Jullien Gordon on How Standup Comedy Facilitates Self-Discovery

In Chapter 9 of 16 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, motivation teacher Jullien Gordon answers "What Did Taking a Standup Comedy Class Teach You About Yourself?"  Gordon notes how the experience helped him "uncan" himself, allowing him to loosen up, be himself, and be corny and silly in his life.  Gordon learns to use humor and comedy to get people to open up and be more receptive to the more challenging messages he delivers.  Gordon is the founder of the Department of Motivated Vehicles, a personal and professional development company that helps clients identify purpose and map it to successful outcomes. Gordon has written five books and speaks regularly to college students across America.  He earned masters degrees in education and business from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree from UCLA.


Erik Michielsen:  What did taking a stand up comedy class teach you about yourself?

Jullien Gordon:  Oh wow.  I really enjoyed that experience.  The term I like to put to it is that it really let me un-can myself because being a professional coming from Stanford and just being in this business world, often times we can ourselves and we have these prepackaged ways of delivering ourselves to other people and taking a comedy class just loosened me up and allowed me to be more of who am I. At the end of the day I’m really corny.  I’m really corny.  I make corny jokes at home with my friends, they even know me as corny and it allowed me to bring that corniness into every space that I’m in and not be ashamed of it and so I really loved that experience.

 Ultimately when I speak I bring the truth to people to the best of the my ability or the truth that I see just so that they can be exposed to it but when I would just deliver the truth, a lot of people might close off.  So through comedy and humor I’m actually able to open people up so that they’re smiling in the way that you are and then once people are open they’re more receptive to the messages that you deliver and then I can give the harder things that people have to consider.  So it has really helped me become a better communicator, a better speaker and so I’m really grateful for that experience.