My name is Shauvon McGill and I will be your guide through the land of nonsense. Now, I understand that calling it nonsense probably doesn’t set it (or me, for that matter) up as a terribly respectable or in fact useful subject. However, just bear with me here, because in my professional opinion, the whole concept of nonsense does not get the respect it deserves. “That’s nonsense!” You might say to me. “Yes, exactly,” I reply. Then you will probably walk away because that’s not a great way for me to retain an audience. I promise that over the next weeks, months, and perhaps years if Kate will keep me around that long, I will show you a thing or two that just might - dare I say it - change the world! I’ll also occasionally tell some jokes, so you might at least have a good time.
Nonsense, malarky, “hoo-haw” - whatever you call it, you can’t deny that it’s actually kind of everywhere. Let’s face it, elevator pitches and business proposals are at least 80% claptrap. Turn on your TV right now - I’d bet good money the majority of your stations are going to be playing commercials at this very second (or some sort of news program). That’s two hundred channels of hogwash (especially those news programs - am I right?). I have sat through many a business conference whose agenda could easily be rewritten as drivel, prattle, a break for lunch, and finally light babble followed by a session of poppycock. To put it simply: Business is Baloney. You may be denying it right now, but search your feelings - on some level you know it to be true.
Here’s the important thing, though: there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s just how people operate, whether it’s business or anything else. Society is baloney. You can have a great idea, an unbeatable passion, or a brilliant mind, but if you don’t have the bunk to back it up, you’re going nowhere. Nonsense is important because it gives our thoughts structure. It transforms thoughts from mysterious unspoken things into real, tangible ideas. Think about this for a minute: you can think up a completely random thought in your brain and somehow transmit that thought in perfect high definition to someone else’s brain using nothing but words. You just mind controlled somebody using pure, homegrown balderdash.
Don’t fight that. Unlock it. Shape it. Manipulate it. Be the Emperor of Nonsense. Once you realize everything anybody has ever said has just been words somebody thought up, you have the greatest power of all: the power of nonsense. Once you learn that power, you’ll be unstoppable.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though (literally). I started this by introducing myself, and I ended up glossing right over that part and going straight to the nitty gritty without establishing just who I actually am. I got carried away with all of my mumbo jumbo. Let me take a step back, then, and establish some of my credentials.
I may be a young whippersnapper, but I am pretty proud of where my career has taken me so far. I graduated from Purdue University with a degree doing computery things back in 2009, at the height of the Great Job Crisis that Christian Bale and Steve Carell created (at least I think so, I haven’t seen that movie yet). That job crisis didn’t affect computery jobs, as it turns out, so off I went to Chicago to earn fame and fortune making apps and websites and working for high profile marketing and technology companies. I was successful, too. Well, maybe not fame so much, but I was really quite successful as a computery, programmery sort of person. I have worked for small start-ups, gigantic corporations, and many things in-between. I became pretty well versed in the language and methodology of business and of corporate America. To put it another way, I have developed a keen grasp of nonsense.
All this was merely a day job, though, as I pursued my real passion, which began for me all the way back when I was a kid: goofiness - I mean, comedy. Goofiness is just something I was born with, like my left-handedness or my ridiculous height (though those both probably contribute to the goofiness, now that I think about it). Comedy, though, is a type of nonsense that is particularly special to me. Who doesn’t love a good joke? Well, the Germans, I guess, but this isn’t Germany. I learned early on how powerful a well-placed punch line can be, and chasing that power led me to study Improv.
I spent four years as a member of an Improv Comedy group at Purdue, and continued to pursue it in Chicago, studying at the prestigious Second City Training Center (people call it the Harvard of Comedy - seriously). I have studied movement, stage combat, Shakespeare, comedy, clowning, and mime (yes, even mime). By day I wore the tie of business and the pants of working in cubicles, and by night I switched the tie with the tie of comedy (they look very similar, but the comedy one is easier to wear on your head). I have discovered that these parallel lives I have been living are not, in fact, so different. Reacting quickly to change, thinking outside the box, solving problems - these are all major parts of Improv, as well as the world of ties and cubicles.
Now it’s time for those worlds to collide. I want to share what I’ve learned about the strengths of Improv, and how these ideas and methods can - dare I say it - change the world! Join me, and by extension The Speaker’s Studio, in this new frontier.
. . . or maybe that’s all just a bunch of nonsense - you be the judge.
Read more stuff like this on Shauvon's Website.