By Tatyana Nyborg
Metro Campus Associate Editor
On Oct. 3, Jason Watts, owner of the Comedy Parlor bar and restaurant, located in the Blue Dome District, taught a class on how to be a good comedian at the Tulsa Community Center (TCC) Center for Creativity.
“Comedy is a healthy thing and not a moral thing,” Watts said. “Comedy is a pulse reaction to something.”
“If you laugh at something, it means you have objectives to it,” he added.
Watts stated that comedy is very simple and every day brings humor.
Then the comedian engaged the participants of the “I Can’t Be Funny” workshop in games, which led them to understanding the basics of comedy.
The first game was a physical exercise with funny movements of hands, arms and legs in order to relax the body so the mind could relax, too. Watts gave unusual names to the movements, such as “tiki-taki,” “bunny-bunny,” and “zumba-zumba.”
It was followed up by another game called “Yes, End.” Each person had to say a random word based on a task.
Two other individuals paired a “two-headed” person and had to continue the sentence.
The subjects, such as sports, weekend favorite things and politics, were explored in the game. Inconsistency in interaction and the talking of “one-headed” and “two-headed” participants brought laughter.
Watts explained that improvisation was one of the cornerstones of modern comedy.
“Improvisation keeps me honest and sharp,” he said. “We celebrate our individual perspectives and appreciate diversity in a comedy performance.”
Another game was telling a story together. Every member of the audience had to contribute to the narrative with his or her own words.
The story got unexpected, funny twists because the audience consisted of people with different backgrounds, ages, gender etc.
Watts emphasized the importance of engaging the audience in the comedy act.
“The performer (comedian) is always dump, but the audience is smart,” he said.
Watts advised to use metaphors to create comedy. He offered a game “How love is like.”
The comedian asked the participants of the workshop to finish his metaphors about love. For example, he said that “our love is like bread.” The audience had to find a metaphor, something like “because it takes a lot of dough” or another expression.
The comedian compared love to an airplane, Lego building blocks, peanut butter, a monster and a dog.
The audience was laughing at the games and throughout the entire workshop.
The “I Can’t Be Funny” class was part of the “I Can’t” workshop series organized by TCC.
For more information about “I Can’t” workshops at the TCC Center for Creativity, contact Annina Collier, dean & George Kaiser Family Foundation Endowed Chair at (918)595-7050.