Go for the truth or a laugh?

Hayden , my 13-year old, told me this morning that he wants to be a Yes Man!

“Yes! I like that! I want to be a Yes Woman!” I said. I want to say Yes to each and every day.

Even if I have to take my life in a totally different direction than what is offered, I want to accept every offer!  And say Yes!

Like most great life lessons, I learned this one doing improv comedy.

I was a part of the CBGB Gallery Improv company. Back in the early 90s, when CBGB existed, we performed improv every Wednesday night at the gallery next to the club. I met some of my best friends and comedy partners there.Our fearless leader –Karen Kristal  — would tell us, “Go for the truth. Don’t go for the Laff!” She would say laugh like that — like Laaaaffff, like an English person, although I’m pretty sure she was a New Yorker (New Yawka!).

We would say Yes, Yes, Yes to her. And then when the audience showed up and the lights went up, we’d go for the laugh.

That is the catch to being a Yes Person. You have to follow it up with some action.

I’ve learned this with my son, the Yes Man.

“Time for bed! Get off the computer!”

“Yes Mom!” And then, he doesn’t leave Facebook.

“Will you please help me clean this kitchen?”

“Yes Mom.” And then he never shows. Never turns off the XBox. At this point in the conversation, I would like to go for a laugh, but I have to go for the truth.

The truth is not as fun or as easy as the laugh. The truth, though, can lead to the laugh. (The laugh can lead to the truth.)

Either way, start by accepting the offer. Rule Number One in improv? Accept every offer. Say Yes!

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