Hallelujah! Humorous Interpretation has returned to the NCFCA. We should all celebrate our triumph in overcoming the great injustice that has been the last two humorousless years. How could they have done this to us? Do they even care? Well, it may come as a shock, but the answer is a resounding yes. They care for the judges who were forced to sit through eighty minutes of poorly timed jokes, an overuse of Patrick McManus, superficial characters, and hyper teens using Humorous as an excuse to be obnoxious. This event was misused for years, and it is my hope that it’s return this year will be stronger and more powerful than ever.
I am not by any means opposed to Humorous, quite the contrary, it was my favorite event. Not only that, but I am currently majoring in the study of comedy in college, and I have always been severely disappointed in the lack of depth in humorous interpretation. This event has the potential to be as well researched, and make just as much of an impact, as any informative or persuasive. I am often laughed at when I explain the choice I have made to pursue comedy as a career, and that is yet another underestimation of this incredible tool. Humor has a deeper power in conveying a message and portraying true empathy than anything else.
Satire has long been used as a tool of social commentary, and from Voltaire, to Mark Twain, humor has been wielded as the sword of truth. Comedy points out that which is true and ridiculous at the same time, and the audience ends up simultaneously slapping their knees and nodding their heads. They laugh, and then they are sobered, and moved to action. The process in creating a speech that carries this kind of impact, begins with choosing a piece of literature that makes a statement of truth. That means a piece that follows an honest and empathetic character, illustrates strong morals and values, or takes the judges on a purposeful journey.
Once you have selected your piece, from there, it is important to take the time to develop three-dimensional characters. Truly funny characters are much deeper than a silly accent or an odd walk. Comedic characters require a deeper level of background and emotion that the judges can resonate with. This means fully understanding the character’s story, and the author’s intention for the character, and only then building your expressions and physicality from those truths.
We often find ourselves thinking that humor is something to be separated from all the serious stuff, and this is where the cheesy and superficial tendencies start to kick in. I encourage you to break that cycle by choosing a cutting that strikes a special chord with you, extracting that message in your introduction, and executing it with fully developed characters. There is no denying the unmistakable power of humor. We need to challenge our tendencies, with the perspective that humor can have a deeper purpose.
Nina is a Lasting Impact! Coach, if you want to grow your characters to add humor and laughs, schedule a coaching call with her.