Among my professional storytelling peers, I have heard objections to the slam storytelling format.
Okay. Maybe not objections. Observations.
My professional storyteller peers frequently observe that slam venues (bars and clubs where food and drink service happens while tellers are telling) and the slam format (scorekeeping and strict, short time limits) force storytellers into a Lowest Common Denominator frame of mind. In five minutes about all you can aim for is titillation and cheap laughs.
At last night’s slam, my name got drawn out of the bucket. Here’s my story on the night’s theme — “The Birds and the Bees.” It’s titled: “Like Nothing Happened.”
If you want to win a slam, yes, I think you need to have a funny story. If you want to polish and polish and polish a big fat story into a tough little gem, I highly recommend the discipline of the slam format. There are slam tellers out there — and I regard them with unveiled envy and admiration — who manage to get the laughs and deliver a story with substance. Maybe if I keep applying myself…