Comedian Cory Kahaney recently got pulled over for talking on her cell phone while driving – an illegal activity in New York state.
She told the officer that she was practicing for an audition that required her to talk on the phone. “He just looked at me and said, ‘That is the best one I ever heard. Get out of here,'” Kahaney said. “If you go for humor instead of defensiveness, invariably people will forgive.”
Kahaney shared that story, and many others, in her “Funny Gets You Further” presentation during today’s Second Annual Feminist Happy Hour at the Tivoli Student Union. The event was sponsored by Gender Issues, Scholarship & Action, the student group for the Women’s and Gender Studies program, and the University of Colorado Denver Student Government Association.
Kahaney, who was a finalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and has appeared on the David Letterman and Craig Ferguson late-night shows in addition to her own show on HBO, explained that humor is actually a form of intimacy.
“We are so craving intimacy — it’s such a strong human need right now,” she said. “People are desperate for a connection with someone. And the fastest and the most effective way to make a connection with someone, particularly in the workplace … is to make them laugh, to share a laugh.”
Besides anecdotes and observations from her own life, Kahaney mixed slides, audience interaction and a Q&A session into her talk. She frequently teased a man in the front row for the gobs of mayonnaise on his sandwich (GISA provided a free lunch and conversation an hour before Kahaney’s talk).
Kahaney said she uses humor in every element of her life. It helps her to endear herself, to motivate people and even manipulate people. It helped her survive getting fired, getting divorced and getting through eighth grade. Because of its power to defuse, it keeps domestic scrapes to a minimum.
“Being funny helps you,” she said. “This is an important attribute to include in your arsenal when you go out and face the world.”
Kahaney, who teaches stand-up comedy in her home of New York, will perform her stand-up routine at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, 1485 Delgany St. University students will be admitted for a discounted rate.
Marylynne Lawson, president of GISA, said the Feminist Happy Hour is an annual event for socializing and discussion of social issues. “It’s just an opportunity for us to come together and discuss issues related to gender,” Lawson said.