Category: Ramblings Of A Confused Mind

My Stand Up Class begins Monday January 29.

I have a Stand Up Writing class beginning Monday January 29. These classes are a lot of fun but they’re also going to stretch you creatively as well as personally. As a comedian I’m a ‘m a disciple of Bill Hicks, Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Pryor, Ellen DeGeneres as a writer I’m indebted to Julia Cameron, “The Artist’s Way,” and Robert McKee, “Story.” But I’ve also been touring Nationally for over 30 years and teaching these classes for almost a quarter of a century. I look at each class as an opportunity to give everything of myself but also to make the next class better.¬† I’ve always approached my class from the perspective of preparation ,vulnerability and story. I think it’s the moments of our lives that truly reveal us, our “outtakes,” that’s what we should be tagging as comedians, not hiding behind our material. Because I’m a corporate comedian, my Stand Up is also about results, the business of Stand Up. My class is fun but also work. If you’re interested, here’s the outline for my class that begins January 29 and runs for 5 Mondays, and a grad.

  1. Moving into our Story. Finding the moments from our life that best reveal us to an audience so we can attract our audience.
  2. locating our theme and mining it with writing mechanics: foreshadowing, misdirection, callbacks, running gags.
  3. Perspective, writing for others as well as seeing our story from different perspectives.
  4. Set dynamics and aligning habit with results.
  5. How to embed emotion into our material. (If you’re interested in attending this class please e mail me at: paulsveen@shaw.ca
  6. Here are comments from my last class ūüôā¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†# “Paul Sveen has graciously shared his proven trade secrets and has brought my comedic writing skills to a level previously achieved only by years in the club circuit. Well worth the investment!”¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† #The experience that I have gained from your energy alone has been unmeasurable.¬† Thank you for this very positive and educational experience. I would definitely recommend anyone with interest in advancing in their public speaking skills and/or is interested in Stand Up writing to attend your class. It is very thought out, fun, and enlightening!¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† #Paul Sveen‚Äôs comedy writing class is an incredible opportunity to learn so much about, comedy writing, call backs, tags and story.
    However when you work hard and¬† listen, to all the coaching and tips, you learn so much about yourself and sharing your most vulnerable self well that‚Äôs gold!¬†You are ‚Äúthe Wind beneath my Wings‚ÄĚ Paul Sveen. Thank you for the challenge and all the reward!
  7. If you’re interested in booking me for your event, Christmas Party, Humor Workshop, Key Note, e mail please: paulsveen@shaw.ca

The times I laughed the hardest were also some of the most embarrassing. Once, I was sitting by a window and the guy across from me asks me to close the window. What “I” didn’t notice, was one of the ten people sitting around the table placed coffee creamers in the window thing where the window slides ( is there a name for that, ‘the window jam, or sill, or the gimmick ?) ¬†Any who, I get up absolutely oblivious and slammed the window closed. The five or so aforementioned unseen creamers, EXPLODED IN MY FACE! I stood facing away from the table, the laughter behind me, deafening! As I slowly turned and faced the table, a couple of people fell off their chairs, and the ear splitting laughter somehow, got louder. There’s a point where laughter, if it’s loud enough and it’s directed at you, takes on the sounds of someone jack hammering a sidewalk.

It’s odd that laughter can be so deafening when you’re the source of the laughter. The fact that I “initially,” wasn’t laughing, ¬†you’d think would have an affect on the decibels but NO, not so much, they howled and wiped away tears until my ‘nervous uncomfortable I did not see that coming’ laugh, joined the group. I still see them, slapping the table , leaning into each other, pointing at me. I don’t have any hard feelings against the guy that planned the “creamescapade,” mostly because he contracted cancer and DIED!

The point is, the funny beyond writing, beyond craft and creative mechanics, past rehearsing and planning, ‘our OUT TAKES,’ the real moments that reveal who we are, the secret side of us that we would rather hide or spend years concealing until we have the courage to share; these are the stories we should be sharing when we’re: giving a speech, sharing a seminar, selling, or want someone to know who we truly are. “Our Out Takes,” are the epicenter of who we are.

When we trip on a kid’s toy, lose our minds when a wasp flies into our tent, pee our pants, trip and stumble face first into a plant, spill a milk shake down out shirt, fart really loud in a full elevator, forget someone’s name and they want to be introduced; these out takes- make us approachable, our normal makes an audience- feel normal.

Yeah, a politician avoids looking normal and pretends they’re 10 feet tall and bullet proof because ‘stumbling’ at a news briefing makes everyone smell blood because everyone else is perfect. Hiding behind an image to sell yourself will only surround you with more people who are just as phony.

