For the first 19 years of my life, I had been woefully ignorant of the brilliance that is “Singing In the Rain”. That movie is seriously fantastic and if you haven’t watched it yet. DO IT. NAO.
One of my favorite scenes is the “Make ‘Em Laugh” sequence–of note is a line in the beginning:
Though the world is so full of a number things,
I know we should all be as happy as
But are we?
No, definitely no, positively no.
Decidedly no. Mm mm.
Short people have long faces and
Long people have short faces.
Big people have little humor
And little people have no humor at all!
–Danny Kaye as Cosmo
He wasn’t necessarily talking about height. He was talking about personality. Big people are those who are confident enough in who they are–and who don’t let defeats and inconveniences get in their way. Long story short, they laugh it off. Little people on the other hand…aren’t quite as at ease with their failures and shortcomings. They refuse to laugh things off and take things way to personally.
We all look for happiness–and there are many ways to compare our happiness and judge it. But the end result should be our happiness.
What does that mean for us?
It means that we have a choice–a conscious decision to make whenever anything happens. Case in point: Back in High School, I rolled down a mountain. It hurt. It was dangerous. But when I finished rolling down the hill like a pinball, I saw nothing but the clear sky and felt the *wonderfully* solid ground and just laughed.
My mom was ahead of me and had no idea that I had fallen–it had happened too fast for anyone to react, really. My decision was to announce it as a joke. I lived, I knew that it was stupid and that I should never do anything like that ever again. I knew I was in pain and bleeding.
But was there anything I could really do about it?
The number one rule in improv comedy shows is to “just roll with it.” To not directly say no to anything done by an actor in the scene and to roll with what has already been created to get a perfect scene.
In our lives, we’re going to have stupidity after stupidity occur–each and every day. Here’s where our decision comes into play. Yes, we can just sulk and complain and b!tch and moan and get nowhere. Or, we can just roll with it. Now that it’s happened, it’s out of our control and we not have to adapt. We have to improvise.
Remember: “Improv” is one character away from “Improve.” We have to be earnest in our attempts to roll with it. While it doesn’t mean that we have to be ecstatic every time something doesn’t go to plan. It does mean that we have to elicit the energy to eschew that old method of thinking. C’mon Einstein: the stage is yours.