Comedy Class Kickoff

Wednesday September 28th, 2011 – Palatine, IL

   Tonight was the official kickoff of comedy classes at Harper College in Palatine, IL and everything fell into place perfectly. There was a live show from 6:30 to 7:30 with some of my former students performing, and then an abbreviated version of the class from 8 to 9.

   I don’t think they’ve done too many events like this at Harper in the past and it was very well received. Scott Cashman is the person in charge of continuing education and he’s the one who suggested we try this to drum up interest. I’m glad he did, it was quite a success.

   The whole staff I’ve been dealing with from Scott on down have been nothing short of a dream team to work with. I’ve gotten quickly frustrated in the past with all the red tape of dealing with colleges, but not here. I feel like we’re all part of a team and we‘re winning.

   This is a kind of thing I can see doing again and again, and it’s a win/win for everybody involved. My students get precious stage time in front of a real audience, and Harper gets to have a fun free event to promote. I get exposure in an area I normally wouldn’t be seen, and get to both perform and teach on the same night. That’s not something I normally do.

   Bill Gorgo came out mainly to visit and support but since the audience was so receptive he went up and did a killer ten minute set. I knew he was the perfect choice for this event as he’s a high school teacher by trade and understands where the line is in this scenario.

   I also asked Karl Newyear, Michelle Krajecki and Russ Martin to be part of it, and they all showed up and knocked it out of the park despite the fact there was no microphone for the show. Scott overlooked that detail but nobody was upset. It was an intimate room and not a problem to speak loud enough for everyone to hear. It was a good exercise actually.

   It’s fun for me to watch students grow, and to also be able to reward them with a chance to do a show in front of an appreciative audience. Karl, Michelle and Russ have all put in a lot of work for years and deserved a night like this. Having Bill close it out made it flow perfectly, then a large number of the audience ended up staying for the class afterward.

   I love teaching with Bill because he not only knows comedy but is also a techno wizard. I have all I can handle to check my email but Bill brings flash drives packed with obscure audio and video and we can access it in a New York minute. It makes it easy to go off on tangents in class because we can bring up the concrete examples to show what we mean.

   The show and class together were a winning combo, and those who attended enjoyed it. I’m not sure how many will actually pay to sign up for the real class, but it was still worth it to put this together as an introduction. Eventually I think it can become a regular event.

   The thrill of all of this is that we’re starting up completely from nothing. I never tire of the feeling of accomplishment that brings, and I’m grateful for a chance to work with the staff at Harper who are letting it happen. These students are going to get a fantastic class.


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