Humour, with Brian Aylward

February 26, 2020 Kim Forrester Season 5 Episode 6
Humour, with Brian Aylward
Humour, with Brian Aylward
Feb 26, 2020 Season 5 Episode 6
Kim Forrester

Brian Aylward was awarded the title of Canada’s best stand-up comic in 2016. He has been a comedian for the past 15 years, and performs regularly to sold-out venues across Canada, Asia and the Pacific. On this episode, Kim Forrester sits with Brian to discuss the benefits of laughter on our well-being, and to explore ways we can adopt a more light-hearted, more humorous approach to life. 

Show Notes Transcript

Brian Aylward was awarded the title of Canada’s best stand-up comic in 2016. He has been a comedian for the past 15 years, and performs regularly to sold-out venues across Canada, Asia and the Pacific. On this episode, Kim Forrester sits with Brian to discuss the benefits of laughter on our well-being, and to explore ways we can adopt a more light-hearted, more humorous approach to life. 

Kim Forrester:   0:00
When was the last time you enjoyed a hearty belly laugh? How willing are you to laugh at your own foibles, or to see the funny side of life's misfortunes? You're listening to the Eudaemonia podcast. I'm Kim Forrester, and today we're going to shine a spotlight on the heart warming effects of humour.  

Intro:   0:21
Welcome to Eudaemonia, the podcast that is all about flourishing. Plug in, relax and get ready for the goodness as we explore the traits and practices that can help you thrive in life ... with your host, Kim Forrester.  

Kim Forrester:   0:41
Brian Aylward has been a comedian for the past 15 years, performing more than 2800 shows in 23 countries. In 2016, he won the title of Canada's Best Stand Up Comic. Brian recently headlined The Best Kind Comedy Tour, playing to sold out theatres across Canada, and his solo show, Big in Asia, was nominated for Best Comedy at Fringe World in Perth, Australia. It's my absolute delight to be chatting with Brian today to discuss the benefits of laughter on our well-being and to explore ways we can adopt a more lighthearted, more humorous approach to life. Brian Aylward, it is such a delight to have you here. Thank you so much for gifting your time, your wisdom and ... well, hopefully your wisdom today. You've had some very conventional jobs in the past. You've been a kindergarten teacher; you have been an assistant janitor; and I believe you have also been an English teacher in Korea. What drew you to humour and comedy?

Brian Aylward:   1:42
Honestly, looking back, I don't think I've ever taken anything really serious. When I was a boy - like in the late seventies, early eighties- growing up in Newfoundland, Canada, I wanted to be a Jedi. And that was a legit wish. I thought that was a real thing. And, I started from Jedi, to hockey player, baseball player, basketball player. I was always such a dreamer. Like I never wanted anything conventional. I was really big into sports. Then I ended up going to university on a basketball scholarship, and I graduate university with a degree in Community Studies, which is absolutely useless. And, yeah, I became a teacher eventually and then went to South Korea. And I always wanted to do it. Like, looking back, when I was very young, like 11 or 12, I found David Letterman somehow. And he came on very late, you know, in Newfoundland - like one in the morning, two in the morning. Whatever. And I would just watch him, and its stand ups like Garry Shandling and all these old comics ... Roseanne Barr .... and I was blown away by it. But it wasn't something you could do. There was no stand up comedy on the island I lived on, in Newfoundland, Canada. At all. No stand ups. So I just thought it was something Americans did. So it was always in the back of my head, and eventually I moved to Korea, like I said, and there was open mics. And I would go and I just sort of started getting the itch again. I wanted to do it, I wanted to do it. And then my ex-wife was just sick of me talking about it. And so we made a bet. She was a smoker at the time, and she said if she quit smoking for a month, I'd have to go on stage and just do it, you know, and stop talking about it. So I said, 'Okay, cool.' And she did, and I was like, 'Oh, no!' So, I was so nervous. And, I did. 2005, November 11th ... and I've been doing it ever since.

Kim Forrester:   3:20
So you're saying that you were itching to get back on stage. What was it ... were you missing the creation of laughter? Were you missing ... 

