As a comedian, I get paid to find the humor in everyday situations, then share that insight with a room full of strangers. People always ask “where do you come up with your material?” Well, the truth is, comedy is all around you – it’s nothing but reality with a twist. You just need to look at the world with a different set of eyes.
In comedy, we’re taught that every joke has a target – somebody or some thing has to be the butt of the joke. And nobody can leave my show without learning a fair amount about my oldest daughter. Let’s just say she ‘occasionally’ does things that challenge my memory of a little angel curled up in Daddy’s lap singing about Old McDonald’s farm. And around my house, you don’t do it unless you want Dad to go onstage and talk about it.
I remember greeting the audience one night after a show, and a woman said to me, “You’re really funny, but how can you say those things about your daughter?” I said, “Have you ever met my daughter? She’s standing right over here. I’ll introduce you.”
Yes, my daughter is well aware of the things I say about her onstage. It’s not funny if you say things behind somebody’s back. She gets a kick out of being part of the show, and I get the sanity of being able to laugh about things that would make some men hang their head in disbelief. My daughter not only comes to the show, but she brings friends. Because we have that kind of relationship where we can laugh together instead of judging one another. It’s a special bond that I hope we never lose.
But here’s the thing – for every time I joke about my daughter, or my wife, or anybody else, I also take a few on the chin myself. Because if we can’t laugh at ourselves, it’s pretty hard to laugh at anything else. For the first half of my life, I struggled with that. I could dish it out, but I wasn’t so gracious when it came back at me. And as a result, I felt myself growing old way before my time.
Once I learned to find humor in the mirror, I started noticing it all around me. Things that used to go unnoticed have become funny, sometimes even hilarious. Four years ago I was driving through a small town in Oklahoma and saw a sign on the main street of town in front of a Subway sandwich shop that read, “Turn any six inch into a twelve inch for $2.50.” If that didn’t at least make you giggle, maybe you need to look a little deeper into the mirror. Because that’s funny!
Laughter is contagious, and once you begin to laugh at yourself, you’ll find more and more humor in the world around you. You’ll find yourself laughing more often. You’ll feel better, and people will want to be around you. And if they hang around long enough, you can find a few reasons to laugh at them, too.
Copyright 2011 – Dave Glardon