Comedian

Comedian: (n) an entertainer whose act is designed to make an audience laugh

If you tell a couple of jokes at several parties in a row, you’ll start hearing your friends proclaim, “You could be a comedian!”

And when you bashfully turn your head, they insist, “No, no! You could do stand-up.”

There comes a time in everyone’s life when we prove our worth by knowing how little we are.

I’ve been funny all my life. I know how to make people laugh. That does not make me a comedian.

That makes me lucky.

That makes me interesting.

Sometimes it even makes me valuable.

But to sustain a routine which continually makes people laugh is truly a masterful gift.

Even though I, myself, would not want to try stand-up comedy, I have taken the time to study it quite thoroughly. It has three major ingredients:

  1. You have to be willing to insult people because you’ve already insulted yourself.
  2. You need to be overcoming something and not afraid to talk about it in vivid or even gross detail.
  3. You need to insert just enough pathos and emotion that the audience is breathless to hear more.

Now, if you think a mere amateur can pull off these things, you should go out and sign up for open mic night–at your local pizza place.

 

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Clown

Clown: (n) a comic entertainer

There are actually three types of clowns, offering varying degrees of danger.

Yes–clowns are dangerous. They forewarn of outrageous comedy but soon become common, needing to push the envelope, opening the
door to all sorts of excesses.

Clown 1: Often referred to as the “class clown,” although he or she can be quite classless.

This is a person who feels it is their job to bring a giggle, even if a sigh or tears is required. He or she is quite angry if you suggest that the insertion of levity is poorly timed. And God forbid that you would ever try to take away their First Amendment right to be funny. After all, what gives us the authority to determine what is comical as opposed to offensive? (Wait! Isn’t that what being mature is all about?)

Clown 2: The Classic Clown, wearing a red nose and floppy shoes, to warn those around him or her of a calamity of errors, which is supposed to be interpreted through the slapstick antics, as side-splitting.

Physical comedy is an instinct to laugh at another human’s pain. When stated that way, people wrinkle their brow and suggest that you’re an old fuddy-duddy.

Clowns have to work too hard to get the job done. This would be similar to a fire-fighter attending a backyard barbecue just in case a three-alarm blaze might break out.  And finally…

Clown 3: These are the people in government, religion and business who have discovered they have gotten away with some egregious action, and nobody has stopped them, so they continue their path of errancy, adding on boxes of insult to the shipment of injury.

“Since I got by with THAT, and nobody challenged me, I wonder if I can do THIS.”

These clowns are particularly annoying because they don’t sit in a classroom, nor do they wear fright wigs. (Well, at least most of them don’t.) What they do is fit in–while not fitting in at all.

They take a code of ethics and turn it into a paper airplane, which they toss through the air to prove how free-wheeling they truly are.

They question values which have proven to be gold, and pretend they are nothing but yellow bricks.

As you can see, all three clown roles seem to have more drawbacks than positive contributions. Yet we continue to allow them to exist under the canopy, “we all need to laugh.”

Actually, we all need good cheer, which means most of the time, if we’re going to mature, we should be laughing at ourselves, not at the pratfalls of others or the decimation of common sense.

 

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Box

Box: (n) a container with a flat base and sides, typically square or rectangular

There are several phrases I do not like.Dictionary B

Actually I despise them so much that I scold myself when I use them.

  • “You’re stupid.”
  • “I hate you.”
  • “You don’t get it.”
  • “You’re a foolish asshole.”

Well, I could go on.

But one of my least favorite–a thought that makes my skin crawl–is when people turn to me and say, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

I know they’re really not interested.

I know they’ve sized me up and they’re trying to figure out what box they want to put me in.

They want things simple.So they have a system of storing people away so that their decisions are neat, tidy and final. If you don’t fit into one of their boxes they will decide that you’re a misfit or a rebellious anarchist.

They’re listening for buzz words.

About ten years ago, someone asked me about my occupation. I explained that I was a writer but also a performer. So they said, “Are you a teacher? A storyteller? A philosopher? Or an entertainer?”

Then they smiled, waiting for me to climb into their box.

My response was, “Well, really all of those and more.”

This was displeasing to them. They shook their head and walked away.

Mankind is ready to build a box for you.

They will encourage you, praise you, instruct you, guide you and applaud you until you get inside one of their pre-prepared cartons.

And once you do … you will never be heard of again.

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Audience

Audience: (n) the assembled spectators or listeners at a public event, such as a play, movie, concert, or meeting.

dictionary with letter A

You may speculate that they are spectators, but the word “audience” literally means that they are there to listen.

As listeners, they are not compelled to feed your ego nor respond to your whim.

If the person sharing is not willing to communicate clearly, or provide a balance of entertainment and inspiration, then he should be prepared for the audience to take its ears elsewhere.

That’s a simple fact.

After many, many years of sharing, performing, presenting, or whatever word you prefer, in front of hundreds of thousands of human souls, I will tell you that I have never come across any gathering that did all the work for me.

Some are friendlier, and some are like a Wells Fargo safe which has to be cracked meticulously in order to find the treasures within.

With the introduction of YouTubes and Internet blogs, there are many fledgling artists who think that having ten thousand “likes” or a million hits is a passage to success.

It is not.

There are three things that tell you that you’ve reached your audience:

  1. Do they get quiet when they’re supposed to get quiet?

Noisy is easy. Getting people quiet is an art.

  1. Do they want more of what you have and are they willing to commit either their time or money to confirm that devotion?

It is a fickle day we live in. The 24-hour news cycle has turned the American attention span and the allegiance of the American audience into the actions of a housefly at a July 4th picnic.

  1. Are they leaving the performance, lecture or interaction a little different than when they came in?

America is desperately searching for answers, while simultaneously pretending that such data is unnecessary.

Solve a problem–save a soul.

It’s really that easy. 

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