Inspiration: Chris Bliss’s “Comedy Is Translation”

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It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had the time to watch any TED Talks, so I was delighted to find Chris Bliss’s “Comedy Is Translation.”  It is one of the best Talks I’ve watched in months.  TED says of the Talk, “Every act of communication is, in some way, an act of translation. Onstage at TEDxRainier, writer Chris Bliss thinks hard about the way that great comedy can translate deep truths for a mass audience” (Source).  We can learn so much from effective communication and the importance of comedy in communicating with others.

Bliss explains the importance of comedy in communication masterfully.  He explains that studies show Daily Show viewers are better informed about current events than the viewers of ALL network and cable news shows (Source).  Comedy is about communicating ideas in a way that people like and relate to.  This is why if you can infuse comedy into your lectures as an instructor, students are more apt to not only pay attention, but also to engage and remember material.  If you can infuse comedy into your presentations, your content will be meaningful and resonate with audiences.  Think about the TED Talks that stand out the most to you.  For me, it’s Sir Ken Robinson’s “Schools kill creativity” and Benjamin Zander’s “On music and passion.”  Both infuse comedy into their serious topics, and because of this, I remember those serious topics more clearly than other TED Talks.

What great TED Talks have you watched lately?  And how have those Talks used comedy effectively?

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