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     Chili Challis

           Lifetime comedian, comedy writer and coach

My Blog



Posted on November 9, 2015 at 1:44 PM Comments comments (14)

The study of stand up comedy can be hugely important in your life. It has for mine. Real comic artists probably are in touch with their personal makeup better than most psychologists are with theirs.

I say 'real comic artists' because today unfortunately there are far too many faux comedians. They exist because of many things, unsophisticated audiences, unskilled bookers, unknowing/uncaring venue owner/mgrs and such. It's a long sad story but all too real and because of this the audience suffers and for the most part is driven away. Stand up regrettably is an art form that can be faked to a certain point. The audience can tell but by then it's too late - the false prophet is already on stage and doing his or her damage to the art. Far too many of these so called comedians take the stage full of selfishness and with zero responsibility towards the audience. They actually have the nerve to think that the show and show business is about them. I digress.

This is about looking for you, your voice.

Studying comedy helps you realize that people laugh at pain -YOUR pain. How do you find out about that pain? You have to do a study of yourself - a truthful in depth study. You have to discover how YOU truly think, react and have reacted to turmoil in your life. Comedy is about looking for the world and your own...mostly YOUR OWN.

How do you do this? A great way to start is by asking yourself the tough questions and without question being honest with yourself.
A few of the questions for instance are:
What makes you angry? What confuses you? What has been your reaction to certain circumstances in your life? What do you run from?
And of course the Why question. Comedy is a lot about Whys? Just like a child Why? Why? WHY!????

We had the right idea in the 60's when everybody was in search of themselves....comic artists have continued this quest and your Uncle Hippie certainly did. Thanks to the feelings safari I have been on for nearly 30 years I know myself pretty well but I still to this day examine, probe and research. I still ask the- whys???

Actually this type of self exploration is not only enlightening but fun and it tends to soothe all the while relieving you of some pain when you excavate your consciousness. I suppose any art form will inspire you to do this but for studying stand up- it's a must. 

As a coach and teacher of stand up I've gotten so that I can tell in a couple of minutes of watching a comedian if they've done their homework in soul searching or if they are just repeating what they've seen work or simply being a mimic. I can only say there are far too many mimics now and the audiences can tell. Despite the shock laughs that a few get there is no connection and the audience, despite perhaps laughing, leaves empty and without that 'gift' that an artist is supposed to deliver. For me that is sad and unforgivable. For without that 'gift' the audiences dwindle and have no real motivation to return and that my friends is exactly what's happening to too many comedy venues lately.

So what can the average person do with this? Study yourself. Keep a diary. Write down your thoughts and always ALWAYS go behind your feelings. Ask the why question a lot and give yourself some honest answers. You'll find yourself and you'll be ok! lol

Just something to think about.