Class 3: Setting up your Set.

Learning Stand Up means Learning to laugh about yourself so we have the courage to be ourselves.

Alright, first off, I’m really proud of all of you for working so hard in my class. This is my 26th year of teaching Stand Up Comedy so I know when a class is firing on all cylinders. Each class is different, there is no wrong creatively; but this group is doing a lot of the work of my principles right. Thank you, all of you.

REMEMBER: ENERGY: THEME: STORY/SET/TAGS/JOKES/CALLBACKS/FORESHADOWING.

For the fourth class on Monday all of  a us will have: 1) five to seven minute theme based set, with at least 3 theme based jokes-( BEGINNING, MIDDLE AND END.) 2) We will also have a 2 minute set that we’ve written from the E mail we exchanged with a class mate. We will create a story/set on this E mail and tag it with at least 3 jokes: opener, middle and closer. ( Remember: an opening joke is our SECOND BEST JOKE. It’s ripe with our theme and gets the audience’s attention. It tells them who we are and creates an identity. Our middle joke is pregnant with our theme. Our closing joke is rampant with our theme. ) ‘Ripe, pregnant, rampant,” three pretty good adjectives, come on, you have to give me that!!!

The story we perform next class will be the set we share for our Comedy Night Gala on April 9 at Yuks Comedy Club. Did I just use the word ‘Gala,?’ Yes I did citizens. Yes I did.

Look at your story , record it and play it back or write it out and Q and A your 3 premises/ ideas. Remember, if your best joke is in the middle, you need to move it to the end of your set! We close with our best joke.  Also, NO TALKING AFTER THE PUNCH LINE ( unless what you’re saying is funnier than your previous joke. Again, this is called a tag.

I want to share foreshadowing a bit and callbacks. The theme that I’m working on that a class mate sent me is: becoming aware. The story premise is a pan catching on fire because I forgot. (I once had a pizza from scratch catch on fire in the oven and I tried to put the fire out with a five pound bag of flower.)

Alright, I’m starting with an empty page and at the bottom of the page I’ve written the word, ‘POOL,’ and underlined it. Any ideas I get that bubble up while I’m working on this set, I’ll place under pool.

REMEMBER: when we ask and answer questions from different perspectives, we ask: WHAT’S AT STAKE, WHAT AM I AFRAID TO SAY? These questions and answers create emotion and emotion is laughs.

So, apparently I was making eggs when the pan caught on fire. (The first thing I thought was 3 minute egg and then 911) I’m not sure how they fit together so I’ll put it under pool. There’s a tendency to ask an audience off the top if they’ve ever burnt something on the stove, but you’ll lose the audience for a few moments as they discuss this. You don’t want that unless you’re really comfortable with ‘working a room.’

I ask, when was the last time I burnt breakfast, bacon, eggs toast? What’s at stake here? burning the apartment complex down. As I asked this I hit an idea. 1)( REMEMBER, I want to mention my theme off the top and remember it while I’m writing jokes. “I need to watch what I’m doing, keep my head in the game. . . I’ve had so many grease fires that fire fighters call me. 2) My 3 minute eggs are, 1 second to crack the egg  and 2 minutes and 59 seconds to put out the fire. What does that say about my cooking when the phone call I’m getting is FROM 911?

I can foreshadow one of these jokes in misdirection: “I’ve had so many pancake, bacon and egg grease fires, that fire fighters call me.” ( I’ve put egg as the last amplifier because now, it sets up the next joke about 3 minute eggs.

CALLBACK: Again, a callback gives your set history. So if you’re only doing three to five minutes, that’s a good thing.

In this set I’ll use this joke as a callback, a reference to a previous joke. “Had to call 911 yesterday. I kept getting Sveen’s place.”

Alright, keep journalling, taping and listening to your set. Be aware of your energy, let it be big, positive, inspiring and certain!!

REMEMBER: I can be booked as a Key note and Comedian. Please share my web site and spread the word about my class please. Really appreciate it 🙂

Class 2: Opening Jokes.

First, I want to thank everyone in this class for working as hard as you are. I really appreciate everyone for encouraging each other and for doing the hard creative work of journaling three pages a day on anything and everything connected to the class: joke writing, tagging, theme, story, set and more. Thank you for pushing yourselves, You will reap the benefits, I promise.

