I recently had the privilege of taking a stand up comedy workshop offered by Kristina Hall and Elan BenAmi. It was a the sort of workshop where you have to look into your deep dark secrets, pull them out and poke fun of them. I walked in knowing I had a huge blind spot – a block in my mind that I can’t see around – I knew it was holding me back. I am my own worst enemy.
The course was offered over two weeks and involved a lot of writing. Pick some subjects, dwell on them, ruminate on them, write and write and write. My first set of jokes were all dark cancer jokes. I have been developing them over the past 5 years as a means of coping with this disease and the way people relate to me with it. So often when I talk to people they either find me funny, or their eyes fill with tears. That’s what happened with my first set. I got through my first draft of material to the workshop participants – all 8 of them plus Kristina and Elan – and finished to silence. Well, not quite silence, Elaine started crying. Yeah. decidedly not funny.
With a lot of coaching from Kristina and bonding with my fellow workshop participants I did a lot of cutting, a lot of rewriting and basically created a fair amount of new material just days before the show. There’s still a lot of cancer jokes in there but they feel a little softer, not so hurt. Kinda like me.
I got to see the other people in my class connect with themselves. With a supportive mindset we worked together to find the funny in each other’s pain. It was such a beautiful way to initially connect with strangers. I highly recommend it.
I hope you enjoy the fruits of my soul searching set to stand-up.