Comedian helps Albuquerque seniors find humor in the midst of isolation

Community Reports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque seniors will have the opportunity to flex their comedy skills through Bernalillo County’s Comedy Workshop. The free month-long virtual workshop will be hosted by comedian Jo Firestone, whose writing credits include The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Joe Pera Talks With You, High Maintenance, Shrill, and more.

The idea behind the workshop is to give the older members of the community a healthy outlet that allows for social interaction online. The workshop is just one of the many activities sponsored by the Bernalillo Couny Office of Senior and Social Services.

Firestone, who lives in New York, has been doing a weekly comedy workshop through the Greenwich House since March. Community Services Program Enhancement Specialist Staci Miceli reached out to the head of the senior programming at Greenwich and was able to connect her with Firestone. “The basis of the class is that if anybody wants to see things in a funny way that wants to have humor in their life, there’s a way to do that. It’s not a secret, there’s no trick. It’s just about you feeling comfortable and letting your thoughts out in an honest way,” Firestone said.

Firestone said each group is different and what they talk and make jokes about is totally dependent on who is in the group. She said her group in New York is very tapped into the news and politics, so many of their warm-ups at the beginning of class center around politics and current events. “We make a lot of jokes that feel right for that group, it’s about finding out what each group is comfortable with,” Firestone said. “I think the first week will be about getting to know everybody’s humor style and what they like and what brings them to the group to build it around the group.”

Something Firestone learned early on in the class was the value in simply connecting with others who share the same interest. “In a normal class, you would feel like it’s going off the rails if people start talking a bunch or if people go off on tangents. I found that it’s actually a sign of success where people are connecting and talking about what they’re interested in. It’s a sign they’re invested in the class because people are talking and engaging,” Firestone said.

Joining a comedy class can be intimidating, Firestone said, but the class isn’t about being the funniest person, it’s about finding the funny parts in everyday life. “It’s about thinking on your feet and being in the moment,” Firestone said. “I think there’s ways to be funny without coming up with the most clever idea. You’ll find that you’re much funnier than you might’ve thought.”

The workshop is free for adults 55 and older. Individuals can participate in all four classes through Zoom. Those interested in participating can register at https://bit.ly/3nQSQNW.

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