Second: The HOMEWORK for next class: have a 3 to 5 minute set that’s based on your theme THAT MAKES YOU LAUGH 🙂 I also want three jokes in this set: OPENING, MIDDLE AND CLOSING. ( REMEMBER: don’t talk after the punch line. Let the audience savor your material.)

This is the structure of our set: 1) Theme based personal story. 2) Writing jokes that are created from your story and inserting them into the story. 3) Allowing our energy to be huge, positive, abundant, gracious and limitless, and aligned with where we feel most comfortable and reaching where we’re trying to go with our humor. Remember, if we’re scared, the audience is scared. If we’re laughing, the audience is laughing.

Alright, the OPENING JOKE is our second best joke. This joke is directly connected to our theme. We tell the audience our name, wait for the applause to fade then; WE TELL THEM OUR THEME! After that, we open with the first joke of our set! This joke gets the audience’s attention and tells them who we are right away. Because our SET/STORY is based on our theme. SO: Find the theme based story that makes you laugh and record it and play it back, listen to the story and ask the questions and answer them. Here’s an example:

My set next class will be about going to a WATER SLIDE: (REMEMBER: PREMISE: what’s at stake? PUNCH LINE: what are we afraid to say?

I know the story of the water slide. I lived this day. So I’m going to start with the first moment of my story.

“Have you ever been asked to go to a water slide? (What’s at stake here? I don’t feel comfortable in a bathing suit, I’m an adult, it’s for kids. I could drown? REMEMBER: the more emotion in the premise and punch line, the bigger the response from the audience. Also, we want to keep the material related to our market brand/theme and where we’re going. I’m going to choose ‘drown’ for my premise.

They say drowning is the Worst way to die. Wear a Speedo to the pool, death from embarrassment is way worse. (SARCASM) REMEMBER: sarcasm is the first step in MISDIRECTION. We use misdirection because the audience doesn’t see the punch line coming and we can use this genre to foreshadow the next joke.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They say drowning is the worst way to die. I can’t swim, it’s been so long, I might drown. There is a worse way to die, show up in a Speedo,  death by embarrassment.

Now I can take one of the three amplifiers: I can’t swim, it’s been so long, I might drown, and use one to FORESHADOW the next joke.( REMEMBER: this is based on an actual story that happened to me.)

I’m not really afraid of dying. I think my Speedo joke proves that point. ( making fun of ourselves endears us with an audience)

REMEMBER: to look at other perspectives in your story to write material. ( my wife, other people at the pool, friends, my conscience.)  Q and A: what do people think of someone in a Speedo? How out of touch am I? Do I not, have any self respect? I think I wore them because the salesman said they were cutting edge trunk technology. (I like the trunk Idea)

The salesman said Speedos were cutting edge. They came in a tiny package. when I showed the box to my wife, she thought I was proposing again.

So have fun, remember to ask and answer questions about your story and then ask what’s at stake and what are you afraid to say? This will create emotion, which will create laughter. REMEMBER: we’re replacing the original sentence of our story with the joke we wrote. Any questions E MAIL PLEASE: paulsveen@shaw.ca

REMEMBER: I’m a nationally touring Corporate Comedian. If you need a Comedian/ Speaker/ or a Humor Workshop for your event please E MAIL me or talk to me in class. See you Monday kids 🙂

 

February 25 Class 1. Story is the Boss.

First, I want to thank each and everyone of you for being in my ‘Stand Up Writing Class.’ I promise I will give this class and each and everyone of you personally, everything I have as a teacher, author and comedian to you. I only ask, if at anytime in this class, if you feel stuck, overwhelmed, lost or frozen in any of the principles, or homework, please keep it to yourself, I have a class to run. (KIDDING!!!) E mail me or pull me aside in the class and we’ll work it out, promise 🙂 I can’t make anyone do the homework or writing assignments. It’s up to everyone to do the work and if you do, your public speaking, your writing and confidence will escalate and begin reaping rewards. But it’s up to you.

Alright, homework for next Monday, March 4th: look at your 5 favorite books, songs, movies and then 5 memorable moments from your life and find a pattern a theme that connects the five moments from your life. This is your market brand, your mission statement. Your material will have this theme running through it and we’ll develop it in the class. This theme allows you to stand out and be unique. It also allows you to attract an audience and opportunity. Your theme gives you an identity and connects you to an audience and makes you MEMORABLE.

