Pam Victor is the founder and president of Happier Valley Comedy where she runs Through Laughter, a personal and professional growth program, and a multi-level improv comedy school as well as producing regular improv shows in Western Massachusetts. Pam is the author of "Baj and the Word Launcher: A Space-Aged Asperger Adventure in Communication" and, also with legendary improvisers TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi, co-author of "Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ & Dave Book." A graduate of Smith College with a Master's in Education from Iona College, Pam has received improv training from iO Theater (Chicago), Annoyance Theatre (Chicago), ImprovBoston, and from Second City teachers. Pam is a nice person. She would probably like you.
I hope you like Pam. Because I had a blast interviewing her. The moment I learned about the women's empowerment retreat she's planning, which has the current working title Females Unleashing Courage, Knowledge, Individuality & Truth (F.U.C.K. I.T!), I knew we had to talk. We talk about life through an improv filter. Pam offers tremendous insight into its practical applications, which helps us slay the mental BS that slows us down or burns us out.
Selected link love + resources from the episode
- Connect with Pam on social media: Twitter | Facebook
- Sally "The Great" Ekus - The Joyganizer
- Happier Valley Comedy
- Franklin Planner
- Roper School in Michigan - children control their own learning
- Academy of Music in Northampton, MA
- The Ha-Ha's (improv troupe)
- The Can I Make a Living Doing What I Love? Experiment (on Pam's blog)
- Through Laughter Program (for organizations)
- Angela Lussier
- Smith College
- Resonate by Nancy Duarte (book)
- Conversations for Funny Feminists
- The Great Spirit of F.u.c.k. It - Females Unleashing Courage Knowledge Individuality and Truth
- Trader Joe's Turmeric Ginger Tea and dark chocolate
- Strawberry Cough (strain of marijuana in MA)
- Insight Timer (app with a great guided, step-up, step-into meditation)
- Todoist and Wunderlist (to-do list apps)
- You Need a Budget (the budgeting app that Kara swears by)
- 7 Minutes of Justice (Pam’s Facebook group for newly, politically-active, shy, lazy people)
- Kickass Theme Music: “Things Are Getting Better” Written by Rishi Dhir. Performed by The High Dials.
- Stay in the loop about future Le vital corps Salon episodes: Twitter | Facebook | The List (sent monthly-ish including helpful health + lifestyle information)
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Quotes + selected highlights from the episode
All of this wisdom is from Pam herself (with some minor edits for readability).
[00:04:30] Any time you get up without a script, you are improvising. If you're thinking right now, "Hey wait, that's life. We never have scripts," that is correct. Life is improv. [9.3]
[00:07:07] Actually, we have this huge net, and it's each other. Because the improv training is to support each other to be in agreement and acceptance with the reality of what's happening right now and how we can move forward together with that. [12.3]
[00:14:07] [Pam on Kara's research efforts for this podcast] Stalking is another way of saying I love you. [1.9]
[00:18:37] [On the "Can I Make A Living Doing What I Love?" Experiment] That's what I did. I just hustled my ass off, and it kind of worked out. I made the $16,000 in a half a year. [7.1]
[00:22:20] I have this weird relationship with money that I'm working through with my therapist. I think a lot of women do. It doesn't feel meaningful to me. It's hard for me to ask my worth. My brain shuts off any time someone starts talking about money to me. [20.2]
[00:26:32] [On the voice of unhelpful judgment] That voice that you're hearing is, in the Zen of Improv parlance that we use at Happier Valley Comedy, what I call the "evil mind meanie." That's the voice inside your head that's constantly conjugating to suck - I suck. You suck. We suck at this. They all suck. It points at other people, and it points at yourself the most: We suck at this. Everything is going to be bad. [24.8]
[00:37:15] When I'm stressed-out, my little hamster wheel in my monkey mind or monkey brain, I use Curiosity, this Zen idea of curiosity. That is just asking the question What would it be like not to be stressed right now? I don't want to answer the question. I don't have to follow the train of logic. Literally asking that question I find to be helpful. [25.6]
[00:43:24] Joy is one of my guideposts. The other one is easefulness, which is a word I may or may not have made up. [6.3]
[00:52:15] [On the imposter syndrome] Well, that's not fun. Let's not do that anymore. That's just a big f@&#ing waste of time. [11.0]
[01:02:16] "Yes and..." are known as being the two big words of improvisation. That is my training: To say yes. I think of it as a spirit of "Yes and..." It doesn't mean I literally have to say yes to everything coming down the line. [16.4]
[01:05:21] All those thoughts in your head are lies: I'm not good enough. I'm not going to do it. Who am I to think that I can stand up in front of people and be an expert about this? Why would they want to pay me any money to do this? Like all those that are Calvin's big f@&#ing lies (in Happier Valley Comedy parlance). None of that is true. None of it. Even a little. It might turn out that you didn't feel prepared, but you don't know what's going to happen. Get out of your way because that's the only thing that's stopping you from something spectacular. [35.0]
[01:10:02] If we only see one angle of a person when we're looking at them, we're assuming that they don't have the bullsh*t that's going on in our heads. They do. Everybody's got their sh*t, and everyone's just doing the best they can. [14.6]
[01:11:29] In fairness, if you're doing the experiment, you've got to f@&#ing do the experiment. That doesn't mean just say yes and then sit there thinking everything's going to come to you. You say yes, and you do the work. You hustle. You do what you need to do. [13.9]
[01:29:35] [On taking time off] It's real scary because I know that it's going to be so nasty when I get back. But I feel a lot better. [8.5]
[01:46:20] A modern woman is a woman who's living in this time that's actually happening right now versus a woman who's living in the past. You know those women who are still wearing their 80s haircut, right? Or a woman who is living in the future, right? [Or the women contemplating] the way it should be? You know what I mean. We should be moving towards progress, for sure, but you have to start from where we are right now. [25.4]
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