Transcript for "Laughter - with Abby Wambaugh"

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00:00.00 podcomm Hello I’m Craig Constantine Hi Abby Thank you for taking the time as I say to everyone because I mean it I Love to I’ve been starting off lately with like a free association kick where I just say a word and then we just kind of go from there and.

00:00.72 Abby Hi I’m Abby Wamba hi.

00:19.18 podcomm I’m torn between tossing the whole podcasting concept aside and going wait tell me more about standup comedy and pulling on the thread of different Formats. So just because it’s completely random tell me about the advertising that you created for the sponsors I’m air quoting people can’t see. Tell me about the advertising that you created when you were first experimenting with creating a podcast.

00:42.12 Abby Okay, well I made a podcast a 7 episode podcast called why we laugh? um during pandemic times I was starting to do comedy stuff and um I studied humor and social change in college which. Maybe maybe I’m the only person that’s ever had that as their major and I wanted to look at that again I wanted to like think about why people laugh ah like what’s the purpose of Laughter. So I interviewed um. Ah, interviewed really cool people people said yes and I was shocked but I interviewed um the his.

01:24.49 podcomm Isn’t that isn’t that neat as a giant gateway like I have a microphone. Do you want to sit in front of it. Yes, you go get.

01:29.00 Abby Um, it was really wild I mean some of the people said yes because they had to because they’re my friends and 1 of those people is like um ah psychologist expert. Um and she talked about like laughter and connection. 1 person was the inventor of laughter Yoga who’s also a medical doctor Anyway, I made these interviews and the format of interviewing It was interesting to me because I like to talk to people but it felt like not my genre like.

01:49.61 podcomm Um.

02:04.43 podcomm Um.

02:06.42 Abby Ah, but then I was like oh how could I make this more myself and break this up a little bit and um I realized that I needed to make little commercials. Ah for sponsors for my podcast but I didn’t have any sponsors so I made them up. And then I did like 30 to 1 minute thirty second to 1 minute commercials that I released actually that you can email me for if you want them for your podcast. You can email me at sponsors. Ah.

02:33.92 podcomm I want to hear 1 d can you do 1 off the top of your head if you do standup comedy can you do 1 off the top of your head.

02:38.99 Abby Well, they’re like um, like there ads for things like houseplants and beanba chairs and voicemail the voicemail 1 Ne’s pretty easy to do because it’s like are you listening to this podcast and thinking hey i. Like to ask interesting people questions I have things to say maybe I should start a podcast Well don’t there are plenty of podcasts out there and maybe you should start with a voicemail like something like that voicemails are ninety percent more likely to reach their intended audience like.

03:04.69 podcomm Um.

03:13.99 podcomm Ah, that’s good.

03:16.39 Abby Um, so it was really fun and that part was like I like ah the format of audio really grabbed me I was like I would have an idea I could write a few lines and then I could figure out with like relative ease how to tell that story quickly like. How to find I found this cd in the cd I found an album of like corporate song recordings I forget the guy’s name scott something and I maybe I can share it with you somehow, but it was like I listened to a couple of these soundtracks. And I was like oh I’m so inspired so I made like a bunch of ads that were just silly based on like the kind of music that’s in like the background of don’t sexually harass your employee employee videos like it’s really fun. Yeah.

04:08.70 podcomm Ah, right, There’s music in there right.

04:13.16 Abby Yeah, so that was really fun and then like that felt just like I made 6 or something of those in like I don’t know in 1 day because I just it was like it caught me like it was feverish creation and then I would stick. Yeah.

04:25.72 podcomm Yeah, Creative fever. Yes.

04:30.37 Abby And then I stuck those in the in the podcast in the interviews and as like brought to you by our sponsors like beanbag chairs and inflammatory opinions and then I would play the ads and it just it made the podcast feel like a lot more mine and like oh like. This I did I made this This is part part me yeah.

