It wasn’t until I studied with Michael Shurtleff that I understood what humor really was and the importance of using it in my work. In life I was funny: I was the joker in school. I made people laugh. I knew how to find the jokes in a script, how to set them up and pay them off, but the concept of “humor” was foreign to me.
For the uninitiated, humor isn’t about being funny. It is the attitude toward life without which we all would have thrown ourselves off a bridge long ago. Humor is not jokes. It is the coin of expression between human beings that makes it possible for us to get through the day.
Humor is the first thing human beings inject into a tense or emotionally charged situation. If you’ve ever been to a friend’s ...