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Using Comedy To Deal With Being Cooped Up

by Gila Espinoza 15 Apr 2020 6:00 AM

Every day on Art&Seek, we’re talking to people who have tips for staying creative and calm. Share yours with us on Facebook, Instagram or @artandseek on Twitter. Click above to listen to Andrea Baum from Stomping Ground Comedy Theater share her tip with KERA’s Nilufer Arsala. 

Andrea Baum, Co-Founder and Improv for Life Director at Stomping Ground Comedy Theater

Andrea Baum is a psychotherapist and co-founder of Stomping Ground Comedy Theater. When the doors at the theater closed, Andrea and the team were at a loss at what to do. So much of their work depended on using their physical space in their Design District theater for people to gather and collaborate and connect through comedy. But when sheltering-in-place took hold, what could they do?

Then Andrea started receiving messages from friends and family asking her what they can do for their anxiety and to help them through this time of self-isolation. Andrea began to see there was a real need for people to develop some coping skills and to kind of let go and have some laughter. So the SG team started creating online programming. One new feature is called The Social

The Social Connection was made to help people who are self-isolating connect and be with others.

So What Does a Social Connection  Session Look Like?

Each session is an hour-long via Zoom conferencing, and run by a therapist and a comedian. Andrea says it is very easy for anyone to participate. No comedy experience is necessary. Each session starts off with introductions and fun ice breakers. Usually, there is a question to share experiences. The focus is on the positive for the most part – gratitude, the good side of things.

But the group does not shy away from bad things that are happening. Some kind of coping skill is always worked on, so participants feel encouraged. Armed with a new coping tool, participants are empowered and feel they can get through the tough situation.

After that, there is about 30 minutes of interactive improv games and activities that are really fun.  “We are usually laughing the last half of the session,” says Andrea.

Yes, The Social Connection was designed to help people with anxiety and who need some coping social skills, but Andrea says anybody can benefit from the online improv session.

“People who are extroverts, who are craving that contact and connection with people. Anyone who is bored and wants something to do and wants to laugh a little. Anyone who reads this and thinks this is interesting to me and that is something I would like to do.”

Learn more at  Stomping Ground Comedy Theater website.

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