Comedy Clubs are where I first began realizing how humor can be used as a motivational tool, especially with but not limited to high school students and people with disabilities. Whether they have a Family or a business or both, anyone facing challenges find the courage to face their challenges with gusto when they hear my humorous and courageous description of relearning to walk and talk and drive. The sister of a teenager with disabilities told me that hearing my story and the audience’s enthusiastic response motivated her disabled sister to try to get her drivers’ license back. This and similar experiences inspired me to focus on blending my jokes into my personal story instead of continuing to focus on straight standup comedy.
In my experience, getting high school students to listen to useful and helpful information is easier when I share interesting stories that hide the fact that the topic is supposed to motivate them toward being the best they can be. Motivating them with a story is only possible when the story is either interesting in itself or has a punch line that makes them laugh out loud, thereby camouflaging the lesson being taught.
As a disabled motivational humorist, using the principle that the best humor is based in reality and remembering that reality is sometimes debilitating, I see the world as a place that would be a lot more pleasant if folks would just lighten up. Sure there’s plenty of reasons for us not to laugh. There’s plenty of reasons for us to be sad and depressed, but there’s also plenty of reasons for us to laugh, to lighten up, to not take ourselves so seriously.
So yes, sometimes I make fun of different aspects of my disability. Why? Because things get smaller when they’re made fun of. For years, my disability was so big in my mind that I couldn’t make fun of my speech impairment, my bad memory, or how having my left side paralyzed causes me to walk in circles. An intoxicated comedy club patron complained to a club owner that it’s wrong for a comic to “act handicapped just so he can make fun of handicapped folks.”
What? Why was she acting brain damaged? Was she trying to steal my gig? If I was gonna pretend I’m something I’m not, I’d for sure pick something cooler to act like than a brain damaged comic.