Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #449: Another Lesson from George Carlin

It would be hard, if not impossible, for any comedian to even remotely approach the vast volume of material that George Carlin had.  One of his pieces is a real lesson for radio (which is where George began his career, in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana).  The routine was about “saving the planet,” with George pointing out that “The planet will outlive you, and will heal itself.”

But he had an interesting take on how that piece affected his performance, saying “That piece was very thoughtful, and very interesting, and I loved it, but I had to learn that there were times in the show when it was okay NOT to get laughs.  Because one of the jobs I have besides getting laughs is to engage the imagination.  If I make them laugh along the way, that’s part of the deal for me.”

That’s part of the deal for you, too.

If all you have to offer is “funny,” you’re going to be one-dimensional.  If a plane flies into a building again, no one’s going to turn to you for your thoughts on it.  A show needs changes of gear and depth, at least some of the time, to become great.

I was fortunate to be half of a team show in Houston (“Hudson & Harrigan”) that was known for laughs – lots of them – but we could do sincere and down-to-earth, too.

If you don’t have those elements, you need some coaching.


Tommy Kramer

Tommy has spent over 35 years as an air talent, programmer, operations manager and talent coach - working with over 300 stations in all formats. He publishes the Coaching Tip

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