The beginning students from The Stand Up Comedy Clinic did their graduation showcase at the world famous Comedy Store last night and what a night it was! First off, all the students did a great job! I’m not just saying that either; Just terrific! Congratulations to you guys for doing such an amazing job. Some of our advanced students popped in and did terrific sets too, giving the audience a nice variety. The energy was palpable as the evening was capped off with a set by the one and only, Sarah Sliverman, who actually wrapped her gum in one of my business cards. (I’m selling it on E-Bay if anyone’s interested). And really, can the night get any better, when you have the always professional and always funny, Sally Mullins, doing her amazing job as hostess. She’s got one of the more difficult jobs in this business, (M.C., Warm Up, etc.), and she knocks it out of the park!
We also had another celebrity sighting in our audience at the showcase. Reiko Aylesworth, from “24, ” was in attendance. She said, she had a “great time, ” despite one of our students—I won’t mention his name, because it would be indiscreet—Barry—knocking into their table on his way to the stage, spilling wine all over the occupants. But didn’t I say it was a night of pure comedy?
After we packed up, took our class picture and headed out of the Belly Room, some of us stopped by the Original room to catch a glimpse of one of my all-time favorite comedians, Dave Chapelle, who dropped in to do a set. Many of our students got a chance to see a master at work.
Once again, great job everyone!
In my classes I often quote George Carlin (He was my mentor and still is). He often said that good comedy was about good ideas. He was also a master wordsmith, (pretty impressive for a guy who left school in the 9th grade). I’ve reprinted a piece below for you to read. It’s a perfect example of fun with words and yet it’s a profound reflection on the state of our times. If a comedian were to do a piece like this, it would be recommended that he/she do it in a set lasting 15-30 minuntes or more. Enjoy!
A Message by George Carlin:
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just leave it.
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
You may have heard me mention before the importance of watching or listening to the greats to develop a thorough understanding of structure, form and style. It’s not only important for those reasons but also for the understanding that by exposing yourself—not in that way—to the varied styles, you will begin to subconsciously—or consciously—adopt some of them. You’ll start with a touch of Louis C.K., sprinkle in a little Lewis Black, maybe add some Chris Rock, and top it all off with some Jon Stewart. Whatever combination you choose, you’ll begin to fashion a brand new style—of your own.
There’s nothing wrong with borrowing from the greats—as long as it’s not borrowing their material! George Carlin once said during a comedy show acceptance speech, that he thanked many of the greats from radio, film and television comedy. He was grateful to all of them because he learned from them and adopted some of their techniques to form his own individual brand of humor.
You might look at this, as you would, a recipe. Whether it’s you or me working from the same recipe, we’re going to add our own unique finishing touches to give it a flavor that is more representative of our individual taste, because our own personality is put into the recipe.
By being aware of different styles, you’ll learn all the ingredients you can use in your own unique comedic recipe.