The outline for this class is: A theme based personal story from your life. We will create material from your stories, opening jokes, closing jokes, callbacks, foreshadowing jokes as well as learning to tag/ write jokes from other perspectives, embed emotion and cultivate the joke writing genres of sarcasm and misdirection.

JOKE WRITING: Premise: the idea. Punch-line: the point. (We use the Question and Answer exercise to begin the joke writing process. We begin by mining the emotion and point of each sentence of our story/set.)  We also ask of the premise: what’s at stake in the relationship in the premise, even if the relationship is with ourselves, a plant, the neighbor or aliens. What’s at stake? In the punch-line we ask- what am I afraid to say, what’s the secret?

Here’s a joke we wrote in class yesterday from a random premise, not one from our theme. The premise was the Oilers.

“I was struggling to get the money together to go to an Oilers game. I decided to spend my money on something way cheaper and less painful and paid someone to attack me with a nail gun.” (What’s at stake here in the premise? budgeting, fighting to get the money together to support your team. What’s the thing you don’t want to say? It’s less painful to be attacked by a nail gun then watch a hockey team.) We achieved this joke by asking and answering questions.

HOME WORK: For the 2nd class have a 2 to 4 minute THEME BASED set for class. I want you to write three jokes, an opener- a joke that gets our attention . Have a joke for the middle, a joke that really carries your theme and a closing joke, a theme based joke that makes you memorable.

I’ll be sharing a set on owning a crap car. Here’s the first sentence of my theme based set/story: “You know how you know you own a crap car? When you speed up to pass someone they go faster. Because no one wants to be passed by a thirty year old rusted Buick that’s on fire.”

What’s at stake of having a crap car? What am I afraid to say or admit? I questioned and answered this. I would insert this joke into my story, It carries my theme.

“I realize my crap car’s a hazard. But I kind of believe in reincarnation. I can get another life. Where am I going to get another 30 year old Buick?”

REMEMBER: at the bottom of your joke writing page underline the word POOL and use the space beneath it to jot down random ideas, premises and inspiration that occurs while you’re working on your set.  You can come back and maybe use an idea. If you don’t do this you’ll forget the ideas 🙂

Have fun. remember to journal 3 pages everyday and concentrate on the class, joke writing, your set, theme, ideas from the class 🙂

February 25 Stand Up Writing Class is filling up.

There is no real way I can describe the power of humor. We all know from personal experience what real deep laughter can do for us. Laughter changes us physiologically. It changes the way we feel and also the way those around us feel. I’m not sure if the kind of laughter that we remember from years ago is a small miracle or a gigantic one. Well there are no small miracles so, laughter, any kind of laughter, the moments that make us smile, laugh out loud or allows us to forget for only a few moments what we’re going through or afraid to face; laughter is a God send.

This will be my 26th year of teaching Stand Up Comedy. My 15th year of teaching Stand Up Writing. Both classes are different. One is an introduction. The other, the class beginning next Monday at Yuk’s Edmonton, is creative business of Stand Up: this class is the elements of Story. The tagging or developing of ideas within your story. Jokes aren’t created because we find a punchline. Material is created because we find ourselves within our story.

Humor can be developed from any idea, politics, space, gum. The class I teach works on the principle of developing material from different perspectives then just our own. I believe writer’s block is founded in being stuck in the same perspective. The more emotion in a joke, the better the joke, the laughter and connection to an audience. When the joke is from OUR OWN story, then the material is carrying our theme.

If we take a random joke idea, ‘The Oilers,’ this is a ‘TOPICAL,’ premise, an idea in media. Here’s a random joke I developed from the principles of writing mechanics I teach in my class. 1)  Connor McDavid’s supposed to be the best player in the world and the Oilers are in last place. I played ball hockey with a kid named Barney Zepher. He scored two goals every game and he wasn’t even the best player on our block! 2) FYI Connor, when you’re trying to tip a puck in the net, take a deep breath and shout, CAR!!! That’s from Barney. You’re welcome.

Now, when we take a random idea and add emotion, the material is amplified. Cheering for the Oilers is like being in a bad marriage, I think we should start seeing other teams. We can re write this joke from another perspective and add amplifiers. But that’s week two of the class.

If you’re interested in Stand Up, Public Speaking or writing, and want to be part of my class, e mail me please: paulsveen@shaw.ca

 

February 25 Stand Up Writing Class.

