Chasing A Dream
In pursuit of a stand up comedy dream, I am juggling four jobs … corporate comedian, defensive driving instructor, girls’ volleyball referee, and driving for Uber/Lyft. Slightly stressful to say the least. However, I look forward to discovering new stories every day.
A drunk Uber rider (there are a lot), a ridiculous yet hilarious question in my class, or even an occasional unruly crowd at the junior high volleyball match can set up a new thought-provoking “What’s wrong with this picture?” comedy journey for potential stage material.
It is unbelievably calming at just the right moment. Taking the minute or two to analyze, for instance, not only the Who but the Why and the various potential outcomes to me is absolutely hilarious.
I freely admit that a lot of my material is rather personal. It revolves around my health and my family, not to mention the people I meet.
Those jokes are usually longer-form stories I share with an audience, sprinkled with one-liners that are often exaggerated to the point of ridiculous. What, you thought comedy was easy? lol It’s amazing how many individuals actually believe that a comedian simply walks onstage and starts talking. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What Is Your Truth?
And while we’re on the subject of truth … great comics utilize their “truth” as the basis of some of their most memorable bits. It’s the old saying, “It’s funny because its true”.
And I’ve said it a million times … there is a problem at the root of every joke, and a target for every punchline (what or who you laugh at or about). The safest humor? Self-deprecating, as in this example: Todd Justice – Worn Out
In order for a joke to work and be funny, something has to go or be wrong. For example: You’re at home and you look outside your front window. A man walking down the sidewalk is not funny. But a man walking down the sidewalk who suddenly trips for no apparent reason and falls down is unfortunately hilarious.
As long as that person was not seriously injured, it’s hard to stifle a chuckle, at the very least. It’s the old saying, “It’s all fun and games (is funny), until someone loses a finger.” Or perhaps one of a million different other versions of that old cliche.
Stay The Course!
People often do and/or say things without much thought as to how it looks or sounds to others. Their statements, phrases and questions may not make a lot of sense or even be slightly hurtful. And experienced comics have extremely thick skin.
This allows a stand up comedian to bypass the expected reaction and move on quickly to a “That’s funny” mindset, while staying focused on the present task at hand. Material is all around us, and most of the time the hardest part for a comic is remembering the details of the event hours or even days later.
Then again that’s what notebooks or digital recorders are for. That’s another comedy lesson I learned long ago: Write it down! I know this because it’s my job. Well … one of them.