Brian Aylward:   3:29
Well, I'd never been on stage before.

Kim Forrester:   3:31

Brian Aylward:   3:31
Yeah, that's ... I never ... no. It was just something I wanted to do. But there was no ... it wasn't available, you know? Well, I shouldn't say that. The funny thing is that I guess you are who you are. When I was very young - my mother reminds me of this -  like I did a ... Sadly I had a best friend of mine who passed away, and I ended up writing a speech, and was in a speech contest, and won a speech contest. I was only seven years old. No one pushed me to do that. It was something I wanted to do. So it kind of ... I guess it's always kind of been in me. But yeah, I just did it on a dare. And then, once I did it the first time, I got over the fear. Like, I was so scared. That's why I didn't ... I mean, I had signed up for open mics in the past. Like in Montreal, Canada, and Toronto. I just either didn't show up or, actually, I'd been there sometimes and pretended I wasn't. Because I was so scared. So, once I got over that fear ... I was 31 at the time, too, so I was considered kind of old. And I moved to Toronto two months later because Toronto was kind of one of the meccas for comedy in the world. And I just knew I had to get to work and do it as much I could, because it's kind of how I am. When I'm invested,  I'm all in. And so I went, and here I am.

Kim Forrester:   4:31
You often stand in a room full of laughter - if you're doing your job properly. Can you perhaps describe for my listeners what that feels like. Like, what's the vibe in the room when you've got a crowd of people all invested in humour? 

Brian Aylward:   4:46
It's pretty awesome, yeah. It's funny you ask that question because I've been taking it for granted lately, I've noticed. And I've been doing this now for 15 years. And I do it more than most, you know; I'm on stage 250, 300 times a year. Yeah, it's pretty amazing the waves you get on, because that's where you can change people's ideas sometimes. Or just make them laugh, which is good enough. It's pretty awesome. What I've been really liking lately, actually, is when people come up to you after the show. And I'm amazed that people are that nice that they want to. Sometimes people will line up after, like, the Canadian tour. People line up for a half hour just to say kind words. It's amazing. But then you know you've really connected with them, you know. And I've been really blown away by that lately. Just people who come up to you after the show and say nice things, just to let you know you've done a good job.

Kim Forrester:   5:30
Really interesting. Just off air, before we started the show, you were explaining how in times of great challenge in the world, there seems to be an uptick in crowds in the comedy clubs. What do you think people are searching for when they come to you in times of trauma and chaos outside?

Brian Aylward:   5:49
Well, yeah, I've heard that before. Like they were talking about the eighties - during the Cold War - like comedy was ... they had a huge comedy boom then. There's a huge comedy boom now, even bigger. And I think there's definitely a correlation between that and just all the garbage we get fed by the media and stuff. I just think people are looking for tension release, you know. People are nervous and scared, and they just need a little bit of a break from all that. And that's really all comedy is, right? It's tension release. So I think people are just coming just to feel a little bit better, maybe connect, feel a part of something. You know, think differently. Sometimes, you know, my favourite comedians are the ones to make you laugh and maybe make you think a little differently. And then that's a beautiful thing.

Kim Forrester:   6:29
It's always occurred to me that we can actually broach really sensitive topics or bring up points of view that might not necessarily be welcomed by everyone, but if we do it with just that pinch of humour, they become open to it. Has that been your experience, people become open when they're laughing?

Brian Aylward:   6:46
Yeah, totally. I mean, I've got a couple of bits right now, like, I'm talking about the bush fires in Australia. Which sounds like ... well it is such a serious topic. But I kind of flip it on its head and talk about koalas, and make it all about that. Just how people don't seem to be concerned about Australians. Just koalas. It just takes, you know, just a little - again - a little tension release from such a horrific thing.

Kim Forrester:   7:10
Really cool that we're talking then about the, like, it's really quite a stress relieving and healing side of humour. And I wonder, what do you think about taking humour and turning it inward? Is that something that you ever practise? Do you think that we'd live a little bit lighter in the world if we sometimes took humour and laughed, not at ourselves, but maybe with ourselves a bit more?

