DO YOU THINK YOU’RE FUNNY? TRY YOUR HAND AT STAND UP AND FIND OUT

 FEBRUARY 14, 2018 SAM HARRINGTON-LOWE

BLOGCOMEDYCULTUREENTERTAINMENT,THEATRE

Can you teach someone how to be funny? Is that actually a skill you can learn? The team at Brighton Comedy Course say it is, and so I went along to find out just how funny I really am…

When I signed up for a taster course day with Brighton Comedy Course, it was honestly because I fancy being a comedian. I love showing off, and as a child I always imagined I would be famous one day. I had visions of myself singing to massive crowds, or taking a bow as the audience were on their feet roaring.Group photo 2

But it didn’t really work out for me. My forays into being in bands (too scared to sing / can’t play an instrument well enough), TV (too fat / not bubbly enough) or theatre (not a good actor) proved largely to be abortive. It turned out, apparently, that although I loved showing off, once you put me in a studio, or in front of a room full of other actors, the arse falls out of my confidence. Who knew?

One of the best things about being in your forties is not giving a monkeys about what other people think

Fast forward to now and things are different. One of the best things about being in your forties is not giving a monkeys about what other people think, and I don’t mind standing in front of a load of people and doing stuff. It’s a bit late though to be making it in Hollywood or killing it as a rock star, so I’d all but given up my dreams of performance fame. But recently I’ve done a fair bit of public speaking and I’ve got years of teaching under my belt, and I started to see another opportunity. Maybe I could do comedy, I thought. I make my students laugh, and trust me, there’s not a more critical audience in the world than a close-up group of teens who haven’t slept for days. Maybe this is my thing.

I think I’m funny. As in, I make people laugh, not have them laugh directly at me for being ridiculous. I tell myself that anyway and I hope I’m right. But it’s a bit different actually having to stand up and BE funny, rather than just win a round of banter, or play off someone else’s lines. Can I do that? Only one way to find out, Harrington-Lowe…

So I found myself one VERY wet and windy Saturday in a hotel room full of strangers, preparing stand up comedy material to perform in front of them. And you know what? It wasn’t as scary as I thought. Granted, it’s a very forgiving audience – everyone there is a bit terrified, and we’re all very supportive of each other. But I think I can honestly say I developed two very short routines that were actually funny in parts. People laughed! I caught the bug.

I have learned that I am a storyteller, not a gag merchant

The best bit about the day for me was learning how to identify, extract and develop the funny. The writing exercises, guided by tutor Louise Stevenson, were a revelation, and so were the delivery techniques tips. I have learned in a very short window that I am a storyteller, not a gag merchant. And that I rush through my material where I could slow down, develop the ideas further and extract way more laughs in the process. Not bad for a few hours work!

They also offer creative writing courses too, and the taster day was split into half comedy, half creative writing. I enjoyed that more than I thought I would too; creating drama and storylines, working with the others to put together characters and short plotlines. It was fun. I write a lot of factual content, and have always thought I had no imagination for fiction. But turns out I was wrong about that too.

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Anyone who’s been on a team building day will know how this stuff works. Your inner child (and possibly outer adult) groans at the thought of enforced exercises and actually having to work with Other People. But as with team building, once you start it’s OK. You get involved, get stuck into the tasks and actually end up quite enjoying it. And this taster day was a bit like that. There’s also something very liberating about stripping yourself bare (metaphorically, obvs) in front of a room full of people and trying to make them laugh. I don’t mind telling you that my heart was racing and my mouth dry, even just walking up to the mic and trying to swagger a bit was nerve-racking. But ultimately, I absolutely loved it.

I loved it so much in fact, that I’ve booked myself on the full eight week stand up comedy course which starts next week (still some spaces left, details below), which culminates in a live show at a nightclub in Brighton. Yes, I’m actually going to be doing a stand up routine in public, in a club, in front of people.

