Last night I had dinner with a small group of friends from college. One of them directs a foundation that seeks very creative and off the grid projects to fund, under the broad umbrella of education. She spoke about a new initiative that is incorporating comedy training as a form of empowerment for girls. Being a woman and a comedian is still a largely uphill battle, largely because truly funny acting requires one to look ridiculous at best, and straight up ugly in many cases. And disrupting the massive global cultural pressure for women to appear sexually desirable at all times is no walk in the park, for women or men.
Humor allows us to access difficult subjects and places in our psyches in a way nothing else can. It lets us touch taboos, heal pain, and can wake us up to a perspective or reality we’ve not previously really understood. At exalt we employ strategic uses of comedy for all of these purposes. When we’re preparing students to learn how to interview for jobs effectively, we acknowledge stereotypes they face as well as practical obstacles that can prevent them from gaining employment - like lack of education. Rather than lecturing them on the necessity of going to school, we let the Wayans brothers parody the subject. Two minutes of comedy can be more useful than hours of anything else.