On Sunday a group of Improv comics met at my house in Atwater Village for some Interactive Storytelling training. As you can see, it was awful. Fortunately we also had snacks!
Everyone there was an experienced professional, but we took some time to tailor their improvisational skills for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. We love bringing Interactive Storytelling to residential facilities. It takes our very popular one-on-one work and brings it to a group level for maximum cognitive engagement. Said more simply, no one sleeps at a Laughter On Call interactive storytelling show!
Can I just say I love having a team! I don’t love using that word because it sounds very cliche but I am not afraid to confess that as a comic and an instant gratification junkie, launching a business is very challenging for me.
Just me. Everyone else says it’s a snap. HA!
The biggest obstacle is that I am no longer a one man/woman band. Building a business requires two things I don’t have that much experience with, patience and teamwork. A joke is either a success or it’s not. There’s either laughter or no laughter. When a joke lands you know it within seconds. But growing a business, fine tuning our unique approach to this most challenging disease, and waiting a bit to gather enough data to be responsive to what people want and need, this takes the often elusive to me, patience. And some trial and error, of not just a punchline, but an entire menu of ways to improve your life and the life of your loved ones with our services. I used to obsess about the minutia of a joke. Or I thought that was obsession until I started sleeping, eating and drinking Alzheimer’s care. This is what keeps me up at night now. Which I know is not good at all because one of my recent discoveries is the value of a good night’s sleep for brain health and Alzheimer’s prevention. For those in need of a tech analogy, sleep is like charging your phone at night. We humans don’t plug in to a wall, at least not yet, but for optimum usage, 7-9 hours of sleep a night is the recommended dose.
Then there’s the one man/woman band issue. As a comic, you rise and fall on your own sword, which is kind of cool because you answer to no one, except maybe a club owner hitting on you, which I’m sure is over now #metoo #probablynotover
A successful business requires a team. Like I said, not a fan clichés, but I am also a devotee of the English language and “team” actually says it best. I now have this incredible group of people, all with specific strengths, working together for the greater good.
Cue God Bless America, right? Okay maybe not.
Now back to the training session, which upon completion, made me realize what I’ve been missing my whole life. Other people. Group interaction is so much better than being isolated with my own thoughts. Who knew? Apparently everyone in the Alzheimer’s field which is why we are on a mission to bring cognitive engagement and laughter everywhere we can.
How it works: One or two LOC improvisors show up with some basic story outlines for your group and we’re off to the races spinning rich tales of love, mystery, family reunions, a great voyage, where ever the group wants to go since the stories are created from suggestions made by the residents. Everyone is encouraged to participate with the details and gets to weigh in on who does what. We even use residents as characters in the story. It’s a fun stimulating hour with laughter, some singing, and most of all engagement. And, for sure I couldn’t have this much fun on my own.
I am so thrilled by this new trained A-team, I can’t wait to set them loose all over Southern California.