04:50.92 podcomm Is your how Um how I get 2 questions I don’t know which to ask I Want to ask? How has what you did and what you experimented with and what you learned from podcasting affected or informed your standup comedy and I also want to know. Are you going to make a podcast that is a derivative or drawn from your stand-up comedy material so to unrelated questions smash them together and answer them.

05:15.41 Abby Um, yeah, well I think that’s interesting like I started I took a podcast that podcasting workshop. Um, because I was home with my kids and I like needed. I wanted to figure out a way a more dynamic way to make something other than writing when performing wasn’t like an option I had just started doing standup I started doing standup in 2020 and no, but like a year ago and then things closed down in Denmark again and. Um, I so I like kind of grabbed at like what can I do that feels like more layered which is like exactly what learning to edit audio and making things like that was for me and then I made this. Um. This piece for ah for it wasn’t for the workshop but it was at the end of it. There was like this. Um this festival this audio festival coming up and it had open submissions and I am like a sucker for a deadline like I love. Like oh this is a thing you can submit to and you have to do it by this day I’m like great. That’s the only way I’ll do anything. Um, so I made this piece that I was like I was working a lot on writing at the time and like exploring like gender identity stuff. Um, and I’m a parent and I was like I really ah like I I’m nonbinary and a parent and I really feel like I’m I like I’m a mom still like my kids call me mom and um so I made this piece kind of like being like is that a laugh like am I ah can I do like what are the rules like do I have to change my pronouns.

07:03.14 podcomm Um, is this flying.

07:10.52 Abby And um, because and I pulled this piece from my journal entries and I really did get to like layer it and make it into like I thought of it like as a thought scape which I don’t know if that’s an ah existing term. It feels like 1 to me but like where I like.

07:24.86 podcomm Yeah.

07:28.74 Abby Like layered the thing so it felt like what was happening in my head when I wrote this stuff and and then that actually that piece really became this standup set this five minute standup set that like got me into the finals of this big competition in the u k and like. Signed with a manager this month like it’s like and it really like was great for me that I had this audio piece that I really got to look at like as this dynamic expression of these things and then I like you know I I sharpened jokes from it and stuff and it but it’s. Informed my standup a lot I think like having this thing that felt more private I think that’s what it was like I felt like I could explore more vulnerable themes alone with a microphone than I would have really wanted to like see if it was funny on stage. Necessarily because it felt really true and like scary. But then I did it myself for this thing and then submitted it to 2 things and I just found out like I made it like in March but I just found it. It got accepted. It’s going to be published on transom. Um, and so that’s really exciting. Ah, thanks yeah, but yeah, it definitely has impacted my standup a lot just like getting to try things in a private way. Um, and see if I like them listen back and like reflect.

08:47.41 podcomm Congrats.

09:00.88 podcomm Ah I’m I’m hearing you talk about like private reflection versus like standup comedy the I hadn’t really thought about standup comedy as a way of reflecting on but I guess there has to be a so there has to be a feedback loop about is this material working. Keep it if this material’s not working Chuck it um have you.

09:16.60 Abby Yeah.

09:20.57 podcomm Tried have you been able to take anything from podcasting like and I’m imagining like my brain’s going what would happen if you had a cardboard cut out of yourself and a microphone and you did the stand-up comedy.

09:31.84 Abby Um, yeah.

09:35.71 podcomm Out of sight. You know so like they’re just looking at like a static image of you if you turned it into a like oh it’s a podcast kind of thing I don’t know I’ve never done standup I haven’t.

09:42.24 Abby Do you have you have you? do you know? Sarah Sarah Shaefer Sarah Shafffer is a podcaster who also is a comedian. No well better. She did it like this is a great idea. This is what she during the pandemic she built. She’s an incredible artist like I mean I want you.

09:47.50 podcomm I Know this has been done. Yeah, no.

10:00.50 Abby If you’re listening look up me but also like really look up Sarah schiffer because she’s like a genius she she made a like a doll house version of a comedy club called the ha ha hole and she invited and she made little dolls of comedians and she she put them. In the standup thing and then she did like zoom shows she still is doing them zoom shows where she um like has a convenient as like a little doll in the ha ha whole club like perform with like their voice. And so anyway she has done that and it’s incredible and her artwork like her. She’s her. Her podcast is also really really good and she’s yeah, anyway, but that’s cool people have done that and it’s pretty It seems pretty neat.