Brian Aylward:   7:34
Well, I think you should laugh at yourself. I think it's very important to be able to laugh ... I mean, I think maybe a lot of us have the experience ... but I have ... Again, it's interesting that you ask that question. I was talking to a friend of mine recently. I mean, I've had, you know, I've been around the world. I've met a lot of people. I mean, I've known people who have been murdered, raped, suicide. All this stuff. Real things, like we all do. A lot of people know this and it's heavy stuff. We can't pretend it doesn't exist. I mean, I had a friend of mine who went through some horrific sexual abuse, and the jokes that he says about it are absolutely horrific. But they heal him. You know, I've seen ... I've known him most of my life, and it's just he's allowed to make those jokes. It happened to him. And it's just ... that's, you know, if he can get any kind of giggle out of it, I mean, why not? That to me is just repairing it, bit by bit. So I mean, yeah. I think, absolutely you have to turn comedy inward.

Kim Forrester:   8:29
While we're talking about the balance between, you know, seriousness and comedy, I want to talk about Volodymyr Zelensky. He used to be a comedian, now he's the president of Ukraine. And he stepped into a pretty intense geopolitical situation there, right? So do you think that we can take a moment, right now, to dispel the idea that funny people cannot also be thoughtful, and intelligent, and serious.

Brian Aylward:   8:56
Is that the myth out there? I never heard that. Well, yeah. I don't even think that's true. I think people might think that, like a goofier type of comedian. But I mean, if you think of just Trevor Noah, Ellen DeGeneres, John Oliver - I mean these are where people get their news now, and people ... those are the most trusted, intelligent people really we have on the air. In America anyway. I think most good comics are intelligent people, because most good comics are curious people. So they're constantly learning. You know, it's who we are, and we're very observant. And also we've been humbled - because if you do this, if you do comedy for a long time, it's not easy, and you go through a lot of stuff. And you can't help but be humble. So I think the combination of being humble and being curious only makes you intelligent and strong. You know.

Kim Forrester:   9:47
Let's turn the question on its head then. Do you think that serious people and intelligent people in very serious roles could benefit from injecting a little bit more humour?  

Brian Aylward:   10:00

Kim Forrester:   10:00
So, leadership, for instance. Do you think humour would be a wonderful quality for leaders, in any aspect of society, to start adopting and engaging with?

Brian Aylward:   10:09
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, first of all, it's just fun. More fun to be around, it's a more fun atmosphere, right? Endorphins and all that stuff. And chances are if you have a good sense of humour, you'll be more likeable. So if you're a leader, people will like you more and be more inclined to follow you. Yeah, absolutely. I think it's actually one of the things that's missing in a lot of business, is a sense of humour. I think it can be ... I mean, I know some people actually teach it as a course, but you could ... Yeah, people could inject humour in their lives more, for sure. Especially uptight types.

Kim Forrester:   10:42
Well, it comes back to how you were saying that humour can actually relieve tension, relieve stress. So I guess if you're in a really serious board meeting or whatever, or you've got a deadline looming and the team are stressed out about it, a little bit of humour will let that go. And I imagine that people walk out of a comedy show feeling a little bit lighter about the world. A bit clear headed, right?  And I imagine in the boardroom could be the same sort of thing. Many people might say, 'I can't remember the punch line.' You know, I have a darling husband who loves a few jokes, but might not necessarily get all the way through the story with all the accurate details to enable it to be funny. Do you think that humour has to resemble comedy, though, to be effective? Is there a more subtle way that we can harness humour in our lives without literally having to be the clown, the joker, in the room?

Brian Aylward:   11:43
Yeah, just don't take yourself too seriously, you know. Let it happen naturally. I think people take themselves way too seriously. I mean, I get it, but also what I see it being done ... I just think people are being conned, to be honest. Just, you know, in terms of the media and the way they're advertised to. Everyone's made to feel 'less than' and consumerism is just such an addiction. And people are just never happy, it seems, with themselves, right? They get a new car, and a year later, that's not good enough. They need another car, a new phone, or now you need an iPhone. It's just, we're never content. So I just think, yeah, if you can just not take yourself so seriously, it's a massive thing.

