Benefits of Comedy: Confidence and Self-Esteem
As if public speaking isn’t scary enough, we comedic performers like to add the element or, shall I say, risk of appearing silly. Sometimes we’re blessed with that generous audience filling the room with uproarious laughter that validates our life choices, and other times we are not so lucky. Hello crickets.
Why would we take these risks when the latter seems so terrible that we would immediately want to hide under a rock? Well, here’s a little secret - the more you do it, the less scary it is. Plus, the world of comedy provides us with many helpful tools that we can apply to other areas of our lives.
Focusing on the benefits of comedy, here’s why comedy can boost confidence and self-esteem:
Take the Stage
The stage manager calls out “Places!” and suddenly you can’t move. To overcome your sense of stage fright and unglue your feet, you have to make the conscious choice of being a confident person. Tell yourself, “I am brave,” force those feet to center stage, and fully commit to the delivery of your first few lines. Use your adrenaline to your advantage and get hyper-focused on fulfilling those simple tasks.
It’s a form of disassociation from your fears and embracing a self-assured character until the sense of ease takes over. Once you get that first laugh, you’re assumed persona slowly blends into your authentic self. A self that exudes confidence subconsciously.
It’s Your Audience
Changing your mindset is an important tool in becoming more confident. One way a performer practices this is by remembering that the audience is rooting for them. Having to stand in front of a group of people, staring at you, waiting to be entertained, can make a performer spiral into negative self-talk. Time to crush that inner critic and focus on positivity.
Unless you’ve created some actual enemies out there, the audience is yours. They bought tickets because they want to be entertained and you’re just the ticket. Hey, a pun! Would you spend $80 on a steak and assume that the first bite is going to be mediocre? Remind yourself of the times you’ve sat in a theatre as an audience member eagerly waiting to see a great show.
So, walk out on that stage knowing that they’re on your side.
Share a Laugh
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” - Victor Borge
You know that feeling you get when you share a laugh with someone? It feels good doesn’t it? That’s because studies show that having a laugh together creates a sense of bonding and safety. When we feel safe, we become more confident. As you make your audience roar with laughter, your confidence will shine through.
Embracing comedy in different parts of your life, like a school project, a work meeting, or a simple conversation with a friend, you create a safe environment that brings your group closer together.
Learn to Laugh at Yourself
In the world of comedy, you have to learn to use your ego and then lose it. Embrace your ego when you’re committing to your confident persona and putting yourself out there initially. Trusting your material and character choices will ground your performance in believability.
However, eventually, you will need to learn to put that guard down to grow as an artist. When ego takes over and a performer is not getting the desired response from an audience, they will appear bitter and judgmental, creating a very uncomfortable atmosphere. Audiences do not want to be judged, especially when they were initially rooting for you, remember? This detrimental cycle can be easily avoided.
Letting go of your ego will allow you to openly accept criticism. By learning to accept what doesn’t work and laughing at yourself, you will be able to perform with a sense of gratitude and embrace change. You’ll learn how to work the room and find the audience that encourages you. You’ll use their verbal cues to perfect your performance and go with the flow.
These are just some ways that comedy can help boost your self-esteem. But there are even more ways that comedy can provide you with tools to help you succeed in your scholastic, business, social and personal life.
We hope you’ll learn to embrace the power of silly!