10:50.24 podcomm Um, once again, everything in the world that I’ve ever thought that I ever thought of has already been done. Yeah, sometimes when you ah got a great idea and then you start looking, We’re like oh this has been done. Not only that there’s a whole competition for it. Oh good.

10:54.28 Abby I Know isn’t it the worst but it’s also kind of the best so you can’t screw it up too much. Yeah, you know I do I feel that too I feel like relief sometimes like.

11:07.72 podcomm I can leave it alone. You know.

11:14.00 Abby I Had really um, like big ideas about what I thought education should look like I was I’m ah I was a teacher I do still teach sometimes and I was like oh and then I kind of like found out that people were doing that stuff and there I already existed and I just felt like oh great. And I don’t have to that sounds really good I can just do stand in comedy and play with and make pretend advertisements.

11:32.44 podcomm Ah, yeah. Um.

11:44.26 podcomm If somebody’s um, I’m I’m wondering about the transformative power of getting up on stage. However, big that is and trying to do something on Purpose. So like. I’ve often heard talk of the power of yes and as a tool that you refine when doing Improv and I got to believe there are similar life lessons or similar things that you can take away from doing stand-up Comedy. So if somebody is somebody who’s a podcaster is listening and so let’s say they’re good at the.

12:05.39 Abby Um, ah yeah.

12:22.79 podcomm The internal the private type of reflection and refinement. But it’s all 1 way. Nobody can throw a tomato at you from your podcast. Um, what are your thoughts on and on how and should we encourage people to maybe step out from behind. The audio only to maybe try it in person.

12:40.81 Abby I really think that well I think that for me I was writing about I was writing about this this morning I’ve been writing about it this week that like as a standup comic sort of like ah I think a trap you can fall into is that like. Um, that it’s like embarrassing to be an optimist like it’s like when you do stand up count like people are like oh and this is what’s wrong and this is what’s wrong and this is what’s wrong and um I don’t know I was just I was thinking about that and that if I were gonna like encourage.

13:02.97 podcomm Um.

13:19.10 Abby Someone I would be like just like try things out and like don’t just fall into what’s already out there. But I think that like the thing about standup that is so cool. I’m sort of like now I’m going to start releasing clips and like I’m ah nervous about that I’m I’m nervous about putting recordings out there that people can like watch in any room at any time whereas like because what’s cool about standup is you go up there. You do like five minutes you do. Whatever amount of time you get up there for and you get to try out whatever you want to try out with immediate feedback like that is really I mean it’s it’s kind of the best thing you like immediately know. If something’s working the way it is and if it’s not how much you you want to make it work and like what you can try next time and you know with like podcasting with audio editing you can like immediately tinker you can tinker yourself to death. Um and with it.

14:16.94 podcomm Um, by a thousand tankers. Yes.

14:25.16 Abby Yeah, Justed by 1000 tiners but like with standup you got to like go back and you got to run through it. You got to like think about how much it’s worth that thought is worth to you that thought that you like had in the shower got out like got your notebook wet and then like you did it on stage and people were like what.

14:42.50 podcomm May.

14:44.28 Abby Like what do you? Yeah like um, but then you’re like but how yeah I don’t know it’s a I think it’s it’s like if you want if you have the impulse to try Standup. You should just try Standup. You should absolutely try it because I think about the first time I did it and I almost. I don’t think there’s a single joke I did the first time I did standup that I still do but I never would have known what works for me and what I wanted to feel like on stage like you just to have to. Like do it and play with it and it is like it’s different than podcasting because it’s not private. You just you’re figuring it out in front of everybody and that’s I think what people are scared of but it’s really it’s it’s really clear good feedback. So.

15:25.72 podcomm 2

15:37.16 Abby Yeah.