Our ‘out takes,’ our clumsiness, our falling at a picnic, our scream at a spider web, a soda pop we opened and overflows on our nephew’s head- are treasure. They’re part of our collective DNA and need to be explored and shared in your social, business and career moments. Saying the same things everyone else has said makes us sound like everyone else. Our out takes and the energy they convey and the laughter and connection they create with a group and audience do more in creating results and attracting purpose than the energy we spend trying to hide and pretend they didn’t happen.

Recently, I was walking into a Canadian Tire with my wife and a group was walking out. The group was looking at me, and ‘I Thought ‘ they recognized me from TV, or a Comedy Club or maybe a book signing. As I walked toward them I tripped and stumbled in my slippers like I’d been shot and¬†because of inertia, I couldn’t stop the free fall full out moron trot for like TEN FEET! Noreen didn’t acknowledge it because, WITH ME, my out takes are every fifteen minutes but the group, in my mind, ¬†laughed a little too hard.

If you’re looking for a Comedian For your Christmas Party book Paul Sveen through ITC Entertainment. E mail me for details: paulsveen@shaw.ca

MY NEXT STAND UP WRITING CLASS: We will be exploring our ‘Out Takes,” as well as” Writing mechanics, call backs, tags, running gags. theme, style as well as the business of Stand Up: winning a show case, writing for an audience and writing for others, working on confidence, and more in my Stand Up Class beginning ¬†August 28 at Yuk Yuks Edmonton. ¬†For information on my class E mail me at paulsveen@shaw.ca

Our Comedy Class has been selected to be on “Canada’s 150th Birthday Celebration National Web Site!!!” I’m so honored. If you want, here’s the link. Check it out please and share the link if you can. The title of the story is, “Courage to laugh.” We’re the first story.

http://canada150in150.ca/browse-stories/community

I’ve been teaching Stand Up Comedy for 23 years. All the classes have been amazing, the different dynamic of each class, the learning curves, the growth I’ve managed to get on my end and the blessing of sharing everything I know with my students. My next class begins Monday August 21 at Yuk Yuks Edmonton. If you’re interested E MAIL ME: paulsveen@shaw.ca

I’ve said this before but. . .I always thought there was a “AHA!” moment in Stand Up. Just, one day, the clouds would separate and the comedy God’s would give me a tablet with all the ‘Comedy Commandments.’ Never happened! Breakthroughs happen because we worked for them. In no real order, here are some of the steps forward I have gleaned over the years:Story is the boss, tell my truth, tell my story, my theme and market brand are in my stories, tell the stories that embarrass me and reveal me. Write a premise out and then look for a story FROM YOUR LIFE that has this idea. Tag the story and share the story as a set/frame (I’m was a bed wetter. I used to wake up in a wet bed so many times my mom had to get a special industrial space age rubber sheet so I wouldn’t destroy the mattress. My childhood urine was like Alien Acid. It made wood rust! I wet the bed so much that my mom couldn’t keep up with the laundry. I used to wake up with wet long johns and put them on a bicycle wheel and spin it until they were dry and then wear them to school. That was weird. Looking back I think comedians wet the bed as a child because it helps us with shitting the bed latter as Comedians,

Being honest and asking what “you really feel” about a premise and starting there, with person stories and dark emotions and taboo points is how we find REAL punchlines. It’s work but this is where the rubber hits the road, ‘pun intended.’ I remember a decade ago, a young woman in my class who always had a hard time being herself in front of the class. We worked on it for 4 weeks out of the five week class. On the last day she began crying. I knelt beside her desk as others comforted her. She began telling us a story of living in a million dollar house and she and her sisters hadn’t ate in days. Her dad was using the home as a way to promote himself and his kids were starving. She began to compose herself and said, “I haven’t told anyone this, my friends, outside family members, no one! Only you in this class know this but she said it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off her shoulders. She shared her story on stage to a full house and received a standing ovation. She later told me that her studies improved and her social life and it also gave her the courage to confront her dad.

We need to be ourselves no matter what. It’s how we find our strengths and we can’t find them by being what others want us to be. When you follow you strengths/joy. . .you will always put yourself where you’re supposed to be!

You can see me on YOU Tube and on Face Book. If you’re looking for a comedian for your Christmas Party or Event want to be a part of my next Comedy Class or would like my Humor Workshop at your Business, E MAIL ME: paulsveen@shaw.ca

Great class on Monday everyone!!! It was nice that everyone could make it to class ūüôā A few matters of house keeping: Our Comedy Grad is Tuesday May 30. Everyone is performing a 7 to 10 minute set. The doors will open at 6:30. Showtime is 8:00 PM. Tickets are 10$ at the door.

REMEMBER: The contents of your set: STORY/FRAME TAGS.

In this blog I will be covering: RUNNING GAG and CALLBACKS.

