Posts Tagged ‘St. Charles’

The Joy Of Teaching

July 7, 2010

Tuesday July 6th, 2010 – St. Charles, IL

Another outstanding comedy class session at Zanies tonight, this time in St. Charles, IL at Pheasant Run Resort. This was the last week of this particular series, and all the people in it were extra sharp students. They’d either missed a class or two in the past or wanted a chance to get back into it, and I offered it at no cost just to create some goodwill business.

I love teaching anyway, especially to students who want to soak it all up like I did when I was starting out. I brought Bill Gorgo with me and together we always have fun and are able to feed off each other’s creative energy and teaching vibe. We make a splendid team.

Performing comedy is still my biggest thrill, but teaching is running a close second. It’s extremely satisfying to be able to help someone live a dream, but also a challenge to earn someone’s trust and have a person buy in to what I’m trying to teach. It never gets boring.

Every person is different and that makes every class different, and that keeps it fresh on a teaching level. Some students are better than others, but this group had some top quality people who wanted to learn. Even though I did it for free, it was worth the weekly drive.

Eric Hedman is an example of a top flight student. He’s a couple of years younger than me, and a fireman in one of the Chicago suburbs. He’s married with kids, and being a dad is the basis of his stage persona. He was in a previous class session and his act grew every single week. He was hungry to learn, took to heart what I said and it sped up his progress.

He came back again and did the same thing. Bill and I were pummeling him pretty good but that’s exactly what he needed to hear. Kudos to him for standing on stage and taking a verbal beating from two different sides of the stage. That’s how to really get better. Fast.

Eric gets out in the open mike scene in Chicago and sees how it is. He loves comedy on a level higher than most people, but also has a family to support. I think there are so many Eric Hedman types in North America, I couldn’t begin to count them all. I’d love to have the chance to let them all come out of their shells and grow in a good way like Eric has.

Younger people are fine too, but someone older has life experiences to build upon and a completely different way of putting their comedy together. It’s fun to watch them grow up as performers, and in many cases it adds excitement to their entire life. What a thrill to be part of something like that, and an honor too. In my mind, that’s the way to spend a life.

Bill is winding down his real life teaching career, and would love to do more events like this. I would too. We’ve got a comedy writing one day full seminar coming up on August 1st, at a place to be determined. The guy promoting it hasn’t chosen a final destination yet.

He will, and we’ll show up ready to teach. That’s never the hard part. The hard part is to find people to fill the seats. We’re starting to do that too, even though it’s not taking place fast enough. It never does. All I can do is keep growing as a teacher and see where it goes.