Today, Tim Lovett and Kim “Boney” DeShields joined us today to talk about the power of comedy, and to inspire us to learn about being funny. As per usual, we started our meeting with participant discussion. We talked about our strengths, accomplishments, and goals. Then Tim, who is a professional comedian and a recent headliner at the Academy of Music in Northampton, began to tell us his story: He was raised in the area and became homeless about 7 years ago. He was getting help through services in the area, including our very own Amherst Community Connections. He eventually made it to technical college and graduated with a IT and security information degree. He made his way into the writing world, and joined the editorial board of a magazine and started exploring comedy. He’s been doing that ever since. We had a big turnout in terms of participant, and most were interested in interacting with everyone. Kim, Tim’s colleague, led some exercises to help us get out “funny bones” working. We went around the circle and made silly faces, played with the inflection of words, and more. Tim was less here to talk about how to be funny, but more about how to use humor to your advantage. He could tell us about the structure of the joke, the writing process, his own philosophy, and more, but his main piece of advice is that it starts with YOU. You can use humor to make light of bad situations, and to make people comfortable around you. We practiced telling our own jokes by telling stories and analyzing why they were funny. Hwei-Ling even introduced a game with prizes, in which the funniest person would get to have first pick of today’s lunch items. Participants were interested in hearing Kim’s and Tim’s tips for cleaning up jokes in order for the audience to understand them fully, and how to know if your material is good. Kim and Tim both got their start at Open Mics, where they could test their jokes on strangers. They talked about the importance of timing and practicing material. Comedians like Tim and Kim are often inspired largely by other artists, and have learned a lot from them. Tim’s time at open mics has taught him a lot about failure and recovery-- as he said, “even when you bomb [a show], you learn.” He gave his own piece of advice to us clearly: whether in comedy or in love, be yourself, love who you are, and don’t be afraid. Tim and Kim will be putting on the “Nacho Average Comedy” show tomorrow evening in Florence. See the flyer for details!
By: Sadie Mazur