Kim Forrester:   12:16
Is there one thing in particular that you think we're not laughing at enough?

Brian Aylward:   12:21
Ourselves.  Yeah, I think ourselves. Again, people just, you know, people are all trying to pretend they're something they're not. Not everybody, of course. But I mean there's ... there's a lot of masks being worn, I think.

Kim Forrester:   12:34
I can see that. Most of us are running around trying to pretend that we're perfect, we don't have foibles. We don't have failings. 

Brian Aylward:   12:43
And it's stressful, you know. People have got families, people have got jobs. I mean, there's not a lot of time to yourself. I mean, luckily, I'm a comedian. I don't have kids, you know? I have a wife, but we have time. So time is so valuable to have and I have a lot of it, luckily. But most people don't have that, you know. 

Kim Forrester:   12:58
So on the back of that question, then, you're saying that it may be best for us if we learn to laugh - certainly at ourselves - a lot more. And science certainly shows that laughter and humour itself is incredibly good for our well-being. It increases our endorphins, it boosts the immune system. As you were saying it lowers stress, like scientifically. And it even, apparently, it helps prevent heart disease. You can actually go to laughter therapy, now, because of those benefits. Do you think, though, that there's a benefit in going along to these sort of planned laughter classes? Or is it best if maybe we just learn to imbue it more spontaneously into our life?

Brian Aylward:   13:38
Well, I did that once with a friend of mine because I was curious. First of all, I think, yeah, as long as you're laughing, it's good. You know. And laughing's involuntary and it's contagious. So I went to one of these in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, with my friend a few years ago, because I was just curious. I'm like, 'What is this?' Because, apparently the laughter yoga, which was created by just a bunch of dudes in a park in Mumbai in like the nineties or sometime. That's where it comes from. Like, five guys in the park started it. Now it's, like, all over the world. And so we went there and there was about 50 people. Usually there's more. And we're sitting in a circle. And so I was really uncomfortable. I mean, I'm a comedian, so I was like, I already ... like, in my head I'm like, 'I don't like this. This terrible.' So, but I'm sitting there, I'm giving it a chance. I'm with my friend. And then we started doing these crazy exercises where you would, like, pick a partner. You had to stand in front of each other and make silly faces, make silly noises, like, whatever you were told. And it was just absolutely ridiculous. But after a while I started investing in it, and it just ... you start laughing because it's insane. And you look around the room and, again, it's contagious - you see other people making faces and it just becomes this whole energy thing. And by the end of it, were laughing our faces off. So, yeah, I think as long as you're laughing, it's a great thing. I mean, wherever you can get it, get it.

Kim Forrester:   14:49
That's brilliant. But once again - laughing at the silliness of it, right? Allowing oneself to actually be stupid, and silly, and not so serious. And then enjoying the moment. So we've talked about the importance of being able to laugh at ourselves. Very tribal world that we kind of live in at the moment. You know, everyone's got their in-group. It's quite ...

Brian Aylward:   15:09
We're getting back to the tribes.

Kim Forrester:   15:09
Right? So how important do you think it is for us to maybe extend that humour beyond laughing at ourselves and sometimes, actually, just laugh with our in-group; with our tribe; with the cultures and practises and beliefs that we adhere to? Do you think that there's any benefit in trying to do that?

