January is an especially stressful time for all of us, what with going back to work, and making plans for the future, and doing it all in the biting winter cold. After a long slog, we go looking for something to ease our troubled minds. Well, here’s one that’s coming to us, and costs less than a shot of bourbon.
Tonight, Australian writer and performer Nick Coyle brings his $6 guided meditation comedy show to New York for a one-night-only run at Union Hall. It’s part comedy, part cognitive therapy and it’s the cure to being stuck in another boring show.”Being trapped in a bad show where time stops and your brain is just chanting ‘bored, bored, bored, bored’ is something we can all relate to,” Coyle says. “I wanted to do a show that would relax everyone as much as possible.”
Whereas most of the city’s standard comedy shows just make you wish you were elsewhere, in this performance, Coyle promises take you there himself.
How does this so-called guided meditation work? “We dim the lights, play some whale music,” Coyle tells us. “Then I lead [the audience] on a journey to complete serenity in under an hour.”
Okay, so this guy isn’t exactly qualified to guide you through a meditation. He’s a comedian, not a guru, and the event’s disclaimer reads:
FYI THIS IS A JOKE MEDITATION BUT IT IS STILL POWERFULLY COSMIC.
But, much like any of us, Coyle is well-attuned to the tropes of modern spirituality.
“I think everyone just kind of knows the self-help genre pretty well,” he says. “Regardless of whether or not you have a dream catcher tattoo.”
Even if you’ve never namaste‘d your way through a yoga class or bought a juice cleanse subscription, you’ll probably recognize most of the cornball methods Coyle employs to help you achieve inner peace, which include “headbutting your self-doubt” and “disciplining your spirit animal.”
The show debuted in Sydney in 2014, and went on to a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015. Now, Coyle is bringing his guided meditation practice to American audiences, to see if it resonates the same way. Comedy classicists, beware: this show definitely falls into the “alt” category.
“It’s too relaxing to be a comedy show, but it’s too funny to be a meditation,” he said. “If you hate hybrid genres, this will infuriate you.”
Coyle also admitted that, just like a real meditation or anything designed to will a spiritual awakening, his show has the capacity to induce adverse effects.
“Once, a woman woke up screaming,” he says of a past performance.
Coyle’s show takes place tonight at Union Hall (702 Union St.) at 8pm, with opening acts by John Early, Maeve Higgins and Claudia O’Doherty. Tickets are only $6, which is far less than you’d end up paying for an acupuncture treatment, massage, therapy session or even a bottle of essential oil. In other words, this is your cheapest route to finding inner peace tonight.