Look, all I'm saying is if you take two people of the same basic skill. One takes a stand-up class for 13 weeks and the other DOES stand-up for 13 weeks in the end the one who got on stage will be better off than the one who took the class. And have more money in their pocket.
And contrary to what anybody says, telling a joke, writing a joke, making people laugh, etc is not math. There is no one single correct way to do it. Good googaly moogaly what a boring world this would be if that were true.
I love it when young comics ask me if some new bit of material is funny. My answer, "dunno, tell it to the audience and see if they laugh".
And for every "famous guy example" that proves one point of view there are at least as many "famous guy examples" to prove the other.
This is my opinion based on my experience (as a comedian).
Some assembly required, your results may vary, all guarantees null and void, etc etc etc.
Easy, funny people.
Isn't it possible that individuals are different?
Some comics may possess an innate sense of joke structure and timing. Others may need a little help finding their funny.
How about that theory?
Not disagreeing there Michael. I've never taken a stand up class...but I understand that there is joke structure and different styles and types of jokes...and that a lot of comics out there are relying simply on luck with their jokes/stories. Regardless if they studied or not...all the comics you see on TV fall into one category or another.
I definitely think some people are born with better comedic timing and such. I'm simply saying that you can learn a ton from comics that know to write. Because you can write jokes that very rarely fail if they have structure.
I'm not disagreeing with JJS about learning a ton actually getting out there and doing open mics, but from what I'm told doing the classes is virtually the same thing with an instructor that guides. I asked a gal I know who did one of these classes about this and she said they got up and perform every class...then they talk about what worked and what didn't and why. Its just seems like a "safe" environment to learn.
So yes if you're already pretty confident go out and try some open mics...or even if you're not. But if you are finding it difficult...I'd recommend giving a class a try if its something you're truly interested in working out.
Note to self....open mics in LA are pretty rough. Getting laughs is difficult because its mostly, if not all, other comics trying to work out their own material.
A friend of mine took Judy Carter's class. Said it was excellent. And he does the school of hard knocks thing simulaniously. I saw his third or fourth stage appearence. Pretty good!
I think much like acting, successful stand up is a mix of knowledge (gained from class or on your own), experience (gained from class but mostly on your own) and your own voice (can't be taught, but possibly could be nourished and guided).
If you want to be a stand up comic, I would say research these classes past this board. I am sure there is a stand-up or comedy board similar to this one.
If you want to become a comedic actor, comedy based improv classes such as The Groundlings or UCB might be a better bet. That and classes which teach sitcom pacing and acting styles.
And, as always...do what you think fits you!
Granted you're posting from the personal experience of your son. But I teach classes in L.A. and there is no requirement to bring people to your showcase. I don't get a piece of the showcase at all!
Why would a comedy class be any different from an acting class and why would you lump all comedy classes into the same unfortunate experience that you had with your son?
I guess a larger question could also be why didn't you audit the class and ask more questions before you registered your son in the class???
I allow complete audits of my class and as a 26-year comedy professional and a writer for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, I have a bit of a background in the field.
I love to teach the classes and I love it when my students get up on stage and knock it out of the park! Then finish the class and go out and get gigs!
My advice to anyone reading your comment would be to always check references and reviews on Yelp! Yahoo, Google and other sources to see what the feedback is from other paying customers and never take advice from someone who lumps all classes (in whatever category) into the same pile.
You're doing the readers of this BB a disservice because you had ONE bad experience.
In a nutshell, look around, audit the class and do your homework before investing your hard-earned money into any class... and especially vet the class if your child is taking the class!
On the East Coast kids can get a start at Gotham's KidsnComedy. My son did the program for several years until he aged out and still comes back for the professional kids monthly shows. Gotham and NYComedyClub both have classes for the older set.
The kid is doing the rounds of NYC venues with great feedback as he makes his way as a comedian and actor. Luckly his manager reps comedians. Sorry I don't have insight into the LA scene.
