Interlocuting Art and Comedy

My Joke Workshop begins 5-7pm this Thursday, February 9.

Participants are invited to assist in an exploration of both humor and learning with the purpose of finding parallels between humor and art. The workshop will be led by Post Graduate Torpedo Factory Resident,  Jay Hendrick and performance artist and comedian, Christine Ferrera.

Participants are invited to share in three prompted activities. The first activity invites contributors to bring their jokes that need work. It might be that the jokes require better phrasing, timing, or delivery. It might be that the jokes lack a punch line or perhaps there is only a punch line.

The second activity is a caption contest with visual prompts. Participants are invited to work together to create funny captions for pictures. Similar to the New Yorker’s caption contest.

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an early attempt creating a caption contest drawing

Finally, participants are invited to caption famous works of art.

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“Who put that dirty dish rag on the wall?!”

Cohosting with me is Christine Ferrera.

Christine Ferrera is an American triathlete, comedian and mother of eight (goldfish). She performs darkly absurd stand-up in clubs, conference rooms and crawl spaces internationally and has appeared as a peripheral character in several Nora Ephron films in her mind. Ferrera recently self-published a book about her decade-long correspondence with Starbucks Coffee Company titled, Starbux Diary: My 10-year Journey to Caffeinated Enlightenment, which was included in City Paper’s Top Ten Baltimore Books of 2015 and described as “Hilariously personal.” She has performed at the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival, Cleveland Comedy Festival, Chicago Women’s Funny Festival and will be featured on Wham City Comedy’s spring tour. She lives and works and eats and prays and loves in Baltimore, USA.

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Christine Ferrera pondering the mysterious universe

See more of her work at:

http://www.christineferrera.net

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I am still working out what I am trying to attain, but the following describes the motivations for this workshop.

I teach art classes and one of the issues I encounter is that students believe they do not have access to art. However, they consistently show me that they do have access to art though often they lack a vocabulary to discuss it. For instance, I show them a bottom heavy design and they recognize that the design has something wrong with it. They recognize that the bottom heavy design pulls the eyes down. They may not a cultivated language to address the design, but they have some ability to see when something is askew.

If these students have more access to art than they perceived then I want find methods to make them aware of this. I am trying help them see that they have access to art thereby allowing them to set aside preconceived notions about the necessity of talent, skill, or book knowledge. These preconceived notions slow down the process of confidence in making. If a learner can recognize early in the process that they do have access to art, then they can develop habits that contribute to future successes in thinking and working.

Thusly I seek other areas of interest to parallel with art. For instance, I ask them to discuss their likes and dislikes of food. I think the design of food is a good analogy for design in art. We understand why we like or dislike certain foods. I think this understanding is a counter to the situation wherein a learner does not believe they have access to art. I think that this situation could also be examined through comedy.

We know what we think is funny. We have access to the design of comedy. I am curious if joke design can be analogous to visual design. I am curious about the logistics of the joke. I am also curious about situations that lend themselves to successful design of jokes and if those situations are similar to what occurs with art.

There is a strange thing that happens when a person becomes an artist, they begin to see the potential for art in any situation. It might come from many hours looking at a thing and drawing it. I wonder if comedians have similar experiences. Do comedians see potential for humor in any situation?

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