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Watch them teach and watch them perform; these are two different skill sets. Demand the performance resume of anyone who claims to teach comedy. Kurtis Matthews and Michael Meehan are nationally touring comedians.

Make people laugh

A minimum of five years teaching is a good indication that someone is heading a successful program and not just cobbling together a workshop passing for a quick paycheck. In addition, look for a long term class schedule posted on their websites as it will show that this person is serious about teaching, has a healthy program and can help with your long term comedy future. Comprehensive Career Support Does your instructor offer access to stage time?

Can they help you with a problem that you may encounter many years into the business? Network Does the instructor provide you access to real comedy club stage time and positive working comedians who are progressing in their careers? The SFCC comedy and booking network will provide you with five to ten times more stage time than you would receive by working with teachers who work independently or have some indefinable self-proclaimed connection with the comedy industry.

Emphasis on Performance Will your instructor get you in front of paying audiences? Stand-up comedy is an art form done in front of people.


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Poor instruction will put emphasis on writing material, which may help you become a decent comedy writer but will not help you in your quest to become a powerful performer. Killer stand up material is best created on stage. The comedian makes the material, not the other way around. Integrity Does your instructor offer access to people who will vouch for their talent? Do they claim their events always sell out when they never do?

Get referrals and ask working comedians for recommendations. We welcome and encourage you to do your research before you attend our classes. Location, Infrastructure and Stage Time. Does your instructor have a legitimate, safe, public space in which to teach comedy or are they running a flailing side business out of the back of their house? Location, legitimacy within the city in which they operate and the ability to excel as a business speaks to the success and quality of the program being offered. Question the PT Barnum-type comedy seminars that blow through town and leave nothing for you in their wake except an empty wallet, a few promises and an email address that may or may not work.

And please if you are in market with poor or no comedy venues we are happy to work with you via Skype.

The Real Reason Comedians Make Us Laugh

Is the Bay Area a good place to start your comedy career? Of course, if your goal is to stay in the Bay Area, you can do that and have a nice career if you are willing to self-promote! People at my open mic say I should never go to comedy school. How bout dat? Many people new to comedy believe they are unique talents and entitled to opinions about how the industry works. However, unless they have careers as full-time comedians or have been through the real comedy markets in LA and NYC then their opinion means little to nothing. Be skeptical of advice given by hobbyist level comedians if they a.

Still have day jobs that aren't comedy related b. Haven't established themselves in the LA or NY markets c.

Stand-up comedy - Wikipedia

Have no national television credits d. Have never or rarely performed out of your local market e. Don't get booked and paid on weekends at major comedy clubs and f. Believe learning another way to do learn comedy can't possibly help. Show Business is two words. Although you may learn how to do a show in awkward open mics over a long period time, open mic level comedians and open mics can't teach you the business.

Why are comedy classes a better place to develop then open mics?

How to be Funny in Any Conversation

It's a safe place to suck and no one with a club or work will get a horrible first impression about your awkward new talent phase that will ruin your chance for work in a locale for years.. None of the comedians in classes are 'competing' with you. In fact, at the SFCC they are there to write material for your act and give you feedback!

No one will illegally steal your material or post it online with hopes of ruining your career. You won't get false positives on your material coming from audiences who pay nothing to watch comedy or a room full of non marketable comedians. You won't be abused by hecklers which will never be a normal part of functional stand up gigs. You aren't killing business in legitimate bars and clubs, causing their audiences to flee and ruining peoples opinion of stand up. You need good stage time to become a good comedian. What we mean is that if you are working in front of audiences who have paid to see comedy you have a chance to move to the higher ranks of the industry.

Sadly, in very few if any clubs offer you a place to make mistakes and only a few nights to work out. One-nighters are crammed with weak talent who fight to get a few minutes a few times a month at low end venues. In the 90s, there were many quality open-mics where one could grow as a comedian. It is true that you can be a bad comedian by showing up to years of open-mics with no instruction.

You can also become a pilot by not going to flight school, a poor piano player by sitting at a piano for a long period of time or a mediocre surfer with a surfboard and some ocean. There are many bad gigs all over America where you can learn career ending habits as a comedian. Poor stage time is detrimental, and some funny people will quit comedy early when they take a bad gig on the wrong night and have no mentors to provide clarity and talk them off the ledge. Every SFCC open mic is populated with teachers and paid comedians who will gladly give you support, honest feedback, material and direction.

I write material, memorize it, and then perform.


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  • What else is there? Now you are an actor with a script. Material is the LEAST important aspect at the beginning of your journey to become a competent comedian an exciting live performer. Your ability to write funny material comes after you learn to be natural in front of an audience. Read on, then watch this space…. The reason why I do comedy is because of a show called The Boondocks, an animated show, and Chappelle's show. I was always a fan of comedy shows like The Simpsons and all that good stuff.

    And also, my friends were all very talented people in high school. My best friend Jeff was valedictorian, my other friend Jimmy was gonna go D1 [college division one] in basketball, my other friend was gonna go play college football. And I was just like I had no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

    During the last week of school I was just being a cocky dick saying how funny I was, and my friend Maria and my friend Darius tricked me into signing up for an open mic. Kim: So do you think that being around other people who were really talented at something influenced that decision?

    Worried what people think? Try being a stand-up comedian

    I was just scared of being a loser. So I was like, okay let me figure out how to go and tell jokes. I just really wanted to write for TV, to be honest. And now I'm doing both. I love both. Kim: So how long have you been doing this for now? Jak: Checking your ego is a big one.

    Because at the end of the day what you think is funny, the world might not think is funny. So you're going to have to check your ego and adjust words and adjust phrases. I don't think that's funny. You could have done that at the house. But if you like going to all the rooms, from the black rooms to the white rooms to the alt rooms I think that's the talented people. You have to be able to bounce through all those types of rooms and be funny. Kim: As a comedian up on stage, you get instant feedback.

    Are You Funny Enough To Be A Comedian?

    Along your journey who, apart from your audience, has helped you get better by giving you that feedback? Jak: My friends. Kim: When you say they look out for you, how do they look out for you practically? Jak: If I'm being corny or if I'm doing something that isn't really who I am they'll call me out on it. But a lot of comedians want the answer.

    And that's not how this works. You have to find the answer because you're the artist. If that reference makes sense to anyone here?!


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    Kim: Is that personal meaning something you hope that other people will realise or is it more for your own satisfaction? Jak: Both. I'm not begging people to realise. You know some people just want to come and get a laugh and go home. Some people do want some deeper meaning, and some people want only the deeper meaning and no funny. Jak: No! I hate all younger comedians! They should all quit! No, I just do the same as people who looked out for me.

    I give them spots [recommend them to people]. But in terms of advice, I only give them advice when they ask for it. My show yesterday was great, the day before was fine, the day before that was terrible.