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This article, An Assessment of Comedy Teachers – Part Two , is dedicated to exploring two different approaches used by comedy teachers: Opinion-Based Instruction and Technique-Based Instruction . Opinion-Based Instruction is founded on the teachers’ sense of humor, personal preferences and what the teachers thinks is funny or acceptable. Technique-Based Instruction is founded on a curriculum of fundamental principles and skills the students can learn and practice as a series of skills they can then apply to their own style of being funny. These two approaches are diametrically opposed ways of teaching and they are discussed in terms of their effect on students.
Opinion-Based Instruction Is Inconsistent
Since all comedy teachers have radically different senses of humor, it naturally follows that their opinions about what is funny will be inconsistent, if not outright contradictory. Comedy teachers who give their opinions in place of techniques create confusion in their students because the students are faced with the dilemma of figuring out which of the conflicting opinions is correct.
For instance, if two comedy teachers tell a student which jokes they think are funny and which ones they think are not funny, what happens when the opinions of the two teachers disagree? Which stand up comedy class class teacher is right? The answer is neither. Students need to keep in mind that the comedy teachers’ opinions about what is funny is only one person’s opinion, and that opinion is no better or worse than anyone else’s opinion on this planet. This inconsistent information can frustrate students and discourage them from continuing to study in a stand up comedy class.
Technique-Based Instruction Maintains Consistency
The reason comedy teachers should only teach techniques and skills is to remove the comedy teachers’ opinions about what is funny or acceptable from the process. Instead, these opinions can be replaced with consistent fundamental techniques and skills of writing and performing. If the comedy techniques are truly fundamentals they’ll always be relevant for solving particular issues. Therefore, teaching techniques creates clarity when a reoccurring problem arises because the comedy teachers can offer consistent solutions.
For instance, I teach the joke structure fundamental that all jokes shatter an assumption . Then, when students ask me if a joke is funny, I answer by asking, “What assumption is shattered by your punch?” This keeps my opinion out of the equation and puts the responsibility back on the students to determine if the joke is properly structured. No one can tell if a joke is funny until it is performed for an audience. The technique-based approach to instruction allows the students to trust their sense of humor and learn a series of tools and skills they can apply throughout their comedy career. Read More >>>
“I’ve taken many comedy class with many instructors. Greg Dean knows comedy, inside and out. He will absolutely take you to the next level, by providing a safe, supportive environment. He really breaks it all down – joke structure, stage technique, performance, delivery. He encourages class participation and feedback, which is really helpful. The proof is in his showcases, which are hilarious! Great guy, great teacher.” – Natalie M
“I actually signed up for two stand up comedy class at the same time. I soon realized that Greg’s approach was the best fit for me (and probably anyone). He has the experience to hone in on what is funny in your material and the confidence to stay out of the way once something is working. The other stand up comedy class was so wrong for me that I decided to throw that money away and just not go back.” – Brent H
“This stand up comedy class offers a safe environment to work out new material, and a supportive group of folks who will help you improve your material by offering constructive advice. You are sure to come away with a natural, smooth show that will keep the audience laughing!” – Dooley
“As a Storyteller and speaker, I needed to better connect with my listeners. There is no better coach for understanding comedy, its delivery and its connection with the audience Greg sets a standard of excellence and expectation from his team and his students.” – John M
“The best class I’ve ever taken. I never thought I could stand on a stage in front of an audience of strangers and perform stand up comedy… but Greg Dean has created a safe place to grow and learn and have fun. Greg is smart, insightful, and an absolute genius when it comes to making a routine funnier. ” – Tristen S
“I had thought about doing stand up a few times, just a fleeting thought in passing until… I got a call one night from fellow artist & good friend, Victor S., who invited me to see him perform stand up @ The Comedy Store in West Hollywood. He was great. Later, I attended the class. It helps teach you to fine tune/fix your material…’And when I say “your material,” I mean “YOUR” material. Greg & Gayla will not censor your subject matter on whether it’s too “blue”, obscene or inappropriate. What is funny to one person may not be funny to another, you decide that, no one else… It’s your stuff, your material. What you will be taught is the foundation of joke structure, audience rapport, performance, and your “comic voice,” to just name a few.” – Darrell P