Sara Shaw: Sprinkling humor through life

Sara Shaw (Our York Media)

Humor is the spice of life, and Sara Shaw adds it in all life dishes out, from work to play.

She’s part of The Oxymorons, an improv group she co-founded with several friends – including her now-husband, Andy – and No Artificial Sweeteners, an all-female improv group that does shows for charity. Humor also colors her work as a college professor and a body-image advocate.

“I process life through a humor-colored lens,” Sara says. “I add it to every part of my life, without really intending to. I try to find the levity in almost every situation because I think that helps people relate.”

Sara has done theater for as long as she can remember, and every level involved some sort of improv training. When Andy, then just a friend, asked for help with his stand-up act, it sparked an idea. They both brought together some other friends who were interested in improv, and The Oxymorons were born.

“I think humor allows people to feel safe to engage in subject matter that can otherwise be intimidating.”

“Improv is special,” she says. “You’re experiencing something unique every single time, and it really requires you to make yourself vulnerable and trust your partners, which is something that is hard to do in life.”

Adding that touch of humor also helps Sara bring understanding to a variety of topics – many of them serious, and some a bit scary. She uses humor in her body image program, Mirror Mirror, in which she shares her near-fatal experience with anorexia.

“I think humor allows people to feel safe to engage in subject matter that can otherwise be intimidating,” she says.

It also helps her and Andy navigate life together.

“For us, it’s one of the foundations of our relationship,” Sara says. “We’re both willing to laugh at ourselves, to try to see the funny or positive side of things, especially when we have challenging situations.”

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