Highlight: The essential element

Beloved comedian Bob Stromberg has spent decades generating laughter in his stand up sets, one man shows & through the comedy theater phenomenon, Triple Espresso. But lately he’s turned his thoughts to sharing the engine behind his creativity with the next generation of performers.

“I started having people saying to me: you need to pass the baton on to some younger people. I remember saying, well I don’t know if I’ve gotten the baton yet! I feel like I’ve just started to get good at this!”

“I started to think – okay what is it that has kept me busy for forty years? What have I been doing? I realized that I’ve been utilizing creativity every step of the way.”

Bob began analyzing the process he used to craft his material.

“What is creativity? How have I been using it? I realized that I’ve been doing three things.”

I have been grabbing anything that grabbed me emotionally. Any emotion: things that make you feel good, things that make you feel terrible, things that make you angry or happy.”

“If you see something that’s interesting, you describe it. You write it down. It doesn’t have to mean anything. You know, there’s no context to it. It’s just a sentence that says, ‘So a little girl who grabbed her doll and now she’s running back and getting it, and her mom’s angry because… impatient.’ Okay, you’re right, it doesn’t mean anything.”

After the moment and the emotion have been captured, the application can begin.

“After you grab something, you interrogate. You go back to this list that you grabbed, and you ask the question – why did you grab me? What was there about that little girl?”

“I describe the ‘Aha!’ idea moment as that moment when a thought that you grab becomes an idea that you can can begin to transform.”

“So you grab, you interrogate, and once you’ve found the truth, once you have that ‘aha’ moment – oh I know what that means now. I know how that could be used. Once you have that moment, then you transform it into the story illustration you want it to be. That’s the process.”

Bob Stromberg is a celebrated comedian, author, and the co-creator of the comedy theater phenomenon Triple Espresso. His newest effort is a creative development tool called Mastering the Craft of Creativity.

On the Road with Bob Stromberg