Alright, I’ve told everyone in class: besides your punchlines making a POINT your punchlines also have to have more emotion than the PREMISE! If there isn’t a point or emotion in the punchline then the premise and the punchline are a wash. Ask yourself what you’re trying to say in the joke and then create the premise and then ask the questions that have emotion, the unspoken, taboo out of bounds and from other perspectives. Put the premise and the punchlines together until you like it.

REMEMBER: The jokes have to keep getting better in your set, more emotion and more well crafted toward the end of your set ending on your BEST JOKE! If you don’t do this, your set is a wash/ vanilla.

RUNNING GAGS. A running gag is a set of 3 or 4 jokes all making REFERENCE to the first joke. The gag should be based in your theme have something to do with core of your frame. A running gag makes reference more than once,

CALLBACK: A callback makes reference to ONE TIME to a previous joke. A callback helps to create HISTORY in a short set.

EXAMPLE: (My FRAME IS about being Norwegian.

(In my example I’m using Pirates as the running gag. A running gag helps to keep your set lose and keeps us as comedians lose and not take ourselves so seriously. We get to be silly while we’re building our set. It forces us to think outside ourselves.

My name is Paul Sveen. My last name is the sound a PIRATE makes when they pulls out their sword, (I make my name sound like a sword being pulled from a scabbard.) ¬†“SVEEN!” Some day you’re going to be on a beach vacation and a swashbuckler’s going to stumble up and go, “SVEEN!” give me your treasure you land lubber! And you’re going to say, “relax everyone, we saw this guy at Yuk Yuks! He’s not threat. Sveen is Norwegian you ever here one of us talk? We could be talking about socks it sounds like we’re going to middle earth to battle the orcs! FIRST GAG: I’m not sure what I would do if I was accosted by a pirate. He’d walk up, “Give me your treasure you scurvy dog!” I’d say, treasure, you just stole my opening joke captain hack! ‘SVEEN! Norwegian food is the worst food in the world, “you want some fish soaked in battery acid?” No I’m good Klingon! SECOND GAG: I think the hardest part about being a Pirate on the prairies is trying to convince your magpie it’s a parrot! ¬†Worst music in the world is Norwegian rap. I do a rap beat and then talk like the Swedish Chef. THIRD GAG. What would you do once you stopped being a pirate. You’d have to work on your people skills maybe getting a job as a Home Depot greeter. Could be awkward asking which aisle the saws were in to a guy with a peg leg an eye patch and a hook! Any way, great talking to you, I have to get some Duracell’s , I’m making fish! SVEEN! (CALLBACK)

  1. Know your story 2) what’s the theme, write three jokes that makes reference to the theme. 3) Look at a joke in the middle of your set and crate a joke that makes reference to it. This will be your callback.
  2. Have fun. Rehearse your set at least once a day. Listen to it on your headphones. Keep tagging your jokes and set. Make sure your jokes keep escalating in your set, starting with your second best joke and finishing on your best joke!!
  3. I can be booked as a speaker and a comedian. I can share workshops with your group and also perform at your function. I also do ONE on ONE coaching if your’re interested.
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izB5Wr33wCU

Joan Rivers, as good as it got

We lost an amazing comedian, JOAN RIVERS. ¬†I never worked with her. I know comedians who have, Lars callieou and Brad Upton. That gives you an idea how good she was because she worked with some great comics. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†She wasn’t an old school comedian because she kept putting herself out in the frontier of STAND UP COMEDY. ¬†She always went into the places others wouldn’t go: racism, aging, incest, death, politics, religion, the famous, the infamous. JOAN RIVERS didn’t think these premises were funny. She thought they were hilarious! And she just didn’t do jokes, she pushed the envelope and stayed in a premise until she was ready to move on. I really find that amazing, especially with the average comedian’s instincts to keep moving to the next premise or joke.

What I know about her. I watched her forever and read her books. I especially loved “Enter Talking” one of my favourite STAND UP COMIC BOOKS of all time. ¬†The stories I remember from her were how her: ¬†Father was going to have her committed when in the fifties she said she was going to be a comedian. How Jack Par was going to have her banned from LATE NIGHT TV for making fun of the mob. The joke she did was: “Have you heard about ¬†Mafia math class? Tony has 10 fingers Vinny cuts three off. How many fingers does Tony have left?” ¬†For some reason, this joke made Par lose his mind.

When JOAN auditioned for SECOND CITY they cut her audition short and asked her to leave. She left but came back with some ash trays began screaming and throwing the ash trays at the talent scouts. They were so impressed, they hired her. But the thing that really sticks with me is, when she began her STAND UP Career, the clubs were filled with men, who wouldn’t listen to a WOMAN. The audiences got louder, so JOAN would whisper. The lower she talked the more the audiences listened. Great advice, even today! Don’t be desperate, be yourself and share your craft with certainty.

We all listened JOAN. We listened to you for 40 plus years. You’re gone but we can still hear you. We’ll always hear you JOAN, always!