"Comedy was like alchemy. It took pain, or boredom, or loneliness and made it into joy."
So there was this guy in my last Boulder class who killed his first time on the comedy stage (watch the video below.) He's got this compelling combination of intensity, humility and authenticity, which I really admire as a person and on stage. He connected immediately with the audience, which isn't as easy as it sounds. It requires being present to the experience while you're crazy nervous, and talking to the audience as you would in a conversation, rather than performing. It's a subtle distinction, but Elan nails it here. And he's hilarious.
Elan is a psychotherapist in Denver and a mobile app developer. Below is a post from his blog at https://medium.com/@ElanBenAmi
Stand Up Comedy, my process
I was 11 when I first saw Eddy Murphy’s ‘Delirious.’ It was my turn to pick the Blockbuster rental (which makes me think of Gary Gulman). I loved it. I think I repeated some of his jokes at a dinner party once – they didn’t land. It was probably the whole 11 and white thing.
Comedy was a resource for me, and laughter was love. Comedy was like alchemy. It took pain, or boredom, or loneliness and made it into joy. A part of my pull towards comedy came from my father, and his Israeli roots, where humor is primary.
I was always terrified of doing standup, though I can remember jotting down ideas in my notepad throughout high school. I was largely influenced by Seinfeld during that time, so it was mostly observational material.
Encouraged by a few close friends, I signed up for Kristina Hall’s ‘Stand Up!’ class. Her philosophy and approach to comedy is so beautiful. The short of it: Don’t write to be funny, write to be real. Be vulnerable – take a risk and share something about yourself.
I had thought comedy would be a distinct part of myself – a counterbalance to my work as a therapist. It turns out comedy and psychotherapy are so similar. At their foundation is authenticity – hence the saying “truth in comedy.” Crafting material is a process that involves looking inward, which is, by definition, therapeutic.
Read more about Elan and check out his blog here.