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And I Am Not Lying: Live, Raw Storytelling04:12
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(visual.dichotomy/Flickr)
(visual.dichotomy/Flickr)

Stories make us laugh, cry, think. They help us share with each other a sense of what it is to be human. Sometimes they're told to close friends around a fireplace, but for Jeff Simmermon and his troupe, they're more fun — and perhaps, more revealing — on stage.

Jeff Simmermon is the founder of the New York-based storytelling group And I Am Not Lying, which started as a blog in 2003 but soon developed into a monthly, live storytelling sideshow, complete with stand-up routines, musical performances, and a little burlesque.

"Storytelling is a performative art," Simmermon explained, "[It] kind of exists halfway in between stand-up and theater. But [the stories] don't have to be funny."

On of those not-so-funny stories Simmermon once told was about an abusive relationship he had been in. After his performance he says he "felt like I had popped a boil on the side of my life. It was just so refreshing and renewing to be finished, and I feel like that resonated with the crowd."

Simmermon said storytelling brings people together in a way that stand-up comedy doesn't.

"Stand-up can be operating at a remove where you point your finger and laugh at something," Simmermon said. "But I think storytelling requires that you accept responsibility for the decisions you've placed yourself in, and then you take the audience all the way through it."

And I Am Not Lying will be performing Thursday night with The Boston Typewriter Orchestra at The Middle East in Cambridge. The event is sponsored by WBUR.

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Here's a sample of The Boston Typewriter Orchestra's work:

This segment aired on September 12, 2012.

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