Brian Aylward:   15:29
Yeah, well, again, I think it's about not taking yourself so seriously. You know? Even the Best Kind Comedy Tour that I do now in Canada, it's the third year we've been doing it. Me and a couple of comics from Newfoundland, Canada: Colin Hollett and Mike Lynch.  So we don't necessarily target people from Newfoundland, but Newfoundlanders are kind of very ... they travel a lot. They're all over the place. So most of the crowd is probably 50-60% Newfoundlanders. So a lot of the jokes tend to be kind of about the tribe ... or whatever you want to say. And it's ... yeah, why not? Why not make fun of yourself? I think it's great. I mean, even my wife. My wife is from Newfoundland as well. I mean, this is the first time ... Again, it's interesting you ask this question. I've been thinking about this lately. Like, this is the first person I've been with who's funny. You know? I've always been the funny one, you know? Look, I've been with people who had a sense of humour, but not necessarily funny. Like my wife is hilarious. So she makes me laugh, and it's such ... it feels great and I never really experienced that before. And we've been talking about it lately. And then she says things said to me - like the other day - she was saying just how 'Oh, I'm so lucky you make me laugh all the time. My friend was asking me this the other day - Brian must make you laugh all the time. You're so lucky, blah, blah.' She's like, 'Yeah'. And I don't even think, I guess, because I am a just a funny person. I'm such a fool. Like I just never thought about not laughing. I can't imagine being in a relationship which is not laughing. It's a horrible.

Kim Forrester:   16:46
We're the same as a family. We laugh at ourselves - and definitely each other - all the time. Do you feel it's a different type of relationship you have with your wife, now, then? Is there ...  do you notice the difference because you are both contributing ...

Brian Aylward:   17:02
Compared to what? To the past?

Kim Forrester:   17:02
Well, yeah. To other relationships you've had where, maybe, you've been the funny one.

Brian Aylward:   17:05
Yeah, there's no even offence to those people. It's just, that's just how it was. I mean, I guess I ... I guess I'm willing to share the attention now. It just feels better, yeah, when someone's making you laugh. Like she entertains me, which is kind of a new thing, and that's great. We have a great time.

Kim Forrester:   17:22
Do you see humour as a great way to resolve conflict? So let's talk about in relationships, or let's talk about the fighting between the groups and the tribes that we have going on in the world. Do you think that if we could all learn to be a little bit more lighthearted that, maybe, it would be easier to step ... you know, step towards reconciliation with people, and understanding.

Brian Aylward:   17:43
Yeah, totally. Yeah, you're definitely less further away than, you know, from each other if you're laughing together. Yeah, I mean, I do that with my wife sometimes, which I like. I'll say stuff that's sometimes inappropriate, maybe for an argument or something. But she'll laugh, against her own nature, which is great. Then I know that we're on the way to being good again.

Kim Forrester:   18:00
This next question might be difficult for you because you say you've always lived lightheartedly. You know, you've always kind of used humour in your life. But I wonder how you feel about using humour to connect with everyday people - the barista at the coffee shop, you know, the check out operator at the supermarket. Is it something that you feel that you employ? Is it something that you'd encourage people to do more often? 

Brian Aylward:   18:24
Yeah, I think you do. I think I just do it naturally. It's just how I speak, you know, through humour. But even, I mean, living overseas. And I've been in Asia now for 13 years. I mean it's a great way to connect culturally. Whether it's a smile, a laugh, a silly gesture. I mean, I've done that hundreds of times over the years. Yeah, I mean, why not again? You know, a lot of people seem to be having a hard time, so why not release that tension? Just, even it can be as simple is as a smile. I'm always fascinated when I go to, like, say, a coffee shop like you mentioned. And like, the barista is there, and she's just fantastic, and she just seems to love her job, and she's happy. Like, that could make your day, you know. Instead of the opposite of that, you know; just some lazy slob, who's just angry, and they just like ...  You know, so. Yeah, it's kind of beautiful.

Kim Forrester:   19:09
Or serious. Not necessarily even angry, but when people are overly serious, it certainly doesn't lighten the mood, does it?

Brian Aylward:   19:17
Yeah. It's a coffee shop. Calm down.

Kim Forrester:   19:17
Are there any situations where you feel, in your opinion, that humour is absolutely inappropriate?