My next STAND UP COMEDY WRITING CLASS, begins Monday February 25 at Yuk’s Edmonton. This class will be working on: STORY, EMBEDDING EMOTION, GENRE, ( MISDIRECTION, SARCASM, CALLBACKS, GAGS)  SET DESIGN, (OPENING, CLOSING JOKES) as  well as Theme and THE BUSINESS OF STAND UP.

I have been performing and teaching Stand Up for over thirty years. I come from stand up from a writing back ground: TWO NOVELS,  PLAYWRIGHT/ THREE FRINGE PLAYS, A NATIONAL TEACHING AWARD, COMEDY NOW, AND Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Halifax and Saint John’s Comedy Festivals. The reason I list these is not to impress but to show how my Stand Up Writing class is effected by other writing genres. An opening joke must get the audience’s attention. It should also set up your theme, the pattern running through the stories of your life, your market brand. The final closing joke in your set should tie up your set and leave the audience with no doubt what your message is.

  1. We will also be covering perspective, looking at ideas and moments from each student’s life from different points of view. The secret to Stand Up and Story telling is sharing the moments that we’re afraid to share; the moments that we keep hidden. These moments have our theme absolutely reach an audience.
  2. TAGGING: We will explore the writing mechanics of joke writing and then use them to amplify our story.
  3. Energy frequency. When we’re afraid, so is an audience. Our energy influences us creatively; when we’re having fun so is our audience. 
  4. DEFINING our goals. Just like aligning our emotions and energy in our material, we can also sequence our energy to where we ask and work towards where our Stand Up and Writing is taking us.
  5. Working on our work. We will be sharing our material in class as well as helping others in the class write their material. We will rehearse and record our performances and learning to graph our sets so we can be more successful as STAND UPS and Writers.
  6. TO GET INFORMATION ON THIS CLASS, E MAIL ME AT: paulsveen@shaw.ca                                              

 

Class 3: Story + Tags = Set.

REMEMBER: Our comedy Grad is Monday November 5th. Tickets are 10$ at the door. The doors open at 6:30 the show starts at 7:30 PM. Everyone is performing 7 to 10 minutes. I will be taping the Grad Night so please invite family friends and co workers because the better the audience the better the response for your DVD.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Great class last Monday kids. REMEMBER: Look at each sentence in the story you choose for class next Monday: ( this will be the set you’re going to choose for the Stand Up Grad Night)

REMEMBER : PREMISE: and then the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, the unspoken emotion. This is the PUNCHLINE. Once you have the punchline, add the 3 AMPLIFIERS and one of the three examples can be used to FORESHADOW the next joke:
EXAMPLE:JOKE 1) A lot of comedians are insecure, suffer from depression and use humor to fill a hole. Speaking of holes nice to be back in this club! JOKE 2) A comedians’ working in a club has a heart attack and dies. Suddenly he’s at the pearly gates. On the other side are a bunch of comedians, Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers, Don Rickles. Saint Peter tells the new comic before he can go into heaven he had to tell his joke that was his greatest risk. The new comic starts sharing his most courageous joke. Suddenly Saint Peter says, “wrap it up God just gave you the light!” On the other side of the gate Don Rickles says, “I’m dead a week and Saint Peter’s already stole my act!”

REMEMBER: HOMEWORK: WRITE JOKES from 3 different perspectives  FOR) 1) the guy who brought the wrong part to the Canadian Tire, 2)his wife and 3) the automotive attendant, also have 2 misdirection’s.

REMEMBER: Have your 7 to 10 minute set (TAGGED AND BAGGED!!!!) for Monday.

REMEMBER: You can bring my Humor Work shops, Key Note and my Stand Up Comedy Performance to your company, work, fundraiser or Christmas Party. E mail me: paulsveen@shaw.ca

Class 4: Theme + Story = success.

The last class was great! I saw the lights go on in our class three writing exercise. As we continue in my Stand Up Writing class, I would like you to be conscious of your theme. What’s the pattern running through your stories? If your jokes are coming from your stories they carry your theme. This pattern should be in the set we’re developing for November 5th. Your theme is money! The jokes you’re writing are deposits! Your story is the bank!

REMEMBER: For class this Monday please have: A story from your life that you’re passionate about or at least a little excited about. (Don’t share a story you’re worried might offend or don’t care about. The more you care about your story the more your audience will care about it also!) Write 3 jokes for your story: an opening joke, middle joke and closing joke; if you can, from different perspectives. Also, use misdirection to foreshadow your set.

