As many of you know, I'm an improviser. I perform at ComedyWorx in Raleigh and get a great deal of pleasure out of it. It's my creative outlet.
I do it because I love it and think I'm pretty decent at it, but never thought too deeply about it until a year or so ago. I invited the Minister of Music from my church & his wife to come see a show. They laughed and had a good time and told me I was funny, so all was right with the world.
About a week later, he did a sermon about using your gifts and how they are your ministry. I caught up with him afterwards and, half-jokingly asked, "So do you think that my jumping around in my pajamas onstage is a ministry?" He said, "Yes, I do."
This took my by surprise until I thought about it a little more. As a performer, I don't have any idea what the audience is bringing with them when they come to a show. They could be going through any number of tragedies, conflicts at work or home and stresses that I will never know about. What they're looking for is 90 minutes or so of relief from the outside world and a chance to sit back and laugh.
Every time I get on that stage, I have the opportunity to make a total stranger's life a little happier and lift their burdens. That's an awesome responsibility and I try and remember that
on the nights that I don't feel so funny.
So, yeah, goofing around onstage playing 5 Things or Forward/Reverse is a lot of fun. I've made some good friends doing it as well. But I always try and think about who I'm doing it for and why. It's not just for me...and as I should have learned a long time ago, the things I do for other people usually turn out better than the things I do for myself.
That's why I make it up as I go along.