Since I started doing improv a few months ago, I’ve learned that comedy is like how Yoda instructs Luke on using the force: “There is no try. Do or do not”.
There are people who are funny. This is fine and good. There are people who are not funny. That is also fine and good. Live your life. And then, there’s trying to be funny. It’s synonymous with being “unfunny” or “painful”. It’s an attempt to achieve something but then failing, and the failing is far more painful than if you never tried at all.
I think of it as trying to throw out a piece of garbage from across the room. I’m sitting in my chair and I want to throw a tissue into the trash can ten feet away from me. If I make the shot, it’s awesome and I’ve won eternal respect as a sports god. If I choose not to shoot it at all and throw it out later, no one cares because I made no attempt. But if I shoot it and miss… we know how that feels and looks.
This is sort of what I learned when I auditioned for comedy troupes this fall. I initially went into it like a crazy person; I was going to plan jokes and characters out and prepare everything I could. But that was fake and would never work. I texted a friend about it and she gave me some simple but invaluable advice: “Don’t try to be funny. You can be quite clever when you relax”. And so I did. And it worked out.
Creativity cannot be forced. If it’s forced, it’s the same thing as trying. It comes out as fake and yucky. Creativity has to ooze out in it’s own natural state when allowed to do so.
In conclusion, watch Star Wars for comedic tips.