Hi JokeWriter - Your point is well taken, but I did say maybe someone knows of a good one and you and several others provided examples. Perhaps it would be good marketing to put that no "pay to play" is required for your class.
I find it hard to believe that you are surprised this happened. I get buyer beware, but the credentials looked good. They didn't start laying on the pressure until showtime.
My son was around 20 at the time and hasn't been doing standup lately. The purpose of my post was to make people aware that there is an element in the standup world that I believe does play on "rubes" to fill their clubs. Besides the class--and I'm telling you the pressure was REALLY heavy handed and somewhat thug-like he had experience with two clubs in which this is the business model. Once he brought the requisite friends and then got bumped. Also after class he was contacted by people that seemed to be on commission to get performers into clubs on this system. All an educational experience, but I thought I could I could make other newbies aware that this is a possibility.
Didn't mean to paint everyone with a broad brush, but this doesn't seem to occur in improv except at one place that makes it clear you have to sell tickets. Someone mentioned it is common for up and coming bands to get space to perform (on Tuesday at midnight...).
I can also see an upside in that it is a way to be seen on a great stage--you just need to know the cost.
There's a lot of good advice on this thread. The guy who wrote um...do stand up... he's right. The guy who wrote you can learn joke structure...he's right.
A lot of good comedians, Jeff Ross, Whoopie Goldberg,just to name a couple, took stand up courses.
It's a skill, just like acting or playing an instrument. You learn the fundamentals and your natural abilities will help determine where you wind up.
3 Steps for finding a good comedy teacher: Step 1. See if they have any video online of themselves doing stand-up. If they don't move to step 2.
Step 2. Throw out their number.
Step 3. If they have video, watch it. Do they make you laugh? Do they seem to have the fundamentals down for comedy structure? Is the audience laughing? Do you trust them? If the answer is no, repeat step 2.
You make a good point about using it no "pay-to-play" as information in the marketing, but I didn't know other classes pressured their students.
Clubs do have "bringer-producers" that aren't necessarily employed by the clubs that use heavy-handed tactics to urge their comics to bring people. I hate that stuff. But two things are working here. 1. Club owners are lazy and cheap for the most part and if they can get away with NOT having to promote their club and be responsible for putting butts in the seats, then they won't work at it. So they rely on bringer-producers to do it for them. Short-term buck, long-term negative impact on the comedy business. 2. Comics are also notoriously cheap and this is a business. If there are no butts in the seats not only do you NOT have an audience, but the club your playing in doesn't make money. No Money, eventually no more club. That equates to no place to play. Both sides need to develop a better method of developing an audience and getting people down to the venue.
In my classes, no one is pressured to bring people to their showcases, they are briefed on the nature of the business and what's now expected of them from club owners.
One of my friends in the business put it this way, "In one respect, all shows are bringer shows."
Any other legit classes that actually teach in LA and none of this bringer, extra BS we were discussing?
Has anyone taken the Flappers comedy class or The Greg Wilson's class? Joke writer, if you want to tell me your honest opinion on these or compare and contrast your class I would appreciate it.
just another actor..
I am on the verge to do Open Mike in Boston and Providence for fun. I think I check this book, or I have an idea what I will use and get on stage and say...."This is gonna be a first class stand up crash...My first time, well, a second stand up because the first time it was on church! But hey, if you laugh at me, that's fine. I guess I am funny, don't laugh a gut...unless we have a EMT here...Anyone? Yea, like I said..Wait do we have lawyer?...Good, I ask you...If a stand up comedy makes a person laugh to hard and they drop dead...Will that be murder? if so, I am not doing this career..." pretend to walk off stage..."Just kidding guys. Now lets start!"
That was out of my head for fun.
I though Don KNOX when you said hard knocks. LOL
You have to know your audience. You got to feel it. You shoot the hook out, snag them, and yank em. It is all due knowing when to pull. I always get laughs when I sample at my job. I am like a comedian as I work. I put the two together.
I rather fail trying on open mike and not trying. I mean Open mike is the BEST class you can give yourself. <3
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