I can’t wait to get started. The course kicks off next week at the Windmill, where Brighton Comedy also hold regular comedy nights on a Thursday, if you’re interested. I’ll be updating a bit as I go through the course, and may even reveal where my first big break will be held. But only if I think I’m funny enough. The rest of you will just have to imagine my majestic routine, and shower me with applause accordingly.

Brighton Comedy Courses 

Email Louise for more info HERE
Photos: Katariina Jarvinen

 

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Meet the students of 2018

2018 class (2)

Here are our new students of 2018. Last night they wrote, edited and performed their first bit of material. A cracking bunch! The next 8 weeks are going to be fun.  They will be graduating in April. Come along and see how they get on.

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Write, Stand-up & Deliver Event

On Saturday the 10th of February, we had the Write, Stand-up & deliver event at the Holiday Inn on Brighton’s seafront. This was a day for creatives who wanted to find out more about comedy and creative writing courses. The enthusiasm of the attendees was fantastic which made the day a lot of fun. Several decided to take the plunge and enrol on the next full courses.

There were helpful writing exercises to produce material, and without exception, each person applied themselves and brought the funny. Some proclaimed to be shy too! Just shows what a bit of encouragement can do.

The creative writing taster session had students scribbling with gusto. And things went from funny to surreal when people were paired up to set a scene from their individual characters. Sex and murder were common themes, ha ha, it was a Saturday. A thoroughly enjoyable day.  Well done to everyone who was involved.Group photo 2class writing

 

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Fantastic Graduation night.

The last class of 2017 beginners course took to the stage last week to perform for the very first time. They were confident and very, very funny. One of the graduates Charlie Fitzgerald said “I absolutely LOVED doing this course. I talked about doing something like this for years and finally took the plunge. Louise is a brilliant tutor, and I met some great people too. Our graduation gig was the best buzz I’ve ever had (raving years included!)”

High praise indeed, thanks Charlie.  You all did me proud. Looking forward to seeing you flourish on the comedy circuit.

Booking now for next years course starting in February 20th 2018.

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The Graduation gig is on its way

 

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Thirteen Brighton Comedy course students will take the stage next month for their first ever gig! Every week they have been writing, editing and producing fantastic comedy material. The topics, like the students, are diverse and interesting. We have an international feel this year with a French student, a Dutch student and a Bristolian! All from different walks of life, including a burlesque dancer, a teacher, a social worker, a TV casting director and a yoga instructor (of course, its Brighton.)

They will take the plunge on Thursday the 9th of March at the Funky Fish Club in Brighton at 7.30pm. It is sure to be a great night. Compere for the evening, founder of Brighton Comedy Course and teacher, Louise Stevenson. Come, see them do their thang!

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Happy New Year.

Happy New Year from Brighton comedy course.

The year has started off strong with the first beginners course almost sold out. These new bunch of students will start the course on the 31st of January and will be graduating around mid March. If you want to see just what you can get out of a comedy course you shouldn’t miss the Graduation comedy night. I will announce the date when its confirmed.

Also this year, Louise from Brighton Comedy course will be putting her Masters degree in Creative writing to good use and teaching a beginners course in creative writing on Feb 2nd in Brighton. Louise says “This course is perfect for absolute beginners or for people who are already writing and are looking for motivation and encouragement.” To book go to https://www.facebook.com/brightoncreativewriting/.

Can’t wait to see the new talent that comes out of Brighton comedy course this year. Very much looking forward to 2017. May your year be prosperous.

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Ten great reasons to do a Comedy Course

You’ll gain new confidence.

You’ll meet new friends who are funny.

You’ll be prepared for your biggest challenge- to take to the stage and perform.

Your family and mates will be well impressed.

You’ll have a clearer idea how to write, edit and deliver for an audience.

The ins and outs of the comedy world will no longer be a mystery.

Pitching for business or speaking appointments will never faze you again.

You’ll feel massively proud of yourself for taking the challenge.

You will laugh a lot.

You’ll be a funnier human being.

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Don’t just take my word for it-check out the testimonies page on the website.

 

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