The Five Senses of Humor by Susanna Spies

Expect lots of snow folks for the next 3 days, and bundle up-it’s cold out there!”

It was always love at first “heard”, anticipating the 3 magical words from my favorite announcer at WPST, “NO SCHOOL TOMORROW!” Hooray!

A break from having to reline my LL Bean duckboots with 3 layers of wool socks (and super itchy at that), to bear through the crunchy snow during my “survivor” path through Leebrook Lane, Snowden Lane, Abernathy Ave, and final crosswalks to school.

I remember feeling the air deep inside my eardrums, and even with my scarf wrapped up to the lower lids of my eyes, could smell through the wool knit the air so fresh, clean, and seemingly minty, like a giant pack of spearmint Dentyne. A time (for those old enough to remember) a recall to the infamous commercial: When I eat a York Peppermint Patty.. I feel a cool breeze… remembering those snows days back in Jersey.

You see, to me, snow was one of the great dichotomies. Joyous on weekends and snow days, yet dreaded during the week. An angel to the back yard, and devil to the driveway. It made delicious snow cones, and bruises from ice balls. It could reflect like diamonds, or become grey, and sickly when pushed to the roadside.

Yet, little did I know then, that snow could be a great provider of perspective. How? Well, depending if you have experienced it, snow allows us to think of memories. Great ones, and ones that make our lip curl from dread. Memories trigger senses within those experiences. Depending on the way we see, feel, smell, hear, or taste, – our senses provide a great ground for building humor.

Ever heard of the term Deja Vu? It is something that may feel familiar, a sound, a smell, a sight – repeating itself somehow? Those moments are all also reflective of how senses trigger our experiences, and what we remember from them are a great pathway for creativity.

5 Steps for Finding the Funny With Our Senses: 

  1. See: Look around you and look for new things everyday. A store, a color, a street sign, a word – every where we go, observation is a great way to build perspective, point of view and humorous horizons.
  2. Feel: Everyday we are surrounded by textures, objects, things we can feel. Feelings can trigger emotional reaction. Look at various things that may evoke a different feeling, ie: glue vs jelly, slime, vs play dough, snow vs sunshine. Temperatures, textures and shapes construct feelings, and those are key ingredients for developing perspectives and finding the funny.
  3. Smell: What happens when you smell various things? Popcorn vs eggs? Tar on a newly paved road vs snow in the mountains? The ocean vs a campfire? Specifying your point of view within the infinite land of smells, can generate a rose garden of funnies!
  4. Hear: Listen to the sounds in the morning, afternoon, and evening. How are they different, or the same? By paying attention to our atmospheres, we can listen and “hear” our own perspectives. Keep a list of what you hear. No two moments are every the same, and humor can be forming 24/7!
  5. Taste: Think of things you love to eat vs things you aren’t a fan of. Textures that make you cringe, while others that you crave practically in your sleep. Even from those times you were made to “clear your plate” and eat those vegetables you may not have liked, chances are asparagus can become a new root towards growing a new field of funnies.

© 2014 Daniel ScherlAbout the Author: Susanna SPIES is one of Your Monthly Mentors, a seasoned educator and Founder and President of Comedy Playground, LLC, showcasing at The Hollywood Improv located in California. With a performance background, Spies has worked within mediums of television and film, and has performed stand up comedy on stages throughout the nation. Known for her many “faces”, in 2013 she debuted over 30 characters in her one-woman show “The Dryer” and was featured on Nuvo TV’s Stand & Deliver, E-One Entertainment’s Uncontrolled Comedy, and the Youtube sensation “Carol” of “Carol & Claire in The Angela Hoover web series, as well as dozens of national commercials, and Independent Feature Films.  Learn more about Susanna or read more of her awesome articles… 

Subscribe to The Teen Mentor and receive more awesome articles like this straight to your inbox.