When a party is winding down, people will talk about a lot of weird crap.
But after they’ve run out of everything else to talk about, those who consider themselves humorous tend to wind up on a familiar debate. I am talking about the age old question “can comedy be taught?” Although “who would win in a fight, Batman or God?” is a close second (The answer, of course, is Batman because he is God). The comedy debate is a complex question, and one that a lot of people have strong convictions about for some reason. Seriously, if you ask anyone this question, they will have an answer prepared. Except for mimes of course.
I think it can be taught. At least I’m hoping like hell it can because I just joined a class. I did it because I could really use someone who knows what they’re talking about, I’d just like to actually have a teacher in this field. I’ve been going for three years at PLN with no guidance on how to write funny stuff. For me, that’s always been a little unsettling, and most of my lessons have come from the painfully slow process of trial and error. I’m really excited to have a teacher in comedy, and I’m also excited to have some structure. See, I tend to procrastinate.
My first class was this week, and it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as I thought it was going to be. It was taught by Karen Bergreen, who I had seen perform at my local theatre. She was great, after the show we talked and I mentioned I was interested in getting into comedy. She gave me some contact info and invited me to take the class. On our first day, we each had to come in with two minutes of material, so below is my set. Now, I debated showing just the actual performance, but Karen gave some really useful notes, and since this blog is all about me learning to do comedy I figured that it fit. I warn you, I’m not good at this yet, so be nice:
Now I reference some other sets in there because it was a room full of stand ups and I was like the 12th to go. The funniest set of the night was this one guy who absolutely killed it with jokes about foreskin. Though, he was British, so his accent is pretty much cheating. Americans just find British people talking hilarious.
The other thing you’ll notice is that my set wasn’t that great and the Karen was nothing but supportive. Seriously, with every single set she didn’t tease or rip us like you’d think a seasoned stand up would, she just gave us good advice. Actually, those tid bits were the highlights of the class, here are some of my favorites:
On drug use in comedy: “Enjoy your meth separately.”
On being controversial: “Don’t be a dick head.”
On being controversial anyway: “There’s always a dick head in each class though, and they have a great set. But they’re also being a dick.”
On talking about the female anatomy: “Don’t just do five minutes on a vagina, you’ll get bored.”
On grand thoughts: “Not every set is profound. Sometimes you just want to make a joke about a fat guy on the subway.”
On joking about AIDS: “What did I just say about not being a dick head?”
Overall, the class was great, and it’s not at all cut throat, I don’t feel like I’m competing with anyone, we’re all just here to help each other out and have a good time. I was really concerned that it’d be some big competition, like we’d all be fighting each other the whole time, but we’re all in this together, you know?
So stay tuned, I’ll be updating you each week on the various shenanigans, and thanks so much for following me along in the first place. You people are fabulous.