When was the last time you had a good laugh? If it’s been awhile, now might be a great time to change all that. Susanna Spies is a California-based comedian and teacher. Her classrooms, however, are not young up-and-coming actors or comics hoping to become the next Bill Cosby, Bob Hope or Jerry Seinfeld. Au contraire! Spies heads up a program called Senior Standup “SSU.” We agree with the SSU motto that laughter is ageless. So why not get down to funny business?
The SSU program uses group sessions held over six weeks to help participants ages 55 and up connect with their inner comic. Taking notes, such as “Name something you really dislike and why – it could be a behavior, an object, a smell, a vegetable…” or, “Name your strangest location for a date” is one source of inspiration. Answers to simple questions become “starters” for comedy. A facilitator can read some of the responses and ask questions to be answered aloud or, if your group is eager to take the stage, start passing the microphone and sharing those answers. Another approach is called “rants” – where anyone can take the microphone and share their pet peeve and why.
As seniors, we’ve had incredibly diverse experiences throughout decades of life. Talk to your activity coordinators about creating a comedy class. Local theater groups may also be a great resource to help create your material. Ask them to help you learn more about creating funny business in your group. Once a plan is under way, top off the fun with a special Open Mic Night or Comedy Celebration of participant routines for family, friends and community.