Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Emotional Connection

In my comedy class recently (yes, there are classes, and yes, they work), I got feedback about being more emotionally connected to my material. Not that I need to be more emotional about the material I have, but that I need to work on material that I am emotionally connected to. I don't know if that sounds hard or not, but it's hard for me.

A lot of my stuff lacks that emotional quality-- I have clever observations, and stuff that people enjoy and find amusing. I can write a good joke, but I don't have strong emotions about it.

Forget about being funny, I have trouble writing with any passion at all! And what there is that I am passionate about, I'm either afraid to share with a wider audience, worried about the collateral damage (such as hurting a friend or relative), or I am not yet far enough from to find what's funny in it.

It's a fine line, between being honest and emotionally connected, and trying to find humor in something that you still haven't processed. If you go to open mikes frequently enough, eventually you will see someone trying to work out a bit, and ending up on the wrong side of that line.

It's okay if it's planned and intentional, but then it's more of a monologue, Spalding Gray-type stuff. When it's unintentional, it can be awkward, even painful.

As a comedian, as a general rule, it's not a good thing when the audience is afraid of you, or wants to give you a hug.


At 2:17 PM, Blogger Chris said...

My first stand-up bit was about half about my recent divorce. I could tell that people were a bit put off my the initial jokes but I think that my emotional connection with the material paid off for the bigger jokes that followed. Looking back at it, telling jokes about the divorce really helped me too. I felt like I lived out a revenge fantasy up there on stage.

Four days later and the revenge fantasy has gotten out of hand. I've secretly sent tickets to my ex for the next open-mike night that I'm doing. I'll be writing more material just about her too.

At last I will reveal myself to the bitch,.. At last I will have my revenge!

Ahem... Ok, so probably that wouldn't be a good idea. Still, I think telling jokes about things that make you anxious is a good way to connect with people.


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