Lately I've been inspired by what comedians do.
Not the school or office clown.
But the guy that gets paid to share his view of the world.
I very much believe that building an audience through a blog and through teaching are an important aspect to marketing yourself and your business. And a great way to build an audience and teach is to develop a point of view that other people don't have yet.
Comedians spend all day doing this.
Comedians also spend a great deal of time pointing out things that don't make sense. Things that are hilarious because of our foolishness. Things that need fixing.
One huge favorite of mine is Louis C.K. Here's a bit about him being broke and some of the absurdity that follows from it. Or how we take life and technology for granted to the point of feeling entitled to things: "Everything is so amazing and nobody is happy."
Another comedian that I've been following a bit, who most people don't even realize is a comedian is Matt Linderman who works for 37signals. For many of the people reading this blog, Matt is recognizable from his gig at 37. But Matt also does standup under a pseudonym. Here's some of his stuff on youtube.
What stands out to me is that Matt is one of the most prolific writers on the 37signals blog which is a pretty important tool for them to market their business.
Matt also cowrote the first book with Jason Fried at 37signals, and I believe is a big part of the second, Getting Real. (Oddly his name doesn't appear on their latest book Rework that was just released which I'm a bit surprised by. Maybe this was more an effort just from Jason and David this time. )
Any time he spends, opening up his mind to observe the world from different angles for use in finding comedy, exercises part of the brain that too often goes unused for most of us. The part of our brain that works on forming our unique opinions of the world.
We are good about coming up with opinions when we know other people already have had them. But most of us have a hard time sifting through our thoughts finding the things that are different and unique. And we also have a hard time sifting through and finding the things that we should be teaching others.
Matt and many of his fellow comedians though are working constantly at this, and I think a lot more can be learned from studying them.
Comedy is also a way of story telling that invokes a physical reaction. Which as writers and teachers we strive to accomplish and improve even if our material is a bit more... cerebral?
To study comedy a bit more as a way of expanding my mind and thinking, I've picked up a Groupon to take a class at Chicago's ComedySportz. I'll let you know how it goes.
Funny, in researching this post, I found Matt's favorite comedian is Louis CK :)
And here's another great one about standing up to failure.