Laughing and Learning

I’ve always been a huge fan of comedy. I love the feeling of laughing and even more so love making people laugh. I remember being little and sneaking into another room on Saturday nights to watch “Saturday Night Live” when staying at my grandpa’s house. He thought it wasn’t exactly the best thing for a 6-year-old to be watching but these were the days of Mike Meyers, Chris Farley and Will Ferrell. I might as well been watching the best cartoons ever because they all put their all into every sketch.

In high school and college, I took improv and wrote sketches for different shows I was in. I loved being able to write sketches and use them as an outlet for my creativity. When I applied to my college, I even ended up applying as a Screenwriting major because I wanted to be the next Tina Fey – before she was considered cool. But after spending a summer following my motorsports columnist father around, I switched my major to Marketing Communications/Public Relations so I could one day work in motorsports public relations.

About a year ago I started taking improv classes at the Comedy Zone in Charlotte, N.C. I took classes in improv before but never like this where everyone in the class was an adult. It was awesome! Unfortunately, I have only done one round of classes thus far but plan on taking classes again as soon as possible.

The Comedy Zone hosts various stand-up comedians from around the world monthly. Last week, I was able to go with some friends to see one of my favorite comedians, Lynn Koplitz.

With a sharp tongue and a unique sense of humor, her jokes about life and people are simply hilarious. Throughout her set, she would “teach” the audience humorous facts about life through various observations. And every single one of these observations were 100-percent correct.

When I first began gaining an interest in improv, I purchased a book written by i.O. (Improv Olympic) in Chicago’s founders, Charna Halpern and Del Close.

The book called, “Truth In Comedy” is essentially a manual for first time improvisers. It discusses various improv games, techniques and more. The key to all of improv is simple: agreeing on a truth. The truth is on-stage agreement between performers. Without that truth, jokes don’t work and the audience just feels uncomfortable.

I’ve always tried to look for the humor in life. I’m the person who goes through a bad situation who not only looks for the positive side of things but the humorous side of things. The truth about life is the worst things to deal with can be easier to deal with if you have a sense of humor and look for the positive.

I guess you could say I approach life with an improv performer’s mindset but hey; who wants to be down about the bad things forever? Sometimes you just need to smile.

I think Bob Newhart said it best by saying, “Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.”

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