Several weeks ago we talked about the issue of sex as an image and marketing tool. There was one element that was not mentioned that can take that issue and spin it in such a way that it disarms those who may find sex too provocative and can soften its appeal for those who want it to be hardcore. That element is humor.
Imagine if Dolly Parton had tried to hide her obvious attributes and put forth a prudish image or if she had chosen to exploit them in a cheap, in your face, vulgar way? Instead she acknowledged the obvious, actually made light of it, all the while honing and deepening her craft as a performer, singer and profoundly gifted songwriter. Her message was clear: don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s her humor that makes her so accessible and endearing for people from all walks of life.
Wisdom In Humor
There’s great wisdom in using humor to relate to your audience or to other people period.
Think about things that you feel are maybe a little different about you, ways in which maybe you’re uncool or awkward or goofy.
Don’t be afraid to use it as a source of humor. It can help to distinguish you from others.
Let’s say if you tend to come off way too stiff and too serious but have killer pipes. Then, let that awkwardness or “severe attitude” be the butt of a joke now and then in your gigs.
What Makes You Laugh
Here’s a simple exercise to help you get a better handle on your sense of humor and ways to possibly use it. Think of five people who always make you laugh. Think of five movies that make you laugh that you could watch over and over again or five TV shows or episodes of shows or scenes from those films. Then, take a few minutes to quickly make note of three or four lists of these items.
Set them aside for a moment. Then, go back and jot down something specific about each person, movie, show, scene, whatever you’ve listed that makes you laugh. Then, look over what you’ve jotted down and see if there are any common factors or subjects or situations that you relate to that make you laugh. Ask yourself, how am I like that? What are some things I do or say or think that makes me just as goofy, awkward, and vulnerable as these people? What situations have made me feel goofy, vulnerable, awkward, or out of place?
You Become Accessible
The key to successfully using humor is that we can all relate to feeling goofy, awkward, clumsy, like a jerk, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, being politically incorrect or socially Neanderthal.
Think of some stories you might be able to share that will make your audience members laugh as they see themselves in you. One of the keys to greatness is that common touch or tickle, that bond you form with your audience that says we’re all flawed and fumbling. Let your stumble be a dance of delight for your audience.