The worst thing about comedians is that when you laugh, you can sometimes miss the next joke. It’s funny that a comedian uses the same words as we do every day but when they say it, we laugh. Why is that?

I mean, I was watching a guy push a pram the other day and I noticed something very peculiar. He wasn’t pushing it from behind, he was standing off to one side, as if, just in case someone asked, he could say… “what, who, oh this baby, nah, doesn’t belong to me”’, ‘Now I mentioned this to a comedian and he went off. Fifteen minutes later I recovered enough to stop laughing and put a gag on this guy. He had gone through the whole gamut of reasons why this guy would be pushing the pram off to one side…

“Well of course he would, wouldn’t you if you didn’t know how to change a diaper and you were downwind. Saves treading in it anyway. He was so lanky that he used to kick the baby every time he pushed the pram. One day he got back home and the baby was missing, found him hanging from a power wire. You should have seen the kids face light up when he saw his dad. Now when the kid blows a fuse, they get an electrician around to change him.”

Now when I say it, it sounds lame but this comedian just kept going and I laughed.

It’s like “I Say Tomayto, You Say Tomahto…” The printed word can leave a lot to the imagination. Inflection, accent and the like, all build into an intriguing story. Yet the printed word also offers the humor and funny stories. Lets face it, there are hundreds of funny books around.

I am coaching this guy, this comedian. Talk about a joke. “How do you tell a comedian that he’s funny?”

“You don’t, you just laugh at him.”

See, This guy is funny, mine always seem to fall flat…

“Not as flat as my sister, she’s so flat she wears a bra backwards”

This is how the coaching goes. I say something and he comes back with a one liner

He says he doesn’t mind offending anyone and that begs the question…”Why”

“To be racialist, sexist or anything-ist, you have to make one group seem better than another, so I offend everyone equally. That way I am politically incorrect to everyone and non discriminatory, everyone gets a serve.”

…and serve he does too, While there are Irishmen, there will always be an Irish joke and the same goes for every other race whatever their color, creed or religion.

He thinks I am an Australian, so he really goes to town.

“I can tell you are on the level,” he says to me, “you are dribbling out both sides of your mouth”

“That’s an Australian for you… always well balanced… comes from having a chip on both shoulders”

“Do you eat yoghurt?”

“No, can’t stand the stuff” I thought I might as well be honest

“Yeah, I can tell, you haven’t got any culture whatsoever”

I could start to get a complex here, with all these comments but offence is something that he would love.

He brings up so many good points in his conversations that despite all his joking around, there is a message. (If you can hear it above the laughter) We tend to think of jokes as just something to laugh at when we are in a good mood. In a bad mood, everything is different. In a bad mood, we get offended.

Allen Pease, who is an author, comedian and an expert on body language says

“Others can’t offend you – you choose to be offended. Choosing offence tells the world that you are unable to come to terms with the problems in your world. So it doesn’t make sense to choose offence, or shame, embarrassment or feeling hurt.

You can feel offended that it rains on your birthday party but the rain doesn’t care – it just keeps on raining. You can choose to feel embarrassed because someone tells a joke that says your country persons are stupid. That doesn’t mean that they are stupid and even if they are, abusing the joke teller, won’t make them any smarter.

You can choose to be angry because the traffic is backed-up but that doesn’t clear the traffic.”

You see, everything makes good sense when you say it like that, and he is right too. Why get offended? At the very worst, the person who said it is making a fool of themselves. That doesn’t give you an excuse to get offended. In fact, you will use up countless parts of energy getting upset, offended and angry. It just doesn’t do you any good.

Now I am of the belief that laughter is the best medicine around. It can allow you to forget the troubles of the day. You can laugh and things are better, if even just for a moment. That’s not to say that you have handled everything but it does allow you time out to just, well, laugh! That’s an important part of living.

Back to coaching a comedian.

One of the things I like people to do is write things down as this gets them out of their head and work on something in front of their face rather than behind it. It allows you to review what has been happening rather than remembering and it helps you connect with things that interest you as you don’t forget when the pressure goes on.

This Guy even managed to teach me how to enjoy life. I suggested writing it down and he produced a manuscript of jokes, one liners and innuendoes that had me in hysterics. He sat there with a serious look on his face and scowled, “So it’s funny is it?” I bit my cheek and said “Yes” The grin over his dial said it all…”Good”

He found every reason under the sun to take a shot at himself but he didn’t do it as a put down. He did it from the point of view that you shouldn’t take yourself seriously. Sure, sometimes the things we do are serious, but that’s no need to take yourself seriously. Life is sometimes tough so find something about it that you can laugh about. Find a one liner that sums up your situation in a humorous way. It’ll bring a smile to your face and release the pressure valve.

He made a very valid point that reflects across the spectrum of life. Don’t do anything as if you are an amateur, be professional in every aspect. You do yourself a disservice doing things lackadaisically. It shows a laziness and disrespect for yourself. Here is a comedian giving me advice and he hit the nail right on the head. There is always something to learn and by learning we make important steps in our lives.

Whether you are a volunteer, paid worker or just doing something for fun, make sure you apply yourself professionally. Don’t get serious about it, get professional. The lightness that you can bring to any situation will dramatically improve the output of those around you and, of course, your own. Do everything as if you are a professional. People will notice you and you will find that you inspire them also.

So there you have it. Comedy is worth its weight in gold. Allen Pease also relates that a speech that contains humorous lines and cracks every 6-7 minutes is 200-400% more remembered than if the same speech is delivered without the humor. That’s an incredible statistic. No wonder my comedian, when you meet him, can never be forgotten (that was my very own attempt at a joke)

Did you smile?

Just a little?

Until next week

Cheers… Bill

Bill Gray

Bill is a Business Coach. Working with Individuals, Businesses and Organisations to create better environments and to develop and enhance business ”potential”, into successful business practices.

Sydney, Australia

Ph +61 413 949 521

Copyright ©Bill Gray All Rights Reserved 2004