Comedy With Class

Monday December 12th, 2011 – Chicago, IL

Some of the most fun times I’ve ever had in a comedy club have come when the club is not even open for business. Read into that statement whatever you will, but this time I am referring to a comedy class. When everything goes right, it’s an exhilarating experience.

What makes it so enjoyable is the melding together of creative minds with a purpose to create something positive – laughter. Some students are better than others, and all of them are in the beginning stages of what will be a life long journey should they choose to do it.

It’s a safe environment, because I make it that way. I encourage them to ask questions at any time, and it’s an absolute blast for me to watch them grow. There’s a little switch that goes on in someone’s head when a concept takes root, and I never get sick of watching as a face lights up when someone catches on. I feel like a little league coach and it’s a kick.

Tonight I gave students a final bonus session for an especially good class I’ve got going at Zanies in Chicago. It was an excellent mix of people from diverse backgrounds, as has frequently been the case. I just finished another class at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL and that was the same thing. I liked them as well, and gave them a bonus session too.

It’s an added value to the class, and I love it when they get that glimmer in their eye like they’re scamming something for nothing. Nobody has ever complained, but what they fail to realize is that I get just as much or more out of being there than they do. It’s a win/win.

Being around standup comedy and constantly preaching the fundamentals over and over helps keep my instincts razor sharp for my own act. If I’m constantly thinking about it for someone else, I can’t help but think about it for me too. What I love about class when it’s going well is, the group can watch each other grow, and they experience the same thing.

Tonight’s class was small but mighty. We only had three students, and each were about as different as different gets. One was an actress and self described ‘former hippie chick’. Another was a musician with OCD who just turned 50. The third was a single dad around 30 who looks 18. They’re very diverse, but all have a similar spark of creativity inside.

They each went up on stage and went through their act, and that’s never easy in front of three people. I tell them, and it’s true, that it’s good practice at this point in their games to just get up there and plow through it on a real stage. It’s a luxury most newbies never get.

All three of them did a splendid job, and I had them go through their routine twice. One time I just let them go, but the second I stopped them at certain points and critiqued them gently but firmly so everyone could learn. They needed it, and everyone took it correctly.

These people got what I was telling them, and I think all three are going to stay with the process, at least I hope they do. They’ve all put in a noble effort, and I’m extremely proud of how each has grown so much in such a short time. If nothing else, I enjoyed seeing it.

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