Geoffrey Neill's philosophy is that everyone can learn to make others laugh. He hosts a Portland class that leads the most timid to develop their voice all the way to crafting their performance. He is interested in making you hysterical! His Farm2Table Comedy shows are about creating a great audience for fresh local comedians. And, like the name suggests, they are all about moving you from growth to delivery.
Geoffrey Neill has always been about making people laugh. When he was 9 he felt the electricity of making people genuinely crack up at his grade school talent show lipsincing a calypso bit by Stan Freeburg.
Years ago Geoff embarked on a dream that was in him for quite some time. He went to an open mic and tried doing stand-up Comedy. In 2006 he made a new year's resolution: to finally do it. However, every time a day would go by without any progress, the farther away it seemed. he was determined. He said "This year I am going to do stand-up comedy." He even bought a book about it. The book gave some general frameworks. But it mainly told him that he needed to learn how to do impressions. After reading half of the book he found himself trying to write and practice terrible versions of political figures. He hated politics! But maybe it is what will make people laugh.
After getting over his initial fear, starting and stopping several times, along with trying out tons of different writing methods, Geoff started to reflect on his own stand-up material. He had material about circumcision and dog poop. He had conquered his fear of telling jokes in front of people only to realize that his jokes were moving him into a place of regret. He asked "How do you make jokes and make others laugh without talking about shameful things? How do you stay true to yourself while talking about taboo things, difficult things, hard things?"
Five years went by without entering a comedy club, there were no answers to his questions. One day, a friend invited him to do comedy for the first time at a show. It was his friend's comedy class's showcase. Each of the comedians all had about 7 minutes of material. Geoff had been to open mics before, so he knew what to expect. But to his surprise, his friend and his classmates were funny!
They were good! He enjoyed himself! Geoff was proud of his friend. And more than that, he felt an urge to take the class himself. He told his friend: "any class that can produce stand-up from a group that has never done it before and produce some laughter should be explored." He signed up and after 5 years of hiatus and searching for his funny bone in places that that weren't as raw as stand up. He entered the class and found that he needed to begin writing again.
There were still mountains to climb, and answers to search for. Such as: "How can I write material and have it not be stuff that I feel is trivial?" and "how can I do it without climbing that ladder of emptiness and shame? How do I do it? How do I write?"
Being placed in front of a mic for 6 weeks Geoff found a way to get over those hurdles. The class's curriculum didn't do it, he had to do it, He had to move through his fear, potential betrayal of himself, and find his passion. It was a necessity. It was a must. He realized that he was no longer paralyzed but had a process that he could use that could change the way he wrote. This allowed him to make people laugh and brought the smile back to his passion.
His passion since he was very young was to make people laugh. Part of it was to be in front of people and to give them a performance they would remember. Fear destroys our ambitions and passions. If we don't have somebody helping us through it, we sometimes get caught in a holding pattern for years. He decided to write Hitting Your Funny bone to help others find their way out of that holding pattern.
Today he has taken these ideas to his own world of comedy. Will you join him?