Tag Archives: ucb

Learning to Laugh

I am taking another improv class at the Upright Citizens Brigade. I really like the new instructor, he has an attitude toward comedy that’s more analytic than the way I have been taught. For example, this exercise: He told us to first of all, laugh, and then after investigate the reasons why. He told us it would ruin the way we enjoy comedy and it’s true, it is difficult to be analytical about something that is so instinctive, but I have really treasured this activity.

It’s been a tough week getting back from Michigan. I turned down my first job offer—I want to work in entertainment but I also want to afford my apartment. I also decided not to return to grad school this year, for the simple reason I don’t really want to be a teacher for the rest of my life. And I am beginning to truly understand how hard, physically, emotionally, in every other way, totally committing to this dream is. My honeymoon with Los Angeles isn’t just over, it’s getting close to the divorce.

And then I got the flu on my birthday. So, instead of enjoying the cake that my girlfriend baked (while I was at improv class, no less) I could hardly keep down a triscuit. And, besides feeling nauseous, it was pretty funny—ironic funny, but still, hilarious. The punchline? My girlfriend got sick that night, too.

The birthday was not all bad. I finally stepped inside the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica to see a free showing of Buster Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr. As part of my 2k10 networking offensive, I chatted up two old ladies in the lobby who told me they were writers. They told me that writers make the best waiters, which had to have been the funniest line of the evening due to the sheer absurdity of that statement. As a writer, I would make the worst waiter. You would find me dreaming in the back room before I would ever remember to get an order.

After a late start, the movie itself was funny too (duh!)—Keaton is a physical comic of the highest order. When he falls down the water tower in one scene, you hope he’s alright, but you know he’s not, but you laugh anyway.

So, as a proviso to my New Years Resolution, here is a new one: to laugh and to understand the reasons behind my laughter. To laugh for the right reasons and the wrong ones, to be happy when I am feeling sad. When you’re down and out, what else can you do?

Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr.