Sunday, October 30, 2011

City Academy Plug

During a discussion about the forthcoming Squeakies movie on the Sunny and Shay show on BBC London last night one of the producers gives a lovely plug for the comedy course I teach at City Academy and how great my students are (I agree). You can listen again here and the bit where I'm mentioned starts at 1h44m in.

I'll add a couple of points about comedy courses, cos there seem to be some FAQs...

1) Can you really teach someone to be funny?

I don't really subscribe to this notion that people "just are" or "just aren't" funny. We all have different senses of humour. A course can definitely help you explore your sense of humour and different ways of bringing it across onstage. And if you met someone who wasn't a very good singer - would you tell them not to take a singing course? No - lots of people enjoy learning about singing, practising and performing to friends, anyone who fancies it should give it a try. Ditto comedy.

2) Surely you'd learn more by getting onstage and doing it?

You can certainly learn a lot by doing gigs, yes, and if that's how you'd prefer to learn no-one is stopping you. New act nights can be tough though - small distracted audiences, badly set-up rooms, and often they can be unreceptive to anything a bit different. If you can learn it in front of an audience, why not learn it in front of your classmates with the help of a professional comic as a teacher.

3) Do you just teach people to be like you?

Well I worry about that but I try very hard not to - I try very hard to provide skills and tools and techniques that can be applied to a wide range of acts. Some of my ex-students do character comedy, some do puns, there's a fair range...

4) What if I just want to boost confidence and presenting skills?

Yes, definitely, got a best man/woman speech or work awards do coming up? I can help. One-on-one or join a class.

5) What has happened to your ex-students? Are they all famous yet?

I've only been teaching just over a year - give them a chance - but some of them are doing really well. Here's a clip of one of my graduates Stephen Bailey performing in a pub in Manchester, if you're interested.

Funnily (sort of) enough the comedy course is one of the City Academy courses most often bought as a gift for a friend, which is quite a sweet way of saying "You've got a lot of interesting stories to tell, give it a go!". The link to City Academy website is above if you are now itching to sign up...! I promise you'll have fun.


Gorilla Bananas said...

What do you think of making farting noises (or actually farting) if the audience isn't laughing at your jokes?

Cruella said...

Well - I'm not sure if you mean the question seriously but... I guess it might work in some situations - kids shows for example, if you had worked out a funny tory/joke/game around it. But if I was in the audience I think I'd think it was pretty childish. Maybe write some better jokes so the audience will laugh at them and you won't have to resort to other tactics...?

Goblin Inventor said...

You describe people having different sense of humor, do you think that some are more stand-up material than others? I would suggest perhaps ... Marcus Brigstocke has a stand-up comedy humor while say Stephen Fry has a sense of humor that comes out better in conversation or in his writing. I'm not sure at all how to quantify that... just a thought, would love to hear your response.

Goblin Inventor said...

Also, wish I were somewhere near the UK so I could take a class or two at City Academy, sounds great!

Cruella said...

There are certainly some people who can be very funny writers but aren't confident getting onstage or who find the writing hard or less exciting but enjoy the performance. Yeah. And some people suit certain clubs or venues or formats better than others.