15:37.74 podcomm Are you? What are you slash? Are you trying to accomplish anything in particular with your standup So clearly you’re interested in like why are we laugh and what’s the purpose of laughing but stand-up Comedy could just be an outlet Damn I Love to make people laugh and I’m good at its I’m gonna go make everybody laugh.

15:50.85 Abby Um, there.

15:54.23 podcomm Could be just 1 I’m doing it for the sheer visceral fun of making full laugh but are are you trying to figure out what makes them laugh or why do they laugh or is this joke funny after this but not funny if it’s first or like there’s there’s a million rabbit holes there.

16:07.28 Abby Well I Definitely think that um I know how to make people laugh like I know what makes people laugh because I’ve been you know trying to make people laugh since I was a kid and so I know what works and what doesn’t and the in the comedy that I’m interested in doing. Is like the kind of laugh that you do So you you laugh when you look at things a new way. So like when um, that’s why like I interviewed um casper Addyman who is a baby laughter Scientist. So and it was really cool to talk to him and he was like it’s.

16:43.32 podcomm That’s a cool job. Well, how could you not be nice if you spend your whole time trying to figure out how to make babies laugh. You have to be a pretty nice person.

16:45.57 Abby So cool and he is like the nicest guy too like I would trust my babies with him and I know it’s just really nice and and the things like the science that he was explaining to me I was like this is really cool like 1 thing is. Kids and everyone they laugh you laugh 8 times as often if you are sitting with someone else. So like if you can think about like um if you think about like if you’re watching standup even if it’s great standup if you’re watching alone you might like chuckle a couple times but you’re even if you’re loving it. You’re really not laughing. But if you’re watching it with somebody else you laugh so much more and it feels like it’s a whole different experience and that’s because laughter is like really connected to connecting with other people. Um, and I think that that is like the kind of comedy too that I really I want to do. It’s like the kind that’s like you also like babies laugh and people laugh when they’re watching babies because they can see them like looking at something a new way and I think like that’s the kind of joke that I’m really interested in It’s like how do you.

17:53.32 podcomm Right.

17:59.29 Abby Like like piercing through something and like having it look at a new like a new way that people can connect to and identify with but like is a a new thought that is like the kind of comedy I’m excited about doing and I’m like nice like I just want to I’m I want to keep being nice. Like sometimes I write a joke and I’m like this joke would really do well but like who would it like serve besides like me making people laugh just this 1 time like I don’t think it would make things better and I like generally. Cut those like if they’re harmful I Definitely cut them if they’re like.

18:38.54 podcomm But is that because you think that like so so I go to the Show. You tell that Joke I laugh and okay so you’re saying let’s let’s drop that joke are you saying because because just in the moment. It’s not great for the world. Are you thinking about what I’m going to be thinking about. When I weave and the next day I’m like Oo I laughed at that joke like.

18:58.26 Abby Not that you laughed at that joke but that like um, that like oh now I associate this thing like if it’s a really good joke and not all my jokes are really good, but like if it’s a really good Joke. Then people remember that later when they think of that thing and like do I want to make that connection in their brain so that every time they see like whatever I made the joke about like they’re going to be like oh that’s like this and i’m.

19:15.30 podcomm Um.

19:30.95 Abby Now I Hate people a little more or like I don’t know there’s just something that’s like I generally like those aren’t the jokes that occur to me that often. But I Just don’t like I Just don’t want to do them. There are plenty of comedians doing jokes that are like that’s clever and depressing. And I think depressing is fine if it’s true I think it really is but I just don’t want to be like divisive for the sake of being divisive I Want to be I Just want to do something other than that I guess.

20:02.71 podcomm Communicate through laughter I think with me terrific. Thank you for sharing I Think that’s a terrific perspective I haven’t had a chance to I don’t think I’ve ever had a chance to talk to a stand-up Comedy stand-up Comedian before. Um, So thanks for sharing the perspective about I think there’s a lot in common there about audio and podcasting and and all the school things. So Thank you so much.

20:26.44 Abby You’re so welcome. This is so great. Thanks a lot quick.