Professor Jeffery

Laugh Expression


When I came to visit my family and friends in Chicago, I would have never thought, in a million years, the amazing opportunity that would present itself to me. It’s enough just to see the people I love. But as someone that did not graduate college, to be sought out and asked to do something like this, well I’m speechless.

You see I have been invited by the Columbea College of Chicago to teach a course in Fake Laughing as part of their television communications and broadcasting curriculum. It seems that some years ago I was talking with one of the faculty, unbeknownst to me, at a party where I had just performed magic. And she was interested in how people perceived magicians and we got on the subject of what people ask considering it is most likely the first time they’ve met a magician in person. I joked about how you have to pretend it’s the first time you’ve ever heard “can you make my wife disappear?” or “can you make it warm out there?” I told the woman how you don’t want to insult anyone, they think it’s funny, so you have to do a little fake laugh.

She was so impressed by not only the sincerity of my fake laugh, that I then demonstrated for her, but the fact that I was so good at improvisation meant I could teach the young broadcasters about how to be ready for it, the snappy comebacks, and how they could make it feel “genuine” and “fresh.”

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to teach them how to do the fake laugh when they’re interacting with their fellow news personalities on the 4:30 broadcasts. How to find the memory of when someone said something funny to pretend that what the other guys are saying really appears funny to them. How to make it look like they are all having a ball, all joking and such good friends. And how to compile a list of comebacks for the weather person.

I’m very excited, it’s like I’m being validated for a talent that has taking me years to hone. And it really is true about the education you gain in the real world.

Stop Bullying Around

When I was a kid I was a prime target for bullies-

thick glasses, chubby, smart (read: nerd.) I had it all.

As an adult performing for school assemblies bullying has become a major buzzword and my experience with cognitive behavioral therapy allowed me to create a program where techniques could be used in dealing with bullies. But it doesn’t stop after you graduate school. Looking around at our current society bullies are everywhere, and you can’t really survive it the way we were taught as kids-either walk away or learn how to fight.

I was never taught to fight and being funny, I never got into too many damaging emotional situations that would still have me in therapy.

I just had your average shoved into a locker, books dumped, a little pushing a little shoving. Never hung from my underwear, embarrassed in front of the whole school kinds of things. But I had enough to recognize a bully and I see them everywhere.

When did everyone turn into such bullies? You see nearly all of the government officials mouthing off about their competition and how they did this and that and it wasn’t right, usually talking loud, fast and quite often interrupting another speaking. Rarely do they listen calmly and then offer an alternative with a cool, clear head.

What about the media? In the need to fill time on all the available television channels, online news outlets and print all the headlines are huge, the videos featuring foul, lazy language and again the same lack of respect for another opinion or alternative position.

And what about the world leaders? Jeez you read about something new every day, someone doing something horrible. It’s just a large-scale equivalent of shoving a nerd in a locker. If you then blew up the locker and blamed in on God.

Does everybody need a cookie?

Why’s everybody so angry? No one seems to want to sit down and work things out. Maybe we should legalize pot and everyone would just mellow out and “it’ll all work out.” Having seen the demand for presentations about bullying in our schools, maybe we just need to create programs for our adults, cause kids raised by a bully really don’t stand a chance. Grow up people, if not for yourself and your stress level and your heart attacks that will reverse our life expectancies, do it for your kids. They got enough to worry about with pimples and puberty, give them a break so they can concentrate on studying and fix this world. We don’t seem to be able to do it. Too many bullies.