (In fact my brother’s nickname for me was “skinny-on-the-beach.” I wouldn’t mind having that nickname now, but back then it meant I was defenseless. Weak. Unable to conquer the forces of nature that lay in the ocean.)
I knew I was a gonner. Just as I knew I probably spelled gonner wrong when I typed it. The only strategy I had available to me was to surrender to the wisdom of the waves. In essence, I gave up; I knew there was no fighting the ocean. If I drowned, at least I would drown knowing all the lyrics to Billy Joel’s two newest albums.
As the wave hit, a strange thing happened. I wasn’t under water. The wave hadn’t done anything to me. But everyone else went under. And they were surprised!
Their strong will, fear and determination to fight or at least avoid the wave hadn’t worked. Their tack operated just like perfectionism does in our daily lives. Our strong will sometimes tries to force solutions where the better course would be to surrender to the wave of the moment.
That’s what Scott the Nametag Guy asks in one of his recent blogs. His point: Make failure an option.
That’s why I play 2nd Fiddle in the orchestra of life. When we are not afraid to fail, we are free to be ourselves–our natural, humorous selves.
“Get Your SHINE Together!” and make some mistakes today!
How do YOU make failure an option in your life? Share your experiences here.
On Tuesday while I was driving home I saw a deer walk slowly across the road. I stopped just in time to watch its two little white-spotted fawns run across the road not far behind.
Another car was coming toward me. Its driver stopped, too.
And for that one brief moment, we both smiled at this aberration in our day. This speck of time carried with it a lightness. Made us forget instantly about whatever was troubling us at the time. This wildlife display would become a touchstone we could carry throughout our day.
The good news is that we can create these moments without having to wait for gun-shy wildlife to cross our paths or run into our car on the interstate. We can use humor as that touchstone. Not harsh humor, though. Just like the deer didn’t run into our cars. Instead, the deer walked slowly, purposefully, and meaningfully across the township road of our minds.
Humor that is mild, controlled and meaningful like this can be our touchstone, too.
“Get Your SHINE Together!” and get out on the road today!
During the filming last Saturday of the Kurt Angle (and Nick Nolte) movie, “Warrior,” I ran into another extra, James. We had been extras in the Eric Roberts film, “Shannon’s Rainbow.” We talked about the filming on this movie, and the experience of being an extra. I learned more about James, and found out that he is a math professor.
While we were talking, the the assistant director asked someone to pick a number at random. He was giving away prizes to the extras, as a bonus for all their hard work. And probably so they did not riot during all the down time.
James casually added, “People can’t pick a random number.”
I said, “What do you mean? It was a different number than the last ones that were picked.”
He said, “We can’t ever be truly random. We want and we seek patterns.”
I thought about his comment for a while. Mainly because I had no idea what he meant, but also I thought I could turn it into a blog post somehow. It was too profound to just leave it alone.
We do seek patterns: when we are having a bad day, we almost WANT to and NEED to see things negatively. There is a certain satisfaction in that mode of thinking, on particular days, and for particular people.
Julie Norem said this very well in her book, “The Positive Power of Negative Thinking.” If you tell someone to, “Have a bright and sunshiny day!” some people will do just that. But the other half of the population will hate you for saying such a stupid and meaningless thing.
We can equally set the pattern of our day to humor: we can look at things as not just random happenstances occurring throughout our day. We can see them as a backdrop for a life lived lite.
We can literally train our minds to see the pattern of humor, to in effect see through the lens of lightness.
There really is no randomness, get it? Now, “Get Your SHINE TogetheR!”
During the Warrior movie filming, we were to chant for all three fighters–Tommy, Brandon, and Koba, the Russian fighter played by Kurt Angle. I yelled as loudly as I could, and it hurt! I was using my normal soprano-range voice, but it didn’t sound like the other people’s cheering. Theirs was low and controlled, like the white noise created by crowds I’ve heard on radio and TV.
Gradually, I lowered my voice to match the tone of the other extras’ chanting. Once I did that, I noticed something fascinating: It wasn’t painful anymore, to do or to listen to! I was in the groove, in the flow with the others and together we created the atmosphere of support for each of the fighters.
This phenomenon is similar to an article on mantras that I saw in Yoga Journal’s online magazine. When we say, chant, sing, or sound-out a certain sound, it has meaning. When we collectively come into unison with others while making the sound, we create a unity, a shared vision.
We can also do this by creating a humorous environment. We can bring everyone into the same tone of thinking, the same timbre of goodwill. In doing that, we will be more likely to reach a common goal–helping everyone to, “Get Your SHINE Together!”
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