COLUMNS + ARTICLES
HUMOR IN DUBAI: A REFUGE FOR COMEDIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
When Michel Atieh decided to go to school in the United States, he chose the University of Michigan for a specific reason – it was close to Chicago, the home of Second City. Atieh, a Syrian national, was a regular performer at the Courtyard Playhouse, one of the premiere performance venues in Dubai and the only improv training center in the country. “With everything going on in Syria, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities in Dubai,” Atieh says. “America was the chance for a restart. Second City was part of the plan...”
The first time I saw Kristen Bartlett was in The Dead Dads Club, a show she wrote and performed with her husband, Jason Gore. Their fathers had died only months apart but, after dealing with some peculiar characters, they found a way to turn their grief into comedy. The sketches were as funny as they were touching. I left the theater and called my parents right away...
It happened like this: Earlier that day, he wrote, “In any event, we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to keep our country safe. The courts are slow and political!”
Feeling concerned for immigrants and their families — as that's who Trump was threatening with his proposed travel ban against Muslim-majority countries — I replied, “Trump is right. The government should protect the people. That’s why the courts are protecting us from him.”
In my defense, I did say he was right...
May the fourth be with you! That’s right, it’s “Star Wars” Day again — the holiday where fans dust off their best Yoda impressions and geek out about a galaxy far, far away. And just in time to celebrate, a new video marries the magic of the Force with the music of sold-out Broadway sensation “Hamilton.”
“Luke the Son of Anakin,” whose lyrics were written by comedian Nick Jack Pappas, tells the Skywalker saga to a tune from the smash musical about the ten-dollar founding father...
AS I WATCHED MICHAEL COHEN BEING QUESTIONED, I WAS REMINDED OF WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I SUED DONALD TRUMP
When I was blocked by President Donald J Trump on Twitter in 2017, I didn’t think much of it. In fact, it felt silly and surreal that a man in the highest office in the nation was so concerned about silencing a comedian on social media. It was only later, after I was contacted by the Knight Foundation about a lawsuit forcing him to unblock his critics, that I realised the true extent of what I had become a part of. President Trump’s entire life centres around protecting himself and surrounding himself with people to protect him.
THE MAGIC POWER OF HUMOR: LEARN THREE STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU CONNECT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE AND SPARK LAUGHTER.
Laughter is magical. For a speaker, it has the power to impart confidence. Nothing feels better than receiving a roar of approval from an audience after delivering your punchline. It can provide a boost of energy and propel you into the heart of your speech.
For a listener, laughter has the power to ease tension. Speeches that tackle serious and important subjects can be difficult to process. Lightening the mood helps the audience relax and pay more attention to your next point.
HOW TO BE THE FUNNIEST PERSON IN THE ROOM: DEVELOP THE MIND OF AN IMPROVISOR.
I'm not naturally the life of the party. Despite making a career writing comedy and telling jokes, I’ve spent a fair amount of my time standing against the wall, listening to the clinking ice cubes in my glass. For me, writing funny is easy—being funny on the spot is hard.
3 STEPS TO ADDING HUMOR TO YOUR SPEECH:
IF YOU’RE HAVING FUN, YOUR AUDIENCE WILL TOO.
Everyone wants to be funny. It starts with memories of the grade school class clown causing fits and giggles and taking eyes and ears away from the lesson at hand. We all learned early that, when it comes to getting attention, humor is foolproof.