Being able to laugh is a “must” for getting through life –says singer/songwriter Judith Owen
Whenever I have a serious belly laugh, tears running down my face, I feel marvellous. It’s such an exquisite, relaxing release.
I think that’s why I have to have comedy in my shows, to balance out the serious stuff and to put me and the audience at ease.
So here are my top tips for singers to bring humor back into their lives:
1.Watch stuff that makes you laugh.
For me it’s the talent sections of American beauty pageants. I’ve seen it all. Rachmaninoff piano concertos with half the notes missing, flight of the bumblebee on hand bells, while wearing head to foot red leather, and who could forget Missy Pitts – Miss Mississippi’s train wreck version of Barbra Streisand’s ” The Main Event”? It’s on YouTube people!
2. Watch more stuff that makes you laugh
I’m an Opera baby and I love Victor Borge’s version of a Mozart Opera… Truly brilliant.
3. Make a date to watch a funny show
There was this Frank Sinatra impersonator in LA, who me and my husband followed everywhere. He was so brilliantly bad! He’d sing just under the note, in between hacking into the mic (smokers cough), and seating people himself. It was pure genius.
4. Remember the weird venues you’ve sung in
I was singing on the back of a flatbed truck in Westport Mississippi (it’s a theme), raising money for the Howling Wolf museum. It was the height of summer and all I can remember is watching with horror as Mosquitoes the size of bats flew into the equipment and immediately turned to puffs of smoke!
5. Laugh at performance glitches
Every time the equipment fails, or there’s a power out, or anything goes wrong technically, the answer is in humor. Don’t get wound up or nervous, it’ll make the audience feel bad for you and on edge. Have a laugh and keep your cool.
It’s happened to me, many times over the years, and it can work in your favor to make light of it, tell a story, and be the consummate pro till “service” resumes!
6. Remember the funny things that happen in performances
I was doing a private house “salon” and out of the corner of my eye I spied a bloke getting more and more drunk. He slowly tipped forward inch by inch until he collapsed just by the piano leg and my left foot and remained there for the rest of the performance as no one wanted to A/ go near him and B/ distract me!
7. Find and tell some great jokes about singing and performings
My best joke about singing is actually too incredibly rude to repeat. Let me just give you the punch line: ” even Caruso had to clear his throat”… and leave it at that!
Of course another way is to bring humor into your life is to marry someone funny! (Judith Owen is married to Harry Shearer of The Simpsons)
I’m not a fan of people who take themselves too seriously. It must be awful to lose the capacity to feel young and silly (standard practice for musicians).
Humility is important and being able to laugh at yourself is a must, if you want to get through this life.
I love to have fun but I’m very serious about my work and both things should co exist.
So, as you work on your singing, do anything you can to engage your laughter!