“Portrait of Katie as a Young Nerd”

My name is Katie Munoz and I am a funny person.  But I wasn’t born that way.  I was born serious and clumsy, a most unfortunate combination.  People are always laughing at you, and you can’t take a joke.

Growing up I tried everything to overcome my clumsiness.  I took ballet lessons, where I learned that it is possible for a flower to stub its toe.

I took art lessons.  Ha!

But the worst experience was when my mother signed me up for modeling lessons.  For six horrible weeks, I had to walk into a room full of aspiring models while wearing glasses, braces and big, brown, orthopedic shoes.  OMG.

But the lessons were to no avail.  I wasn’t clumsy because I was uncoordinated.  I was clumsy, because my imagination is so vivid that I get distracted for a few seconds now and then.  A few seconds is all it takes to forget I’m carrying a full glass of Coke.

So I lived in a continuous state of embarrassment until I learned a fundamental truth.   No one can laugh at you if you laugh at yourself first.

PizzamanSo where and when did I learn this bit of wisdom?  I tripped over it while working in a pizza parlor.

On a slow night, I went into the kitchen to hang out with the cooks. They were really funny guys. Back in the kitchen, I did what I do so often; I cut the corner too close and banged my shoulder into the door jam.  One of the cooks looked up and said, “So how’s finishing school coming, Grace?”

I said, “Huh?”

The other cook finally had to explain it to me.  “Grace, you know, like graceful?  Finishing school, like where you go to become graceful?”

I thought about this for a while and finally said, “Oh.”

Now how’s that for a snappy rejoinder?

Okay, so I didn’t get the joke, but I did realize that they liked me.  I had done something really dumb in front of them; and yes, they were teasing me.  BUT they still liked me.  Hmmmm …

A few days later I tripped over an empty pizza box in front of the same two cooks.  But instead of apologizing like I usually did, I said, “Maybe I need to study harder at finishing school.”

And they laughed!  Wow!  What an amazing experience!

PigtailgirlRight then and there I had an epiphany that would change my life. I didn’t have to get over being clumsy — which was a really good thing, since that didn’t seem to be happening.   Instead of getting over being clumsy, I could just learn to make jokes about it.

For better or worse, I’ve had a whole lot of opportunities to practice since then.   Much to my surprise (and everyone else’s surprise too), I actually became a funny person.  People actually mistake me for being “naturally funny.”  Little do they know.

So I am living proof that humor can be learned.    There are tips and tricks, tools and rules and actual architectural techniques that will bring out the humor and make your material sing.

But unlike the naturally funny person, I learned it from the ground up.  I know the how and the why.  My mission is to share what I have learned with others.

If you’re naturally funny, you can learn how to hone your material for maximum impact.

If you’re humor-challenged like I was, you can learn how to construct the funny story from the beginning and how to deliver it to its best advantage.

Join me in on the journey from serious to hilarious.