The Idiots Guide to Discovering Surefire Laughs

Edmonton Streetfest 2014
Edmonton Streetfest 2014

This Doesn’t Just Happen…

This is one way to be ready when a moment like this is gifted to you by laughter’s angels

“People are always trying to figure out who I am in my novels. I seem to be drawn to playing extremely fertile women who know next to nothing about birth control. That’s a man pretending to be a woman right there.”

I have been hitting my glass ceilings, picking myself up off the floor, feeling boxed in, while doing what I can to escape limitedness of my imagination. There are several pathways being used to produce a new way forward and they need to be orchestrated by a conductor who knows what the composition ought to sound like when played to laughter’s unbridled romp into the present moment.

I have been writing new material for the show. I’ve been thinking conceptually about what I want to say. I have been on stage negotiating this material with my audience while alternating back and forth between the new and old material. The new material comes without all those hooks and handles where the older material is surefooted. There are in the tested show material reliable notes that I might hit just the right tone as I wend my way from start to finish.

The degree that I go off old script and into new script is where I reap the whirlwind. Sometimes you are able to seize the audience and take them with you, sometimes they are reluctant guests, and sometimes stubborn and lethargic. Lesser energetic audiences require veteran composure. We are so burdened with simply holding our audience we haven’t much space to discover where those fresh new hooks and handles might be located.

I can fit a funny line here and there into any show. It is another thing to leap off into a longer unguided journey of ‘hookless and handleless’ material. Where the laughs might be located is only approximate to sometimes nonexistent. This is the classic rat in maze moment. We go one way then another trying to escape from the labyrinth of our expectations and our preconceived blueprint of where we feel an audience might allow us to take them.

For the last 24 shows I’ve advanced and retreated while working on the first 10 minutes of 20-25 minutes of material I have written. Now, I’ve jettisoned one third of the first 10 and now I am preparing to introduce another 15. I have another 26 shows to work on this puzzle. Of course this all part Virgo energy and part rat in maze.

Creating a cognitive framework allows me some means of measuring my progress and forces me to go against fears grain. You really must put your shoulder into your material or you’ll get stuck doomed to repeating the older material and never quite getting around to dealing with all the difficulties inherent in breaking in new material.

Finding laughs is not for the weak or timid. You have to be willing to stomach the unpleasant feelings. The result of these experiments is a reliable and well tested routine. I am a soloist’s team of rivals. I am writer, producer, director, and performer. Those tough nuts can be tough to crack. This is my work.

Passing on the tradition
Passing on the tradition
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“Bambalina made me smile and laugh… She may have been one of the best characters in the book and that says a lot since she is a burro! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for fun yet heartfelt read.”

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