It often seems that comedians on the television have to resort to shock tactics in order to get someone to laugh. It’s almost like without innuendo, foul language and crudeness we, as an audience, will not laugh.
On Friday I was hugely excited to be performing in ‘Right Here Right Now’ an improvised comedy night hosted and created by Riding Lights Theatre Company. The whole point of an improvised comedy night is that anything could happen; the audience give the performers the ideas and then (hopefully) hilarity should follow on from there. The problem with the premise of ‘anything could happen’ is just that, anything could happen! From a standpoint of professionalism I don’t want to resort to crudeness because it’s less inventive, frankly takes less brainwork and is therefore more of a hollow victory if you do ‘get laughs’, but from a moral standpoint I have objections as well.
It’s a fairly well known piece of scripture Matthew 15: 18-19 ‘18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart,and these defile them.19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.’ Jesus was clearly saying that we need to be careful about what comes out of our mouths. It’s what we say and how we act that determines the sort of person we are and also demonstrates to others a different way to live.
If we are to be ‘in the world and not of it’ then we will be exposed to all sorts of things. People working with those who have drug addictions shouldn’t stop just because they don’t agree with taking drugs; or, if we stop socialising with friends because their vocabulary is offensive then what kind of witness can we be? It is our actions that count and our actions that show our friends, family or work colleagues that there is another way to live. We are surrounded by things the bible says could ‘defile’ us, and in many ways it is so easy to just conform. But maybe you can piqué someone’s curiosity or start a conversation about why it is that you act and speak differently. To quote Gandhi ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’. If you want to see less people swearing, resorting to crude humour, getting drunk, talking about people behind their backs then ‘be the change you want to see’.
Blog Post by Michael Perkins
Michael is on the Student team at St Michael le Belfrey. He has spent the past two years working for Riding Lights!