Tom Hanks is one of the best actors on the planet. He’s my all time favorite. He’s a really funny person too. This MEME pretty much captures what happens when you try to be funny.
In our opinion everyone is funny because everyone is human. And humans are funny. The first lesson we teach to in our improv classes is don’t try to be funny. Just be you and be the best you that you can be. Audiences are more engaged to your emotional reaction to a situation than they are to a “joke”. Not to say that a good one liner or pun isn’t funny, but truly engaging people find an emotional connection to the subject at hand and commit to that. If the “thing” of the scene is a truly big thing like cancer or marriage, you are watching a drama. If that same emotional commitment is connected to the fact that you can’t find a matching pair of socks, it’s likely a comedy. That’s more or a less a paraphrase of Gerald Owens; legendary improviser.
If we all took the time to actually listen to what people are saying, pause, absorb it and react in a real way to it, we would all laugh a lot more and get way more done. Agendas kill momentum. Plot, if you will. If you arrive to a meeting, discussion or argument with a pre-determined outcome, stop. Don’t bother having the dialogue. Just meet up and say “This is what’s going to happen whether you like it or not.”
Tom Hanks learned an important lesson that day. Will you?