Truth, Pain, and Emotion

May 05, 2014 by John Andrew Williams

Today’s Thought: Like Life Coaching, Comedy involves Emotion.

In The Comic Toolbox Jon Vorhaus opens with a story that illustrates how comedy boils down to truth and pain. When comics speak to something true, we identify it in our lives. When comics speak to something painful, we feel it.

The funny part comes when we realize that the pain is not happening to us, and the result is laughing. It’s funny to see someone to stage slip and fall and make a big crash into a pile of dishes that someone took all day to stack.

Watch a movie with a four-year old and experience the purity of slapstick humor.

As we age we may get more sophisticated, but the bold foundation remains: truth, pain and emotion.

The next step in making jokes is to take those observations and craft your point-of-view about it. Love it? Hate it? Fear it? Embrace it? Whatever your point-of-view, make sure that it includes an emotion.

In life coaching terms, your comedic point-of-view is exactly like a perspective. Clarifying and naming perspectives is life coaching’s bread-and-butter. {link to perspectives}Let’s practice, get a little life coach-y, and consider a real-life situation that is usually a bummer.

Situation: You stub your toe

Life coach-y question to induce a strong love-it point-of-view: What’s the absolute best part of stubbing your toe?

Love-it point-of-view: You get immediate and universal sympathy. The pain usually goes away in a few moments but you can always reference it an hour from now to get another burst of sympathy.

We’ll save the comedic exaggeration for tomorrow.

For now, let’s add some life coach-y homework.

Option 1: Add some strong emotion to those observations you made yesterday.

Option 2: Watch something you find funny and see if you can identify the point-of-view. (Looking back it’s shocking to think how point-of-view and strong emotion completely flew under my radar before I started to study comedy.)

Also read: Thank You, Robin

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