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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Funny! Funny? Funny . . . .

I think it was circus clown Lou Jacobs, when asked something like "What's funny?", said something along the lines of "If the audience laughs, it's funny."

If I'm in the moment, doing that thing that the audience is laughing at, and I know what it is that I'm doing that's inspiring them - allowing them - to laugh, why can I sometimes not understand? When someone says with self-assurance that something is funny or they're doing it because it's funny, I take that with a healthy dose of salt, depending on the source.

If I didn't think so much, it wouldn't matter, but I also think that it wouldn't matter without the thought. I like to entertain people. I like to make space for people to laugh. Honestly, any time someone asks if I'm funny or asserts that I'm funny, my initial reaction is: "Well, I'm not so sure."

Just because the audience laughs does that make something intrinsically funny? Actually, reflecting on things, I think the question I'm thinking at the root of it all is: just because something works and makes the audience laugh, does that make it quality work?

I don't want to be one of those people who wastes his time or the audience's time being what he thinks is funny. I've seen people hold a room with simple, simple things that are the most awesome. I've seen people work who make it painfully obvious that their main goal is simply to be loved by the audience and to be the favorite part of the show for them. I've seen people work on something new or attend workshops to expand their education and abilities. I've seen people do nothing to expand their performing knowledge/ability base or who go to a show and have nothing but notes on it as if it were their job to be the director.

That's why going home in a number of days is such a good thing. Sure, I won't be making nearly as much and I won't be living in Japan, but aside from being closer to my family, there is that one thing. I will be in a place where I can expand myself and create, not growing stagnant or too comfortable.

And I can work on being funny.

On a T-shirt

• Bowl Game Champ, Pasadena
• enjoy oneself
• Pop-up pirate, the dark - Black beard
• The world guaranteed perfect
• Give all to her for [heart heart heart]
• Good news message
• pretty sweet & cute lovely girl
• Washington Univercity St. Louis
• Wisconcin
• friends are the sunshine

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Japanese Recycling

I have a greater appreciation for recycling in the United States. More specifically, the programs of my hometowns: West Des Moines and Minneapolis. WDM has single stream recycling, which means if it's recyclable, you just dump it in the recycling bin. There is no more need to separate. Minneapolis, still does the basic glass/plastic/metal/paper, which is still easy and nice.

In Japan you cannot crush your empty cartons. You have to cut them open a certain way. Then , of course, there's the frustrating recyclable plastic/non-recyclable plastic deal, which continues to frustrate me no matter which country I'm in.

I suppose I should be happy there's recycling at all. That reminds me of the Winnie the Pooh tour. It was weird for three years living in hotels and just throwing everything and anything away in one trash bin with no recycling whatsoever. And that towel and sheet thing? Total BS. They'd still change the towels and sheets every day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sights Seen, Events Experienced

Here's a small list of things that have made me sigh or chuckle in appreciation over the last week:

• A little girl in a witch hat at one of the shows last week
• End-of-the-night discount grocery store deli gyoza
• End-of-the-night discount grocery store deli sushi
• said sushi being good and not making me sick
• hearing Japanese muzak in the store with lyrics being sung in English. The song in question at the time: "Saturday in the Park"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

On a T-shirt

• Earth Laundry
• Victory goes to the most persevering
• You control your own life
• manual control you are a good driver
• Aphorism proverb interesting words
• Motor City Mad Van
• Share your favorite things
• Let it frock [and there was a picture of a frog with a guitar, so I guess it was an attempt at mixing words or making a pun]
• lump of nature
• Everybody has unlimited chances to make their life better
• I love him
• You make me laugh
• Too much swelling
• Rabble rousing
• Do it acoustic dude ranch style
• Who got a props?
• SK8R BOY what's up?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yatta!

I didn't want to jinx a situation – not that I'm superstitious, but I suppose in that way I am – but now I can freely squawk about my achievement.

I successfully worked all of the shows in a week without dropping in juggling! Oh, sure there were some sticky spots and sketchy throws, but I did it. It's not the be-all and end-all to things, but it's a goal I had and I always seemed to drop at least once each week. We even had an extra show this week.

On a T-shirt

• Punch Drunkard – the Yellow Monkey
• eat the rich/ get stoked
• smile for peace
• peaceful enticement
• Fort McPherson Mechanical Fireman
• beach always
• mermaid's sweet melody
• I [heart] beans
• pleasure decently
• It is gentle like a hippo
• secret limitation rad
• growth is easy
• I [heart] nice
• Ghost! Boo! Ghosts threaten you!
• Dear God, why aren't you on tv?
• It is very fine today
• cute rock girl
• you make progress with lots of luck
• sweet girls love rock
• don't forget your original intent
• happily clappy
• In 305 mistake
• the peaceful world
• to all girls
• thirty years of successful living
• Chick Fight Night Club London Rock
• Happy in my future
• since we wants to see the face at which you laugh
• Give me plug!
• Envy is the ulcer of the soul/ Hate the justice
• Crowd one's luck, breathe a prayer.
• I wish you joy/ my only love you

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Return to Form

YES!

Today is the first day back at working out after the slight injury. I just wanted to make sure I was in decent enough form so that I wouldn't aggravate anything. Holy crap, it was great to be back and –

I did more of this grouping of exercises than I was doing two weeks ago when I last worked out. Was it the rest period? I have no idea, but it felt so good! I'm really thankful for my health and am determined to take care of it.

Even though I admit I do drink alcohol at times and eat junk food. I'm not perfect, you know. I don't have worse vices, so I guess I have to have something.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Whatchu Laffin At?

There are spots in one of our gags where I do some small scale goofiness that came out of the moment earlier on in my time here. One of the joys of what I do is when I'm doing one of these goofy things just because something has to be done in that empty space. When I look at my "dirty" hands in disgust and then wipe them on the railing in between me and some of the audience, that usually gets a small laugh. There's another part where I take the torn paper and fold it back up neatly, only to throw it on the ground. When that gets a laugh, I think that feels the best.

Those unexpected laughs let me know that people are paying attention. It's the same with this Music Box gag we do, which is a classic gag that can be done well, or it can be trite, emotionally manipulative treacle. Some people might not like it when the audience is laughing when I'm getting angry and ultimately destroy the music box. When that happens, the point to me is that the audience members laughing are identifying with the fact that the person with the music box is obviously interrupting the other person. Eventually, the interrupted person gets so frustrated that they destroy the music box. When the audience laughs, I feel that they are recognizing the times that they've felt like that in their lives and have wanted to do such a thing. To get all psychological, I'm acting on an impulse they've had and the laugh comes from the recognition. The audience is laughing and we struck something personal. I'm not a touchy, feely clown person, but I think that's one for the win column!