Author Archives: Steve Bruner

Finding “happier”

Whether I’m on the road which is sometimes on the water (because I play cruise ships), I find myself with a fair amount of downtime. I have lots of empty hours when I’m not performing, creating, writing, resting or eating. The audience members are enjoying a night on the town (or boat), but I’m in that odd position of being away from home for a week-ish, but not on vacation.

My preferred downtime activity is reading, and I pack huge amounts of paper so I can catch up on my reading. (Yes, paper. Maybe a little old school, but internet access is spotty at sea.) During my last trip, I came across an article on “how to be happier.” The piece had originally appeared in New York Magazine, but I got a truncated version in a magazine called The Week which summarizes all sorts of information you might wanna know about. Here’s the article.

Happiness?! Who wouldn’t wanna read about, absorb, and learn how to be happier? One of my goals in comedy is to make people happy (right after making them laugh) even if that happiness is just a momentary transition from their state of torpor (a state of reduced metabolic rate) or stupor (a state of near-unconsciousness or insensibility). I’ve always wanted my hour or so on stage to serve as a nice little vacation from the outside world for my audience, but when it comes to life off stage or after the show, how does one get happier?

A college course on how to be happy is the most popular class at Yale (yes, that Yale) and the first step for students is to take the Authentic Happiness Inventory offered by University of Pennsylvania. Anyone can take the quiz, and I plan to when I’m on dry land and can think about about my answers. I might even take the class—without heading to Yale. A version of the famous course is now available online.

I’m a pretty happy guy, but I look forward to finding ways to be even happier and maybe even mine some laughs from my research.

Peter Paull and…Steve!

Many years ago, the ’90s, (yes, last century!), I was booked as the emcee/opening act for a variety show at the Catch a Rising Start comedy club in Las Vegas. This series of shows had a singer in the middle and a comedian headliner. It was one of those opportunities where I got everything possible:Continue Reading

The wedding belle

When you have a great day you should acknowledge it…appreciate it…and share it to make the moment last. It’s like the glide of a paper airplane. There’s the initial trajectory and distance, and then little gusts of air create some unexpected happy loops to extend its trip. Saturday was one of those great days. MyContinue Reading

From the sandbox to the senior prom

When you’re busy—really, really busy—time often zips by too fast to allow you to enjoy those moments that become treasured memories (and photos). Two weeks ago, I did a hometown show that filled me with anxiety before, adrenaline during, and deep appreciation after. I made sure to savor the moment of connection between my performanceContinue Reading

Live from The Laugh Cellar

Performers have a word for the non-show biz people who attend a show for the first time: civilians. Some civilians like what I do at that first show and want to come see me again. That makes ‘em fans. (In comedy, people rarely give you a chance to disappoint them twice.) Now these civilians areContinue Reading

3 things event planners need to know about stand-up comedy

Comedy clubs, colleges, and cruise ships know the drill when it comes to working with comedians. But those producing corporate events, professional conferences and charity fundraisers might be a little less certain about working with a professional comic—especially for the first time. The main goal of stand-up comedy is mostly to generate laughter. Some comedyContinue Reading