Laughing at or with

I like a bit of a stretch so yesterday I went to a workshop on Improv for stand up comedy. It was run by Steve Roe who is one of my favourite improv teachers. It was great fun and created lots of opportunities to get to the edge of my comfort zone.

Here’s one thing that really got me thinking. I guess we all know the difference between being laughed at, and being laughed with. We played around a lot with being cool with being laughed at. If you can do that, then the task of making the audience laugh becomes a lot easier. A lot of the time, our urge is to be in charge of the laugh-making process, but that stops us from just embracing what is already there and funny.

I think this applies beyond comedy. If we think of laughter as an expression of satisfaction, then there is a lot here for any kind of performance in front of a group. Being who we are, rather than who we think people want to see, can create real connection.

That’s a laborious explanation of something that has to be experienced to be really understood.

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