CLASSES AND MENTORING
Comedy Schools have a bad rep and for many it’s rightfully so. Most are presented by clubs with a design on one thing: getting the newcomers money before they figure out the stand up game. If your comedy school has more than say 12 to 14 students in your class, good luck getting the attention you’ll need to grow. Our school was created with the inclusion of stage time, which is the only way to learn stand up comedy. No teaching, instructor, or coach can make you funny or prepare you for the rigors of the stand up stage. Then why take classes?
All the greats in any area, have mentors. From Michael Jordan, to Abe Lincoln, to Albert Einstein, everyone had mentors to become the very best at what they do. Almost all the comics I know that are breaking into the pro ranks have taken classes, received private instruction, and surrounded themselves with quality writers, performers, and business advisers. Stand up comedy is an extraordinarily difficult art form that takes years and years to perfect, there is no way around it. Having great mentors can take some time off of your journey. I’ve had several coaches, and still consult them from time to time.
There’s a great saying, “Learn from others mistakes because you won’t live long enough to make them all yourself!”. Comics that have been doing this for years can offer you very valuable insight such as what clubs are right for you, helping you to develop original ideas, navigate difficult audiences, give business advice, and so much more.
Many of the greats have ghost writers. That is, they hire top flight professional writers who remain silent that they are working with them. Why? Some comics have ego issues and want everyone to believe they wrote everything. Some feel it would interfere with their audience connection once fans find out the material is written by others. Many great comics have writing partners, sometimes the same partner for years and years. I personally take suggestions from everyone. A drunk audience member at an open mic came up to me after a show and offered a punch that was a total home run! So, if the regular Joe can do it, a comic with writing experience should be able to do the same.
If finances prevent you from classes, there are a couple of things to consider. First off, you should have some money saved to invest in your stand up career. Again, almost all the comics I know breaking through have done road gigs at their own expense, spent money on classes, tutoring, wardrobe, recording devices, seminars, festivals, and more.
If you don’t have money at all, we conduct free workshops from time to time, and you are always welcome to audit (observe) a class of ours free of charge. At LBC, we are dedicated to helping everyone on every budget and every level; I hope you can partake in one or our workshops soon.