Last Thursday saw The Comedy Trust visit BBC Radio Merseyside to host a ‘Well Funny’ workshop. The course aims to help the participants’ mental health and well-being through comedy. This workshop in particular gave older people the chance to be nostalgic as they tell funny stories, talk about what makes them laugh and socialise.
Sam opened the workshop by performing a routine that discusses comedy and how people find different things hilarious – especially if it involves someone falling over or tripping (unharmed of course!). He then went on to talk about Liverpudlian humour and how Scousers are known for being very hard to please. After filling the room with some old-school jokes (“No, I am Kirk Douglas’ son!”), he then asked the participants to pair up and do an exercise which sees them count from 1-3, eventually replacing the numbers with bizarre sounds and actions. This helped everyone see how important communication is in comedy.
The second activity was all about looking at what words and/or phrases make you laugh and why. Everyone split into smaller groups of four and the room was suddenly alive with conversation and laughter. Hearing their stories was great as you got a glimpse into their lives and how comedy has helped to shape it. There was also an awareness of how comedy in their day contrasts with what young people may find funny today.
The third activity was all about body language and how that can affect not only stand-up, but regular conversations. Everyone went back into their pairs and one person spoke about something they love to the other. The listener initially had to evoke positive body language by nodding and actively responding to what they were being told. After a couple of minutes they then had to swap their body language by turning away and not keeping eye contact as they speaker carried on talking. This showed how different responses can affect a routine.
The next and final activity saw the participants talk about what TV shows made them laugh (Keeping Up Appearances and Bread were very popular choices) and then reflecting on funny stories from their lives that made them laugh which included a Sainsbury’s night out and false burglars.
The workshop was a great success and several of the participants said how it helped them meet new people and how interesting it was to hear what other people found funny.