A Night of Comedy and Activism at Purpose

July 24, 2015

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Purpose hosted Stand Up for Good at its NYC office on Thursday, July 23rd, which featured a night of stand up comedy followed by a Q&A with the comedians. The event was part of the Purpose Fireside series which highlights different art forms as powerful tools for activism. The line-up included Sarah Kennedy of NBC, Jordan Temple of MTV, Jeff Maurer of Last Week Tonight, and Anna Drenzen of Reductress. The evening kicked off with an opening performance by Mike Blejer of Malignant Brain Humor who also served as moderator.  

The comedians focused on a consistent theme of identity and how comedy can shed light on the ways we perceive ourselves, others, and highly charged social issues.  The Q&A discussed how humor offers an effective entry point for introducing new audiences to often times difficult social issues and for more deeply engaging existing ones. On this topic, we asked the comedians the following question: How can a laugh propel social change? Here is what they said…

Sarah: “In order to get a joke, you have to make a connection. You have to be in a relaxed and receptive state to make that connection. When you have a group in that state, you have the opportunity to address them at their most open-mindedness to consider perhaps controversial topics.”

Jeff: “If you approach an issue with humor, people will want to listen to you more than they would if you were forcing a message on them.”

Mike: “Humor has been demonstrated as a way to probe beliefs and attitudes about socially sensitive subjects. It can be both a threat and an ally to the progressive cause, a tool that at the very least must be understood, and ideally put to work in a just direction.”

Stay tuned for the next Purpose Fireside event coming your way this Fall!  Check out some photos from the event.