Chose Fun

In his history of improv, Sam Wasson wrote about the comic genius of Bill Murray. Bill came to Second City and was bombing. No one wanted to work with him. The audience wasn't laughing. What was he to do? Take extra classes? Give up and go home? What he decided to do was "shift his inner magnet away from himself, toward chance, the other person, and wait for their invitation to transform again." Bill realized he had become paralyzed by fear; fear of dying on stage.

One of my favorite things to do in my improv workshops is to push the actors into making better and smarter choices. When an actor makes a choice in a scene, I will ring the bell and say, "Make another choice." I don't just to it once. I takes until the third try, when the actor has given up being funny and just lets go, that it gets good. So what Bill Murray did was make another choice. He decided that with every thought and action, he had to choose fun. The more fun he had, the better his scenes became. Wasson quotes him as saying, "Comedy is not effortless. The key is to get in a good humor - to have fun."

I have to admit that during this extended "stay at home" order, it's harder to choose fun. All the things I used to do to have fun such as dinner with friends, going to the theater, rehearsing a play, are now off limits. That should not, however, change my attitude towards life. The fear of dying, the boredom of staying put, the hassles of telecommuting, don't change the basic reality of life. Murray says comedy is not effortless. Scripture tells us we are to be fools for Christ. I see comedy and being Christ-like as pretty much the same thing. You have to get in a good humor. I think of the old joke; Why can angels fly? Because they take themselves lightly!

When we stop thinking so highly of ourselves and believing the world revolves around us, we can let some things go. We can stop sweating the small stuff. There is very little in life we can actually control. One of the few things is our attitude. We can choose to look for the beauty and not the ugly. We can choose to think of others more than ourselves. We can choose how we respond to all that life brings us. It is not effortless. When you hear yourself being negative or discouraged, think of my improv bell. If it helps, get one and keep it handy. When your thoughts become negative and your words harsh, ring that bell and make another choice. Choose fun!


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