HERE’S AN EXAMPLE: (My story and theme with 3 tags. A tag is turning a sentence or idea from a story into a joke: OPENING JOKE 1: “So get this! My buddy Frankie asked if I wanted a treasure map! Right away I’m thinking plunder, diamonds, gold, Pirate Treasure! Not so much. I got a map to Blue Berries. I tell Frankie, I might be an idiot but I don’t want the freakin map and Frankie says not thinking blue berries are treasure is an anti-oxidant waiting to happen! MIDDLE  JOKE 2 Sold! Frankie convinces me, not with stats, facts or proof, he sells me with the most wicked of all sales pitches, the rare produce section PUN! CLOSING JOKE 3 SO I spend an hour dragging my bike and two five gallon pails down a thorn encrusted hell, what’s that place called again at the end of 167, behind the Giant Tiger, by those trees? Ho yah, VIETNAM!!!”

REMEMBER: Begin with a story you like. If you love it that’s even better. Rehearse your story know it. If you have any doubt, TAG AND BAG IT. Write a joke about the doubt and insert it in your set! Write THREE JOKES beginning middle and closing! If you want to write more, go for it!

MISDIRECTION: Write out the premise: I carried a bike down a hill infested with thorns. 1) What do we feel? Locate the emotion of the premise?  What’s the emotion here? Stupidity, anger, confused? SECOND, What’s the point of this premise? Why didn’t I think it through, why didn’t I leave the bike? Boy am I dumb! 3) Make sure the 3 amplifying statements are connected to the set up not the punchline. REMEMBER: the punch words is the one word in the PUNCHLINE that triggers the joke. We want the punch word as close to the end of the joke as possible!We begin the joke with the SET UP: Blue Berries are 5 dollars a pound. AMPLIFIERS: I carried a bike and two pails down a thorn infested hill for an hour to pick blue berries. PUNCHLINE Which means I get 5 dollars an hour for my work. (PUNCH WORD IS WORK.)

REMEMBER: I can be booked for KEY NOTES and WORKSHOPS and for CHRISTMAS PARTIES. You can see me on YOU TUBE, FACEBOOK AND MY WEBSITE. Our Stand Up Grad is OCTOBER 24. Invite your friends and tell them about my class please. Share my website please!!!

Stand Up Writing Class TWO: TAGGING A STORY.

I hope you had a great Thanks Giving and that you’re jornaling three pages a day about your set, joke writing and perspective, rehearsing, and working on your joke mechanics and making sure the punch word is AT the end of the punch line. Alright, great first class and second class!!!! For your homework next Monday October 15, have a FIVE TO SEVEN Minute set ready: a personal story with FIVE JOKES. If you can, make a few of these jokes from a different perspective.  RELAX, HAVE FUN! (REMEMBER, our energy on stage is what delivers our material. When you’re having fun so is the audience. If you’re afraid, so are they. Also: write jokes about your fears and share them in your set.  What ever you bring to class we can build off. These are the steps for your SECOND CLASS homework 🙂

We’re going to take a moment from your life and write some material for it. This is called, TAGGING. ( TAGGING: taking material from a story and amplifying it or writing jokes about the story.) When we take an idea and expand off of it, the stand up term is called TAGGING. Tagging is the same as building off or expanding.

Tagging and using it in on a memory or story from your life is different than lets say, writing jokes about the news: ( this genre is called TOPICAL MATERIAL. If you’re tagging the news, we learn about your opinions but don’t really learn about you. Real moments from your life solve this. Also, if you’re going to talk about religion or the news, you’re going to miss your business model, unless this is your business model.) If I play with a news story like a robotic lawn mower, I can QUESTION and Answer the PREMISE within the CIRCLE from different perspectives and come up with a joke like: “You can now buy a Robot Lawn Mower. How much does it cost? If you’re too lazy to get off the couch you can own a Lawn Robot for the low low price of, DIABETES!”

Now, if I have a story about lawn and yard work I can drop this joke into my set but what I’m asking is: 1) Locate a moment that really reveals you, a lawn story that you’re embarrassed or unsure you should to tell us. 2) Q and A EACH SENTENCE OF THE STORY and ask yourself what the vulnerable point is (punch line) and ask what we feel about the point-(premise) INSERT THE JOKE AFTER EACH SENTENCE. (you’re tagging each sentence. 3) Tape your story with it’s tags and rehearse it for Monday’s class.

