WHAT IS COMEDY?
Comedy is the lack of dead silence after a funny line is delivered.
Philosophers have long queried “if a joke fails in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” This really doesn’t concern you because philosophers have absolutely no sense of humor. Socrates’ stand-up was so bad they made him drink Hemlock.
If something is funny somebody laughs.
It’s as simple as that. If you laugh, it’s funny. No matter what it is. Even if you didn’t mean to — especially if you didn’t mean to. You cannot undo a laugh. And on occasion you have to stifle one.
Personally, I take a perverse joy at making people laugh at subjects they normally wouldn’t laugh at. Comedy is a powerful thing. Tyrants have been brought down with a funny punch line. But then, comics have been brought down with a good punch. Just make sure what you’re saying is so funny it’s worth taking that punch.
Anyone can be funny!
This is true with the sole exception of Herman Q. Pulldecker, a certified public accountant who lives in Bowbells, North Dakota. For all the rest of you there is hope.
Everybody doesn’t have the same sense of humor.
We all laugh at different things. My caught-it-in-my-zipper moment may be hysterically funny to you, but not so funny to me. The French think Jerry Lewis is a comedic genius.
Know your audience.
Scope out your audience before you go for the laughs. Some folks are verbal, some are physical, some are witty, some are witless.
The same goes for business.
Know your client, buyer, boss or listeners before you open your mouth. Your pitch, promotion, or persuasion has to match their profile in personality and business. If it doesn’t, know that they are flexible enough to be open to change.
Mark Twain said, “Never teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”
Comedy is a personal thing.
Tailor your comedy to suit your audience. Like a good con man matches his sting to his mark. It’s a case of different jokes for different folks. Comedy has to match your client.
Comedy can be anything.
It can be a joke, a clever retort, a bon mot, an interesting story, an observation, a pun, a play on words, an absurdity, a situation, a funny face, a prat fall, spinach in your teeth, a burp, a silly hat, or wax lips. The last four are better suited for burlesque than business but you never know.
Comedy is all around you. Pay Attention!
Comedy is omnipresent. It’s right there staring back at you in your bathroom mirror every morning, it’s in your mismatched sock drawer, in your Starbucks super-duper Venti skim milk Latte Frappe, in your local newspaper and on AM, FM, and XM radio, in your delightfully expressive traffic utterances, in your interoffice memos, at your presentations, at your coffee breaks and luncheon meetings, after work, at play, especially during hot monkey sex, in your pajamas, and even in your dreams. All you have to do is see it, tap into it, and not be afraid to cop to it.
Primitive man, when blissfully unaware of his surroundings, wound up as a dinosaur’s happy meal. So pay attention!
Comedy is trying your very best to be serious, and failing.
Howard the Duck, Ishtar, and Leonard Part 6 almost succeeded.
Michael Chain www.michaelchain.com
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