Stand-Up Comedy Course, September 2023

In September I'm teaching the Comedysportz Stand-up comedy course in Thoughtworks, Manchester.

Book at this link

Have you ever thought of getting up on stage to make people laugh? It can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn't have to be. In this 8-week comedy course, we'll teach you all the skills you need to get up and be funny, share your thoughts and tell better stories. It's also a great way to meet new friends also taking a step into the world of stand-up comedy.

Over the course, we'll be looking at

  • Performance skills on stage.
  • Microphone technique.
  • Collecting ideas and writing material.
  • How to use comedy to advance your work career
  • Getting gigs.

Stand-up is a powerful tool for building confidence not just on stage but in everyday life. Here's why

  • Public Speaking Skills: Stand-up comedy is performing in front of an audience. Developing your public speaking abilities. As you gain experience you become more comfortable speaking in front of others.
  • Overcoming Fear: It can be intimidating standing alone on stage trying to make people laugh. By pushing through the discomfort - with loads of support - , you build resilience and develop a sense of accomplishment. This helps reduce anxiety in other areas of your life as well.
  • Creative Expression: Crafting jokes and comedy helps you express your unique perspective and creativity. Sharing your thoughts and ideas with an audience can help you validate your own voice and develop a sense of authenticity.
  • Positive Feedback. When you perform stand-up comedy you receive immediate positive feedback and validation. Laughter and applause are incredibly uplifting, boosting your self-esteem. Knowing that you can entertain and connect with others through humour helps build confidence in your abilities.
  • Learning from Failure: In stand-up comedy, not every joke will land, and you may face moments of silence. This course provides you with loads of support. We look at tiny failures as opportunities for growth and learning. By getting feedback on what worked and what didn't, you develop resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to take risks.

Overall, stand-up comedy is a great way to build growth and self-discovery. Over the 8 weeks we'll be refining your material, so you can develop confidence, resilience, and the ability to effectively communicate and engage with others.

Got any questions? Contact me here

This summer I attended the annual Comedysportz Championship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for shows and improv workshops. Then headed straight to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival. It was an intense and enjoyable three weeks of of improv training and performing.

There's nothing in the UK that's really comparable the annual improv championship. It's not really a competition,  more a convention of comedy shows and improv workshops where performers from all over the us - and UK - come together for one week to collaborate and learn new skills.

An improvised singing workshop taken by Jim Ansaldo from Indiana.

Improv is on the rise in the UK, but no where near as well established as it is in the US, with it's dedicating schools of improvisation, not just for performance skill, but also as a tool for learning. This annual event attracts some of the worlds best teachers of improvisation. During the week I took workshops in diverse topics such as character types, status, building emotional connections. There was also a brilliant workshop on how to teach improv, weighing up the feedback approach versus side-coaching that It really got into the nuts and bolt of how teachers teach.

The Manchester Comedysportz team play home team Philadelphia
Morning briefing. A theatre full of improvisers.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

A twenty four hour turnaround from landing the Manchester improv gang regrouped and headed to Edinburgh for our twelfth year at the fringe. I've taken up solo comedy shows in the past, and it a lot less stressful to be part of a team.

During my ten days there I was performing in four shows per day including the regular ComedySportz show, guest spots, comparing a couple of night of Salfunny, and a late night improvised true crime show.

Compering Salfunny.

Salfunny was a showcase for students studying the comedy degree at Salford University. One of their performers, Erika Ehler, went on to win the Chortle new comedian award.

The Royal mile - on a quiet day.

There were more improvised shows there this year than ever before, and while and that's a good thing for recognition of improv, it's important to keep the quality standard high. With stand up comedy and improv, there is no barrier to entry, to learn the skill is a choice. There are some great places to learn improv best practice around the UK, and hopefully some day soon improv will be as well recognised as a teaching skill as it across the pond.

    Got a question?

    John Cooper
    Comedian & Improv coach
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