By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
Kurt Cobain sang, "I wish I was like you, easily amused" in the song "All Apologies". That line always had me thinking about my amusement level vs. others’. In my late teens, Kurt took up half a wall of posters and pictures in my room. I wish he’d been with us longer.
Everyone has different levels of amusement, especially when it comes to humor. I love hanging out with my toddler nephews who seem to always be laughing. People talk about having a high-pain threshold. I used to think I had a high-humor threshold. Growing up, I remember everyone laughing at shit that I didn't find at all funny. I’d get the joke, or the dysfunctionality of it, but it wasn’t funny to me.
So in my twenties, I started going to comedy shows, reading joke books, and performing improv theater. I watched sitcoms, movies, and humorous speeches. I found tons of stuff I loved and that made me not just want to seek out more, but to understand the mechanics of humor. I noticed the way Eddie Murphy smirked after a punchline. Why was that funny to me? When I found comedians I liked, I paid attention to their style and delivery, as well as subject matter.
I’ve been going to comedy shows recently here in SF with my girlfriend mostly because I love laughing out loud, but I’m also learning new nuances in body language and tonality. Of course, getting too technical with humor can kill the joy of it. Here at Jaunty we teach spontaneous, witty humor while keeping it fun and genuine. We’re not fans of canned jokes. We want that unique in-the-moment surprise, that create bonds.
It feels so good being around people who make us laugh. When we play with the world, we have more fun and we attract people who appreciate our playfulness and perspective. Writer and humorist Leo Rosten said, "Humor is the affectionate communication of insight." Creating irony and intrigue with humor are a big part of creating new connections and deepening older ones. With humor, we create a unique experience and move beyond stale, surface conversations. We like to go deeper with humor, hence the term: inside joke.
Laughing feels really good. Millions of years ago, it used to be a sign of "Everything is okay," or "The coast is clear. We’re safe." As in "It wasn’t a crocodile behind that tree, it was just a log!"
Humor is one of my favorite things in the world and I love teaching aspects of it. At Jaunty we believe that everyone can get better at humor. Yep, it’s a learnable skill just like the rest of social intelligence. You can get better at humor, no joke. As Barbara Walters once said, "A good laugh makes any interview, or any conversation, so much better." And as a crafty crocodile once said, "I’m pretending to be a log!"