EXAMPLE: I was in a Canadian Tire last January to drop off my fuel pump to get a new one, (TAG, I will have the punch line at the end of this information.) My wife must have thought I was going to Victoria’s secret because she said I could do my Christmas shopping 360 days early. Well, there wasn’t any lingerie but I still haven’t told my wife about the work bench I bought, so technically, it is a secret.  I thought of her and bought one of those rings you can slip through 18 plastic bags to make my wife’s grocery experience more pleasurable. For a year I told her I bought her a giant ring. I also got her an Edmonton Oilers steering wheel cover. Every time she grabbed her steering wheel, the cover screamed, began crying and demanded to be traded.  (TAG) I also got her a talking Christmas card that played The 12 days of Christmas; well it would of if the battery wasn’t almost dead 11 months later. When she opened it, the 1st day of Christmas played so slow, it sounded like Celine Dion on Demerol. Anyway, I do my shopping and drop my fuel pump off at the automotive department. I asked him if he had a new one. He says yes but asked me why I brought in my alternator.        I’ll tag this story for class. Please do the same. with your story. ( 5 to 7 minute story and five jokes inserted into your story.

REMEMBER: look at a sentence in your story: 1) Ask what the point is, look for more than one: the elephant in the room, the thing you don’t want to admit, from another perspective. This is the PUNCHLINE. Look at the PUNCH WORD, change it, try others.  2) How do you FEEL about the PUNCHLINE? Again, the deeper you look the better the PREMISE. have fun kids!!!

We’ll be playing with MISDIRECTION and FORESHADOWING  in the next class, CLASS 3

REMEMBER: YOU CAN SEE ME ON YOU TUBE AND FACE BOOK. You can also have me appear at your Christmas Party. Ask me in class about my work shops for your office and retreats. E mail me for any questions at: paulsveen@shaw.ca

Class I: September 24 Stand Up Writing

Thank you everyone for being in my class. It’s a big deal to me that you’re in my class. Thank you again all of you for being in Stand Up Writing!!! The first class was great. All of you shared your talent and creativity and were open to the lessons I was sharing: We talked about the basic structure of a joke: premise, punchline, punch word: example: PREMISE: I have a crappy car. I have an airbag. Punchline: But I have to blow it up myself. Punch Word: blow. ( REMEMBER: The more honesty in the premise, the funnier the punchline.)

BTW: Please remember to use the smaller note pad for your material and your set. Use the thicker note pad to JOURNAL 3 pages a day about jokes you’re working on, your set, the class but keep your journalling specific to the class. Use it as a vehicle to rehearse and sharpen your creative saw.

  1. Remember: Premise, punchline, punch word. Look at your premise and ask what is it I’m trying to say or afraid to say, the secret, the unspoken, the Elephant in the room. This unspoken/ over the top sarcasm is the punchline. The less emotion the more neutral or vanilla the joke is. When we use MISDIRECTION and add three amplifiers to the premise; the attention is taken away from the punchline by making extra reference to the premise.
  2. EXAMPLE: Be honest, most guys aren’t handy. (what’s the elephant in the room here? Guys are supposed to be MR tool man. So I add amplifiers to the premise and have:) “If we’re honest, most men aren’t handy. They’re immature, have low self esteem, and have boundary issues. His ex is thinking, if he can’t commit to a relationship, how the hell’s he going to commit to fixing a sink?”
  3. It’s a great exercise to write jokes from different perspectives. It’s also great to write jokes about what you know. Writing jokes fro a story from our life is amplifying our story, embellishing it. I call this framing.
  4. Take a 3 or 4 minute story from your life and ask and answer questions from a few different perspectives and answer the premise with as honest an answer that you can. This is the punch line.
  5. Put your premise in the circle and make the cross and insert 4 perspectives on 4 corners of the cross. Ask and answer questions from each perspective.
  6. Journal three pages each day on your material, story, Q and A’s premises and punchlines. If you journal around the questions and ideas of your set you will reap the benefits!
  7. HOMEWORK: Choose a 3 or 4 minute story from your life, a story that you think tells us who you are. REMEMBER, the more honest you are and using the elephant in the room about your life the better your set will be. HOMEWORK: 3 to 4 minute story with five jokes in it.
  8. if you have any challenges, E MAIL PLEASE 🙂 paulsveen@shaw.ca

On our anniversary, what I’ve learned from my wife Nernie.

