Learning from stand-up comedy: lessons for life
Most people think that professional stand-up comedians are depressed or jaded individuals who use dysfunctionality to drive their art. My view is otherwise – but either way, I believe that we can learn a great deal about how to deal with life from observing their methods. Let’s look first at the qualities for which stand-up comedians are admired, to see what inspiration this offers.
Life lessons from comedy:
a 12 step programme:
- Don’t begrudge your laughter.
- Take life less seriously. Take yourself less seriously. Take your problems less seriously
- Be yourself – a unique individual with a very particular take on life, and style of living. Accept that you’re imperfect. Let people know the real you.
- Take risks – risk failure, risk ridicule, risk being wrong. Think: \’what’s the worst that can happen? Distinguish between seriously worrying possibilities (spouse leaving you, bankruptcy, death) and trivial matters (looking stupid, not being sexy, not being liked)
- If people think you’re an idiot and laugh at what you say, pretend you meant it to be funny and that you’re in charge. That’s how comedian’s start out.
- Enjoy being the centre of attention from time to time. Perform a little (but not all the time – that’s fatal).
- Don’t try too hard at being funny.
- Be sensitive to what’s going on around you; connect with people; notice how they are affected by what you say and do; develop this sensitivity into an instinctive habit. Learn ongoingly from this, just as comedian’s continuously develop their material and their delivery.
- Recognise the power of the present moment – don’t overly dwell on the past or obsess about the future.
- Try to see the funny side of life. Accept that life involves upsets, challenges and disasters, and that comedy can sometimes help process these.
- Develop your \’comedian’s mind’ – look at things differently, make unconventional observations, not following formulaic thinking.
- Laugh at yourself, not others – but don’t do serious self-deprecation.