Brian Aylward:   19:25
No. But I'm a comedian, so ... I mean, I don't know. What situation would that be? I mean, timing is important. I mean, you know, the whole adage of like 'too soon'.  Now to a comedian, we don't really like that term 'too soon', because in comedy it's like, if something happens, it's a race to who gets the funniest joke about it first, you know. I mean, even take, for example, the Kobe Bryant ... you know, Kobe Bryant dying. The basketball fans; basketball player. I guarantee you most comics were writing Kobe Bryant jokes immediately after they found that out, even if they weren't willing to share them, just as a practice. And there's actually a famous comedian who ... he went a little further. He did something really dumb. He just posted online. Just, he kind of celebrated his death and it got really out of control. And I mean, that's just not funny, you know? So with that, there's just no kind of redeeming quality. And then he's feeling the blowback now, because his management team dropped him, his special got cancelled. You gotta be careful these days. But I think, as long as it's funny. But that sounds easy. It's not easy, you know. Leave it to the funny people. Yeah, it's very uncomfortable when unfunny people try to be funny.

Kim Forrester:   20:31
Do you think that everyone can be funny, though?

Brian Aylward:   20:34
No definitely not. Definitely not.

Kim Forrester:   20:34
Okay, so then if we're looking to inject humour into our lives, it's not necessarily to make jokes, like you're saying, but just to be more lighthearted in the way that we ...

Brian Aylward:   20:45
Yeah, you can have a sense of humour without being the funny person. But definitely, everyone's not funny. I mean, you know that. You've been to dinner parties. Yeah, you get stuck in the corner, talking to someone, 'Oh my God, this is tragic.'

Kim Forrester:   20:54
Are there ways you think that we can learn to laugh more then? If we're not necessarily cracking the jokes or being able to frame whatever's happening in a funny way, do you think - just in your opinion - that it's possible for people to strengthen their sense of humour? 

Brian Aylward:   21:11
Yeah, I mean, there's, you know ... there's some people who do comedy classes. Like, I don't think you can teach someone to be funny. You innately have it or you don't. But if you do have it ... but you can learn to be funnier. I mean, there are some tricks, you know. There's some rhythms to comedy. There are some things, like a hard C word is funnier than, you know, whatever, like a P word. Stuff like that.

Kim Forrester:   21:31
But in terms of learning to be able to laugh more?

Brian Aylward:   21:34
But yeah, well I think that just goes back to what we're saying about just not taking yourself too seriously? I mean, I just find people are really getting carried away with that. But again, I break it down to the whole ... just to the media control. You know. And just what they do to people; make people feel 'less than'. So people are just always trying to seem to be social climbing, and never be happy with themselves. Just like, take some time out and appreciate what you have, not what you don't have.

Kim Forrester:   22:00
You've mentioned that a couple of times. Do you think there's a link, then, between feeling more content with our lives and feeling more lighthearted? 

Brian Aylward:   22:08
I think I mentioned that because I've been really making an effort to do it the past, about, two years now. Just being grateful. And it changed my life. It really did. I mean, it sounds so basic - the word gratefulness. But I just ... when I really just, you know ... like if I'm having a bad week, and I just sort of stop for a second. Like, 'What am I? I'm a comedian, right? I have a great wife. We live in Thailand. I tell jokes. Life is awesome.' You know. You can get caught up in your stuff, you just need to ... again, remind yourself of what you have, not what you don't have. Because I don't think anyone sits around on their death bed thinking. 'I wish I had more stuff', you know? I wish ... you know, they don't. They wish to have more love in their life. They wish they maybe did more ...

Brian Aylward:   22:46
Laughed more.

Brian Aylward:   22:47
Laughed more. For sure, right? So, yeah, that's kind of my new thing.

Kim Forrester:   22:51
The Eudaemonia podcast is all about the bright side of life, but there's one question I do want to delve into with you. Humour can sometimes be used - and I use humour in inverted commas here - can sometimes be used as a justification for being mean and malicious. You know, you hear people throw an insult at someone and then go, 'Ah, just kidding. Just kidding.' What do you feel about that type of humour?

Brian Aylward:   23:15
Well, again, funny is funny. If you're not funny, if you've got to apologise for it, then you're not funny. If you've got to explain it, you're not funny. And it doesn't work. I mean, the guy, Ari Shaffir, the famous comedian who made the jokes about Kobe. I mean, he's feeling the blowback now of doing something pretty stupid. Yeah, I mean it's hard to tell someone not to try to be funny, because, I mean, you should try, I guess.

