One of my big themes for 2016 is ‘laugh’. It may seem trivial but it is really important to me for lots of reasons. I have always loved to laugh and be silly. As a kid I sought out funny things – I watched SCTV and Saturday Night Live as often as I could. I loved playing improv games in my drama classes. I memorized, recited and imitated comedians and their bits. My Saturday mornings were full of Abbott & Costello and Francis the Talking Mule movies. After school was all about Hogan’s Heroes, Gilligan’s Island, The Beverly Hillbillies, Three’s Company and M*A*S*H. I watched a lot of TV and movies as a kid and comedies were my favourites. I guess most kids love to laugh and be silly. I really dreamed of being on Saturday Night Live and going to Toronto to audition for Second City. Life got in the way (as it were) twenty-odd years ago and I didn’t go to Toronto or play with Second City. But, it’s all coming back to me now. I attended a workshop a few months ago with the goal of finding my life’s purpose. I didn’t actually expect a six-hour workshop to give me all the answers but I thought it might point me in a general direction. And, boy howdy! At one point during the day we did a guided meditation. We were guided to our favourite place (I walked through a BC rainforest until I reached a beach near Tofino) where we meditated on our skills, goals, etc. Then we were directed to find a tree near this favourite place and under that tree would be a mentor or guide (many people found brothers, fathers … I found April O’Peel, one of my favourite burlesque performers). We were to ask this guide what his or her message was for us. Ms. O’Peel very clearly said to me, ‘Comedy is hard, but it’s worth it. Go do it!’ Believe me I was not expecting that message at all. I was thinking there might be a message about burlesque performance and producing or perhaps about developing workshops for women. Nope! Comedy! Do it! After this message I could feel my whole self just expanding to fill the universe – which is completely ridiculous, I know! In any event, I knew this was the right thing. Make people laugh! Is there anything better? Laughter brings people together. Laughter makes people feel better. Laughter is good medicine. Have you heard of Clowns Without Borders? It’s an international NGO that sends clowns into war torn and otherwise depressed regions of the world to make people laugh. Seriously! What could be more awesome than giving a child a moment or two in which he can forget that he is scared or hungry? I may not become a clown who performs in refugee camps but I think my work as a clown and comedian might still be important. A few weeks after putting out a message on Facebook that I was interested in learning to be a clown a friend sent a link to an upcoming workshop! In the last few months a new improv group (LadyBits – women only improv group) has started having monthly performances and jams just up the street from me! I am excited to make laughter a bigger part of my life this year and I will definitely take you with me via some of my Friday Essays.
Be Lovely to Each Other,