Class Three: FRAMING.

We’re in a fast food, quick hurry, get to the point kind of World. If you want your material to work for you, whether you’re a STAND UP COMEDIAN,  WRITER, PUBLIC SPEAKER, in SALES, BUSINESS, TEACHER,( did I mention I have an award???) or in SOCIAL SITUATIONS; what ever the reasons you want to hone your HUMOR and CRAFT, remember this:
1) Be ALL IN ON YOUR STORY and CARE about what your talking about. 2) Know the emotion of the story. 3) Know the point. 4) EDIT OUT THE EXTRANEOUS tidbits. And develop the POINTS of the story.

Par exemplar; (Don’t be intimidated; that’s French for check this out) Look at this premise: I fell off the stage into the audience, the first time I was on stage: FALLING OFF THE STAGE. Why wouldn’t I share this? (We get our material from OUR STORY; the moments we’ve lived and moments that CARRY OUR THEME ARE UNIQUE. We also grow stronger as comedians, writers and people when we explore and develop our story. We also attract our audience from our stories. FRAMING IS: locating the moments in our lifer that make us memorable and then INSERT JOKES INTO OUR STORY SO THE JOKES AMPLIFY OUR STORY. THIS IS CALLED FRAMING.

My first time EVER on stage I fell off it. I’ll repeat that. The first time I was on stage TRYING STAND UP; I fell off it! I was the funny guy at parties, the loud obnoxious INSECURE guy starving for attention, the guy that knew a lot of jokes but not STAND UP, nothing about honesty vulnerability or being myself. (where our gold is) A comedy club opened and my drinking buddies coerced me to get up on stage and do what I did which was hide behind copious amounts of beer and decades old jokes. The MC called my name. I remember stumbling to the microphone as if I was about to be executed. It’s ironic, shortness of breath, night sweats, seeing a dark tunnel; the symptoms of COVID-19 are the same symptoms as performing stand up.I forgot who I was and why I was. I mumbled something about having to leave and stepped where I thought the stairs were. Ever done that? absentmindedly stumble toward a wadding pool and find out it’s a shark tank? The good thing about that is, you only make that mistake once. I walked off the edge of the stage onto a table. The table collapses and the drinks of the 20 people at the table explode on top of me. Up to this moment, this was thee single most humiliating experience of my life. I’ve had others since, picking a fight with triplets, parachuting into a Hudderite colony during a potato harvest… There’s a difference between being laughed AT and laughed WITH. Being laughed with, opens many doors. Being laughed at… has one door. The one you sprint through to escape the pain! The inability to be vulnerable attracted this life lesson. ( if I would have had the creative courage to tell the audience I was terrified they would have empathized with me and pulled for me.) One pinnacle element of creativity and purpose I’ve learned from 30 years of experience performing stand up in clubs, festivals, concerts, auditoriums, key notes for corporations, sharing humor work shops in colleges and in clubs, performing one man plays, writing plays, a novel, is: the ENERGY and EMOTION we emit is what we get BACK! If we’re terrified so is the audience. If we’re having fun, so is the audience.) While I was writing jokes for this; I came up with: “If you want people falling off their chairs laughing, fall off the stage!” (I could insert and start with this into my original story or FRAME.  The best way to write jokes is to locate the PUNCH WORDS in each sentence of the STORY/FRAME- FIRST. We did this with random PREMISES in class. Look at the POINT of the sentences in your story, ask the question and answer with sarcasm; see how many more different PUNCH WORDS you can come up with when YOU’RE going over different PERSPECTIVES in your story! (PUNCH WORD- the most important word in the joke.)

I want to look at being honest and vulnerable. This is another place on the circle instead of coming from trauma, humiliation and regret, which by the way, are still gold mines of hilarity.

What about another perspective, peer pressure of friends to get me to go on stage as a premise? “For every comedian’s first time on stage, there’s a dozen friends, family and co workers in the audience who’ve convinced their friend they’re hilarious. These are the same people in grade school who convinced their friend they could fly off the garage if they wore a cape.

Look at a moment from your life and write out all the HONEST VULNERABLE thoughts you come up with in the POINT OF EACH SENTENCE. Remember how we mined PUNCH WORDS? (Look at the KEY WORD in each sentence and see if you can insert a more emotional impact- full word. Lets mine the PUNCH WORDS from the EMOTIONS ATTACHED TO THE STORY!

I love this group, your passion and creative courage. I love the support and the laughs we’re having together. This truly is the Lemon aid, you legends of the Paul. ( am I really using that? The answer is yes. Yes I am.) Please share my website and tell your friends about my online class please. If you’re in a Book Club and have an Author series, I am able to talk online or can stand outside on the sidewalk and shout at a building; interested in booking me as a KEY NOTE or COMEDIAN FOR YOUR EVENT. E MAIL ME: paulsveen@shaw.ca