I tell jokes, therefore I am

One of my goals this year is to do a lot more keynotes.

So to *ease* myself into it, I signed up for a stand-up comedy class.

In my comedy set, I do a bit – yes I have *bits* now – about how I have a philosophy degree, hence the title of my post today.

(Don’t worry…I have funny material too.)

Anyway, I took the class for two reasons: (1) to challenge myself with something new (it’s out of my comfort zone), and (2) I thought it might help me continue to refine my speaking skills.

So far I’ve eaten my fair share of humble pie.

I’ve got a pretty good sense of humour.  However, being funny on demand is a different beast.  I’ve learned that about 80% of the game is being willing to make a joke and NOT hear laughter.  That’s how you find out what works; by throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks – or at least slides down slowly, leaving gooey skid marks.

There are certain patterns to it, but you can never know 100% what will make an audience laugh.  When they do laugh, you put a check-mark next to that one, and move on.

Top comedians have done a joke dozens of times before it ever airs on their Netflix special.

At the beginner level, everyone trembles when it’s their turn to take the stage.  Not one of us feels secure.  As I watch this unfold each week, I think “isn’t this amazing?  All of us out here, taking RISKS…”

This might be my inner masochist talking, but doing stand-up is a great way to experience failure in strident, painful, and repetitive ways, until you become immune to it.  It’s like a vaccine.  You take in small but concentrated doses of the stuff, and, in response, your immune system releases antibodies that immediately go to work on fear.

(I make it sound VERY appealing, I’m sure.)

There’s no evolution in sameness.

There’s only decay, deterioration, and RUST.  What’s true of all living things is that if we’re not growing, we’re dying.  Uncertainty and insecurity are passes to a virtual Disneyland of personal development.

AND…your opinion on what you can’t do isn’t usually based on facts.

With a bit of coaching, every single person in my stand-up class got funnier.

So risk.  Start today.  It doesn’t have to be stand-up, but put your name in the bucket to learn something new.

Be like the guy who was asked if he can play the piano:

“I don’t know,” he said.

“What do you mean you don’t know?”

“I’ve never tried.”

Happy Risking,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com


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