Kim Forrester:   23:37
My point is more, people not even trying to be funny but trying to mask their maliciousness under the guise of humour.

Brian Aylward:   23:44
Yeah, no, well there's no ... Yeah, well just walk away from those people, Yeah, you know, you meet those people. Yeah, I don't like that either. And you see them sometimes in comedy; we see those people at open mics. And honestly, since Trump was elected - it's just funny, right - because he kind of normalised crappy behaviour. And then so those people came out of the shadows again. And so you see those guys at open mic, just a straight up racist or sexist, misogynist, and he's just saying horrible things. And it's just not funny at all.

Kim Forrester:   24:12

Brian Aylward:   24:13
And yeah, it's horrible. I usually leave the room because I'm so uncomfortable. I'm pretty empathetic that way, and I just don't ... I feel so bad for them, it's just overwhelming. Just like, 'You, just go home. Please don't come back here.'

Kim Forrester:   24:24
So just because you say the words 'just kidding' at the end certainly doesn't mean it's humorous?

Brian Aylward:   24:28
Well, you shouldn't have to say 'just kidding', right? That's the point. You should have a joke; have a punch line. And then they'll realise ... they'll realise you're kidding when they're laughing.  It's kind of how it works.

Brian Aylward:   24:39
I love that a lot. Brian, my final question is one I ask every guest on the Eudaemonia podcast. Can you offer my listeners a morning reminder - so this might be a little practise or ritual, an affirmation - that they can use to inject a little bit more humour into their daily lives?

Brian Aylward:   24:55
Well I'll tell you two things I've been doing lately. And I don't know if it helps inject humour, but I think it does. I mean, again, gratefulness. I wake up and I just try to sit with myself for a while. The one thing I do now, I don't go online for the first couple of hours when I'm up. Now, I'm lucky to be able to do that because I'm a comedian. I work at nights, so I'm not in the mad rat race that most people are. But that's made a huge difference because - just, you know - you wake up, you observe more you, again, you're more grateful. You're more in the moment. You're more present. You're more calm. Your body is not right on the screen; just indulging in 95 things a minute. But I, just again, I think it just goes back to: don't take yourself so seriously. Like, give yourself a break. You know, give yourself a break. Like it could be the simplest thing. Like, just turn off your phone for five minutes and have a coffee outside. Just get off line, get off line. Not all the time. Of course you need it, but just ... there's too much. You don't need to be scrolling Facebook four hours a day, comparing yourself to others and feeling shitty.

Kim Forrester:   25:50
That's really powerful. I love that.

Brian Aylward:   25:53
So that's ... I don't know really ... but I don't necessarily think it  might make you funnier, but it'll make you happier. Which is, you know, you're on the spectrum then.

Kim Forrester:   26:00
Indeed. A little bit more lighthearted, as you were saying. Brian Aylward, if people want to find out more about you - and I know I've got listeners all over the world and you have got a world tour coming up at some point - where can people find out about you and the work you do?

Brian Aylward:   26:13
Yeah. My website's and on Facebook my comedy page is, again, @BrianAylwardComedy. Everything's Brian Aylward Comedy: Instagram, Facebook and Website. So you can catch me at Brian Aylward Comedy online, and I'll be posting a bunch of stuff. I'm putting out a new podcast. I've got a web series coming, I'm editing my comedy special now. So lots of things coming in 2020.

Kim Forrester:   26:33
That's great. Well I wish you all the success with that, and encourage my listeners to go on and have a laugh.  

Brian Aylward:   26:38
Yes, please.  

Kim Forrester:   26:39
Thanks for coming.  

Brian Aylward:   26:41
Thanks for having me.

Kim Forrester:   26:41
As the poet, Maya Angelou, encouraged us, 'Laugh as much as possible. Always laugh. It's the sweetest thing one can do for oneself and one's fellow human beings.' You have been listening to the Eudaemonia podcast. If you'd like to learn more about how to live a truly flourishing life, please subscribe and check out for more inspiring episodes. I'm Kim Forrester. Until next time, be well, be kind to yourself and unleash your sense of humour.