“What’s with all the jokes?”
Well, I’m glad you asked.
I’m a joke teller.
I don’t mean stand-up comedy, for those that have seen me, you know I am 7/10 on a good day.
I mean, telling jokes. In the bar, at restaurants, at funerals. That sort of thing.
Put simply, I love making people laugh. And I’ve missed it.
As you read this, think about how much ‘you’ there is in your personal branding, and maybe how doing something everyday can help people connect with you a little more…
“When did you start feeling funny?”
My grandfather (Grandy Pow) was my teacher. I didn’t stand a chance of escaping. He was a true master.
And he practiced the same jokes time and time again, with me looking up and watching how he perfected his delivery.
Maybe this is in good part why I have spent 5 years on and off as a student in San Francisco Comedy College, under the guiding hand of Kurtis Matthews.
But that is a little different. There is much more pride in writing your own material. My current joke telling is less art, and more science. There is a tried and tested formula – a funny joke – which I know ‘works’.
I still do stand-up. But my stand-up routines are often very techie focused, and a little forced when I am in front of a camera.
Art it seems, needs to be natural.
And comedy and tech are part of my brand – if you’ve seen my presentations on Social Media, you’ll know that already.
But it was around two years ago I was on stage in San Francisco talking about Google Glass and Oculus Rift (Virtual Reality).
My comedy writing partner, Adam Maclaughlin, is funnier than me. He even has ‘laugh’ in his name, dammit!
And I am hoping to continue to work with him towards a goal for 2016: doing stand-up joke telling that will be live streamed in Virtual Reality (or at least filmed).
But that is the punchline. Let me set it up for you a little better…
Why did I start telling jokes again?
In late November, there was so much ‘Trump’ and ‘gun stuff’ and ‘ISIS’ in my stream that I just felt I needed to lighten things up. Mainly for my benefit – I just wasn’t laughing as much as I wanted. Things felt tense. And I wanted to move into a different psychological space.
As such, I started a new daily practice – Joke of the Day.
‘Joke of the day’ (on Facebook) serves many purposes, including having something fun to share daily, a test on YouTube (once the time is right) as to whether I can get jokes to rank (scroll down here to see more: https://goo.gl/ykbWu8 – geeky, I know), and generally something that makes people laugh. I like that most of all.
Jokes help you find common ground; and it is hard to hate someone once you’ve had a good laugh with them.
As has been the case for years, one extra benefit is personality integration – so there is less of a ‘me here’ and ‘me there’, and my presence on Facebook is very much part of this.
You will have to be riding the knife edge of getting unfollowed, but that is ok.
Most of the jokes are ‘Dad Humour’ and a lot of then are puns.
But there will be some ‘on the edge’ too.
The decision to use the word ‘vagina’ in a recent joke, and send it into the stream, was not taken lightly.
(btw, wasn’t ‘Vaginas in the Stream’ a Dolly Parton song? Ok, maybe not.)
Some people won’t like the humour, and I am ok with that. We all need to find our audience if we are going to be using social to build our personal brands – and there can be a tendency to be bland, reducing risk to keep people happy that may not actually like us anyway.
Being brave, and being authentic, doesn’t require anything more than simply us being ok with simply being who you are.
Most people know me for writing about ‘Google’, but joke telling is part of who I am.
I am not expecting a call from Jimmy Fallon anytime soon, but in terms of building a personal brand, it is all part of the journey. And doing one thing a day is not remarkable, but doing one thing a day for 365 days could be.
Especially if I get that gig sorted in Virtual Reality. Now, where’s my agent? Let’s get this show on the cloud.