Comedy, honesty and love
"Bad improv” or “bad standup”. Was it "bad" because it was coming from a hateful or hurtful place only? If so, it probably wasn’t super funny. In improvisation, we play the love in the scene to make it interesting for the audience and for our scene mates.
"Playing the love" doesn't mean that relationships in the scene have to be passionate or sexual - in this case it means being honest and present, coming from a place of being human with the understanding that we are all connected. For example, despite crappy things that someone else can say to you, you recognize that it's not the person that's crappy. You're able to see the humanity in the person saying crappy things to you.
"Playing the love" means you're able to recognize your own ego - the part of you that is ALWAYS trying to protect your sense of self-importance - in a situation and poke fun at that self-importance, decreasing it's power.
All of us know what it's like to try to retain our self-importance in a situation we have no control over, because we all have egos. Egos can limit our connection to others in an effort to self-protect because it is difficult to both be truly present and self-protective at the same time.
A comedian can express anger, hurt, hate, frustration, and a range of negative emotions in their work. Audience expects that! If the emotions are tied to a truth that is universally understood and experienced, and the comedian's intent is to share the humor in that situation, then that comedian is sharing love with the audience. An audience will respond well to that “love”.
In contrast, the majority of an audience may respond negatively to work that is void of that love. If the work is void of love, it’s selfish work for that artist, and that artist is disconnected to his/her humanity, to the sense of self that is universally connected to all living things. For example, the comedian who chooses to only be self-deprecating is limiting his ability to emit a sense of connectedness and laughter from the audience. The audience doesn’t want to be reminded of the parts of them that “suck” just to have someone on a stage talk about how much those same parts suck.
An audience wants to laugh – laughter is GREAT medicine. Make people laugh by tying human nature (including the parts of us that we think “suck”) and the sense of humor available to all living beings with the truth: We’re all in this together, and it’s funny, and WE DON’T “suck” – the situations might, but we don’t suck! Share your complete lack of control with your external environment, share your turmoil in battling that, in accepting that you can only control yourself – and share how HUMAN you were in that moment of reaction. That moment of reaction came from a very honest, very real place of being present. People can relate to that truth.
Take the truth out of the box that hides our attitudes, insecurities, fears, and feelings and use it as a reminder that we’re all the same – we all have these experiences and it is okay to have these experiences! Allow it to be OK to see the humor in all situations. Allow situations to be teachers. Allow this idea: “People don’t suck – situations do.” People enjoy humor that will elevate – they need the reminder that life is supposed to be fun.
The adult in us wants to control our environment; we want to control ourselves and our reactions to other people and our reactions to our environment. There is humor in realizing we have no such control. There’s humor in being humbled. There’s humor in the way we react to our immediate reactions to stimuli.
We crave childlike moments. Comedy helps reconnect us to the child we once were before expectations and responsibility set in. Comedy reminds us to have a sense of humor, to explore our spaces without responsibility, to be present without worry. Comedy is difficult for many actors because many actors are too self-conscious, and/or are unable to be present and let go of their own ego that limits or judges them.
Allow me to love you.
If you feel like you indeed are disconnected to your own humanity but you’re fearful of losing your sense of creativity….
Know that comedy is one of your gifts – it brings you a sense of purpose
Admit that connecting to your own inner truth by becoming a healthier version of yourself - including limiting the power that your ego has over you - is the first step to finding your funnier self and empowering better comedy.
Depression prevents us from being present to pick up on humor in any situation
Depression prevents us from being truly present and open to new material
Depression limits our power, sense of self, and the ability to connect to an audience
Recognize that from here on in, you will be able to use many examples of your experiences along the way to fuel your comedy – comedy that will connect to a broader audience.
Don’t be afraid to lose your creativity in the process of learning ways to connect.
This is just an excuse to be lazy
It’s fine to have lazy moments in the process, but be brave too!
There’s bravery in getting up onstage to perform, and there’s bravery in the journey towards the truth, towards enlightenment, towards connectedness.
Tools like yoga and meditation help you to connect to your mind and body and breath.
Kundalini yoga is a tool that can be used to help heal your addictions – including the addiction for pain and depressive thoughts – and tap into your true creative power.
Google kundalini yoga! It’s the yoga of awareness that allows you access to your higher self and heightened creativity.
I’m excited to be a vessel for instruction of kundalini yoga (as taught by Yogi Bhajan), and the study of it over the last nine months is the main reason why I’ve taken time off from pursuing acting projects. The journey into the self – into your soul – is fascinating, beautiful and necessary for a connected life that you can navigate with humor.
I love you, and I want you to love you too. I want you to understand the depths of true comedic material waiting to burst through you, so you can share your talents with the world.