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This article, An Assessment of Stand Up Comedy Teachers – Part Two , is dedicated to exploring two different approaches used by stand up comedy teachers: Opinion-Based Instruction and Technique-Based Instruction . Opinion-Based Instruction is founded on the stand up comedy teachers’ sense of humor, personal preferences and what the stand up comedy 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 stand up comedy students.
Opinion-Based Instruction Is Inconsistent
Since all stand up 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. Stand up 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 stand up comedy class teachers tell a student which jokes the stand up comedy class teachers thinks are funny and which ones they think are not funny, what happens when the opinions of the two stand up comedy class teachers disagree? Which stand up comedy class teacher is right? The answer is neither. Students need to keep in mind that the stand up comedy class teachers’ opinions about what is funny is only that 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 stand up comedy.
Technique-Based Instruction Maintains Consistency
The reason stand up comedy class teachers should only teach comedy techniques and skills is to remove the stand up comedy class 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. Therefore, teaching techniques creates clarity when a reoccurring problem arises because the stand up comedy class 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 >>>