"I'm an entertainer who entertains... with a message."
Grant Edmonds is not your average everyday entertainer. And, he's definitely not your average everyday person.
"Whenever someone who knows me well tries to describe me to someone who doesn't know me, all they usually come up with is, 'He's Grant, he's unique; you just have to get to know him.' And, really that's the biggest compliment anyone can give me. One of my friends describes me as a 'person who wears many faces, but it's all Grant.'"
He wears two of his most well-known faces while performing his two self-created shows. In one, he's a goofy game show host / director, and in another he's a more serious lecturer / teacher but still with a trace of silliness. The shows? The Grant Edmonds Comedy Variety Game Show and Love G.E.A.R.S. (Grant Edmonds Activity-based Relationship Show; "long-winded, yes, hence the acronym").
HE LIKES TO TALK... AND LISTEN
"Communicating is my favorite thing. It's my favorite way to bond with people." Even though one of the shows is a semi-lecture and the other involves show participants entertaining the crowd in return for monetary compensation (all tasteful, mind you), the listening he does to the students is an integral and extremely important part of each show. "It's all about the interaction. This high level of interaction, I believe, really separates these shows from other similar shows. And, I'd want it no other way."
Grant constantly must adjust to what the students say and do during the course of both shows. In the Comedy Variety Game Show, they answer questions which may require follow-up questions or quick witticism. And, then the students perform, Grant makes comments -- humorous or otherwise -- to keep them on track, to enhance their enjoyment level, or to help out the contestants. And, he has to constantly stay in touch with what the crowd is feeling as well. "If an audience is starting to lose a little interest in our contestants for any reason, I pay attention to that and throw something in to keep their interest level high. Likewise, if a crowd is a little too excited at times, it's my job to reign it in and make sure the show stays focused without taking any enjoyment out of the show. My goal is to have everyone say they enjoyed themselves, no matter what type of person you are. Introverted or extroverted, high-energy or low-energy, nice or mean... whatever."
Grant also has to gauge the individuals on stage. "I ask my self, 'Do they really want to be here?' Hopefully, they do, because they did volunteer, but every so often they change their minds when they get up on stage. For instance, some contestants don't feel comfortable dancing in front of people. I need to find that out and see if they need a sub, because many times students won't just come out and tell you." In addition, Grant needs to gauge how much he can mess with the contestants, if they can take a joke, for instance. "Sometimes I go overboard, and if the audience confirms that by their reactions I'll succomb and give the contestant a dollar or two. I just want to keep it light and jovial, so no ill will is meant towards anyone. I let them make fun of me, too. It's one big fun sober party, but I'm the host, and it's my job to make sure all have a good time. But, I need to gauge each individual on the fly in order to do that."
As with the game show, Grant plays some interactive games with students during his lecture, Love G.E.A.R.S. While they are light-hearted by nature, they are meant to provide clear-cut examples of serious issues, all of which, again, include a lot of questions and answers, and gauging audience members. "I need to make sure they get it. If anyone is confused, I encourage them to ask questions. If they seem bored with a particular point, then it's time to move on. If I get confused looks, I'll ask them questions for them to answer. And of course, there are the exercises and games they have to play with each other, to which I have to adjust."
Grant's favorite thing, though, is when he learns from the students. Whether it's a matter of what show ideas do or don't work or students throwing out an idea that Grant didn't cover (but everyone can learn from), new concepts introduced by others makes the show more rewarding. "Especially in Love G.E.A.R.S. some students ask solid questions about things I've covered, which adds depth to those topics. And, some students will flat out ask questions on things I haven't covered at all. That's awesome, because while those ideas may not have fit into any original outline, there are so many permutations of topics to address when talking about relationships that I relish the chance to talk about those things as well. One can talk about relationship-oriented topics for hours, days, weeks, whatever. I only get an hour or so to babble, so I have to have my structure. But the Q&A time I allot during the show can at least give us a chance to venture 'outside the lines'. And I love that, because we all learn so much from it, including me!"
HE LOVES TO TEACH, TOO
"No matter how I interact with another, my aim is to somehow improve their life, even if just for a moment." Grant loves to laugh, but he loves other's laughter even more. Hence, his career. But he explains, even laughter is not his ultimate goal with others. "As great as laughter is, it's a temporary thing. The real trick is to help others find ways to laugh on a more permanent basis, and give them lifelong tools to be happy. That's the key."
With Comedy Variety Game Show has an important message as well, although it may not be as obvious to those money-hungry contestants. "It's about being special, being you, being unique, being unafraid of others' opinions, and being able to laugh at yourself. We don't want to be cookie-cutter people, really. It's safe, but it's not the best use of our personalities."
Laugh and be happy -- two important messages from two different shows.
Two different faces from one unique individual.