The comedic qualities of resilient people

The fourth in a series of January blogs about Resilience.

The capacity to bounce back after a set back – resilience is such a hot topic across the business world.

In our last blog we drew attention to simplicity. This week, we explore improvisation.

Could it be innate magic?

Comedians are resilient people. They operate on their wits. Or seem to…

How do they operate so effortlessly in-the-moment – to use things they see, things people say – to trigger creative and amusing trains of thought? To take knocks, yet win their audiences over?

Comedians are people who notice things. Exquisitely so. They are also curious. They reflect on what they notice, and they make sense of this in surprising ways. They create and clearly communicate points of view to their audiences.

Comedians also know where they are journeying to. They hold a clear intention. And they get there based on a lot of pre-thought and rehearsal, the use of guiding themes, and the practised ability to spot and develop surprising and amusing connections in the moment, at the right moment.

That is how they survive and thrive.


Their improvisation skills are part nature and part nurture.

So when we say they operate on their “wits” I wonder if we are failing to credit them for their many hours of hard exploration and developmental work, of rehearsal, of experimentation and live learning?

Maybe we are also exposing an almost cultural or systemic inattention to investing in the development of “soft” improvisation skills. It is as if we categorise improvisation as a “magic” possessed, innately, by only a chosen few.

It isn’t.

Maybe it is time to notice, reflect, and act on the training and development of improvisation?

Dave Stewart
Managing Director
The Fresh Air Learning Company Ltd