Tired of sending follow-up email after follow-up email and not getting any responses? Sick of feeling nervous before the smallest of presentations? Ever thought, “maybe I should try standup comedy?” Regardless of your answers, you should try standup comedy!
Seriously, we believe humor is a skill that anyone can learn and everyone can use to get better results at work. Here are five magical things that will happen once you start doing standup comedy.
1) You will have a more joyful perspective
Doing standup comedy will require you to see the humor in everyday occurrences and dwell less on the negatives. Comedy will become your silver lining, so whenever something less than stellar happens, your perspective will be, “Alright, how can I make this funny?” You will have a more joyful perspective, you’ll probably laugh more and have lower stress as well.1
2) Your storytelling and public speaking skills will drastically improve
Standup comedy is like telling a really awesome story to a group of people. So, doing standup comedy at open mic nights will help narrow down which are your truly amazing stories and master your delivery. It’s also a great way to test your jokes on strangers before you say them at a dinner party with your boss or in-laws! Your future sales pitch presentations and wedding speeches will be a walk in the park.
3) You will have a creative outlet
Were you passionate about writing, poetry, theatre, drama, and/or movies when you were younger and just ran out of time as a ‘responsible’ adult? Standup comedy will get you writing more often (as opposed to reactively checking your phone) and this creative writing can spark new connections and ideas. Humor has been proven to increase the acceptance of new ideas.2
4) You will make new funny friends
By going to open mic nights, you will naturally meet new, exciting people who love comedy. I’m not saying you need new friends, but who doesn’t want to meet new, funny people? Who knows, you might even meet some interesting corporate people as well, since a lot of comedians are ex-office folk who just started writing a funny blog on their company intranet. 😉
5) You will explore your great city
Standup comedy is performed in all different types of venues – libraries, coffee shops, intimate small bars, college campuses, and swanky big theatres. Writing a few jokes and performing them can take you to new places and help you explore the cool, hip underground scene in your city. In NYC, for example, there are over 30 standup comedy open mics every night. You can filter on date, time and location on these 3 great comedy databases: OpenMikes, FreeMics, and Badslava.
The beauty of standup comedy is that everyone starts the same way – at their local open mic night. So, go ahead, do that first gig and then you’ll have the confidence to use more humor at work. Corporate leaders who use humor as part of their leadership style are more likeable and signal to peers that they have high emotional intelligence3.
Ready and excited to dive in? Here is another detailed HTW blogpost on what to expect on your first Open Mic night.
1 Humor, stress, and coping strategies. By Millicent H. Abel. HUMOR. 2002, Vol 15; Part 4
2 ”Why Hewlett-Packard is Hiring Dancers”, Cheryl Strauss Einhorn. CNN Money, April 2013.
3”Humor at Work – Do leaders enjoy using humor as part of their leadership style?”, Vandad Pourbahrami, London School of Economics & Political Science, Aug 2016