The only way we can truly know someone is by giving of and being ourselves. My wife Nernie is the one single reason I’m on that journey. I know this sounds confusing. Let me explain please and also while I am explaining, not making this blog about me but about the amazing lady… who changed my life.

I met Nernie in a gym a long time ago. It was her beauty that got my attention but then her energy. She radiated this aura that pulled me toward her like a tractor beam. Of course my dysfunctional nature repelled her away. This is the part where I have to make this a little about me, it’s called back story. I have always been a way too sensitive, lonely insecure selfish desperate person trapped in scarcity. I’ve protected myself in this place and in my first meeting with Nernie she was a victim of it. I was anybody but myself when I met her, macho, loud, abrasive. I remember saying to her in my low goomba voice: “hey, the stepper you work out on is broken and um, yeah I wanted to tell you that and um, hey it’s leg day maybe you could give me a spot? ” I just remember thinking why am I being a jock, talk to her like I’m real, which was something I was incapable of.

Nernie exudes this healing energy, an empathy and compassion that kept pulling me closer to her. She was reading the same spiritual books I was reading when I met her and I had been on this metaphysical quest when we first met; I was on year 2 of a 4 year experience reading ‘A Course In Miracles.’ I was in this head space when I thought I knew what I was doing creatively and personally. I couldn’t have been more wrong. (years later we were watching an episode of Will and Grace and they did a joke about a Course in Miracles. Nernie laughed so hard she feel off the couch!)

Nernie is first and foremost beautiful but I mean inside as well also. She’s a person of action, her kind deeds to strangers, friends and any and all doggies, kitties, birds and bunnies is a never ending clinic on compassion. She’s just being who she is, herself.

This is where my challenge has always been. Here’s this incredible woman who has shown me every moment I’ve known her how to treat others and how to attract the life we dream, ‘GIVE.’ Yeah, really? Try live in a dysfunctional family of 8 and learn anything about giving. It’s not an excuse or maybe  it is. Dysfunction has taught me the freedom of blaming anything and everything on everyone else and not taking responsibility for anything. “Hey, why did you run naked through Walmart? I was raised in dysfunction. I take responsibility for nothing I do.”

Let me say, being insecure and terrified that I’ll never amount to anything has ingrained this bottomless scarcity in me, this infinite notion that I’ll never be or have enough and it’s really hard to wake from this habit. Nernie taught me that kindness to others and to myself was the place to start.  Since I met my wife over fifteen years ago we have bought a house, I’ve published a novel, recorded an hour comedy special on CTV and won a national award for teaching Stand Up.

I share these things not because I did them but because Nernie loved me enough to make me believe I could. Her love, kindness and heart melted my fears. She has taught me to feed the life we dream from my heart and to never quit.

We’ve been through a lot in the years we’ve been together, a lot of it heart breaking, the loss of her parents, my dad, changes in career. It was in these dark moments I really saw my wife’s strength, her undying faith in giving to those around her while her heart was breaking. She helps everyone around her first before she considers herself.

And now I realize how quickly life seeps past, days, weeks, months and years slip by like seconds until our last breath.  I will fight to create the life Nernie and I dream and use every ounce of my being to make that happen. I have more novels, classes and personal breakthroughs to reach with my spirit far beyond what my ego is screaming what I am.

Nernie had a dream a long time ago where I was pulling a rope out of me while I was on stage. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and all of them because I thought from scarcity and only of myself. Nernie has often told me she wasn’t sure what her purpose was and why she was here. I’m not my wife’s purpose but who I am are the results of her. Everything I am is a result of her love, tenderness and fire within.

Your purpose is to be exactly who you are right now my wife and nothing else. You have made an incredible difference in so many lives especially in the one of this reclamation. You saw so many years ago the man that I’m becoming through the woman you are. The rope I’m pulling out of me was always in your hands. Your’re the one pulling me from me closer to you. It was never about me. It was about that second so many years ago, a lost broken man had the incredible fortune of meeting his mirror, his love of his life you my wife… my soulmate.

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter. . . don’t mind.

Pauly loves Nernie, always.