“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. ” (e.e. cummings)
When I was a high school senior, the class voted on a number of male and female “senior superlatives” such as most athletic, most academic, most school spirit, etc. who were then featured in the yearbook. I was nominated for class clown.
If my entire 12 year history at the school was considered, there was little doubt that I was class clown. But in my junior and senior years, I had become “serious” and was proud of an emerging image: radical intellectual.
I was now embarrassed by my past. I did not want to win that election because I believed it undercut my new image. Class demographics were on my side. Few classmates had been there more than four to six years because their parents were often on temporary two to four year assignments. In a class of 98, there were only about 20 of us “oldtimers” who had been through the full 12 years of school together. I got my wish: I was not voted class clown.
But by my thirties, I had a different attitude. I realized that I’ve always been a clown and that there is no necessary dichotomy between being a clown and being taken seriously.
In all my jobs, I’ve been the office clown. And I’ve found that the ability to quickly diffuse a delicate situation with a witty comment is very helpful. That may be why one of my former bosses wrote in an evaluation that when others had failed in a difficult assignment involving people outside the office, I’d be the one to send out to rescue the situation.
One of the key aspects of being a successful clown crosses over to work. I’m talking about delivery: in any kind of speaking, timing and inflection are critical to audience response. Delivery is key in humor and it is just as critical in public speaking. I love that part of my job.
Although there is an organized PowerPoint outline for my audiences, I warn them that I’ll be speaking in a stream of consciousness style from short “talking points” and to disregard what’s on the screen because I won’t be reading it; the printed material is to help them recall the presentation later, not to follow along with. Audience evaluations say I make difficult, boring topics (federal regulations) understandable for the first time.
This time of year is a time for merriment. And with the economy in a downspin, a good belly laugh is especially important.
In that spirit, I offer links to two comedian superlatives: my favorite male comedian: Filipino-American Rex Navarette, who uses accent as a phonetic double entendre for hilarious results.
His best skit in this vein is SBC Packers.
Rex is also a keen observer of Filipino culture, just as American culture is a target of some his American counterparts :
Rex is Hella Pinoy…and I fit some of the “so Pinoy” (Filipino) descriptions (this video reminds me of Jeff FoxWorthy)
Rex on Filipino Mothers
And my favorite female comedian is Filipina-American Christine Gambito (a/k/a“Happy Slip”), who at this point is an Internet “performer” only.
Happy New Year! And may your bargains be monsters and your laughs often and hard! (That’s a rephrasing of the the way the World Poker Tour shows end.)