Monthly Archives: June 2015

My Secret.

I’ve written and published a novel, “The Angel’s Claw.” I’ve written 3 Fringe plays, was the winner of the Walter Dale theater new playwright contest. I’ve performed at every comedy festival in Canada, and have an hour comedy special on CTV’s Comedy Now. I’ve taught Stand Up Comedy for 20 years and performed Stand Up for over 30, and my secret is, I still feel I’m not good enough, as if I’ll never reach the person I’m capable of being.

Somewhere in me, part of me feels like I’ll never be good enough, I’ll never be able to reach what’s just outside of my finger tips. Yes, I’ve tried to drown this part of me with alcohol, drugs and food. None of it worked. This abyss that’s in me is a dark place that will never be filled with anything from the outside of me. But I do have an answer for my flaw.

Sharing my Stand Up Classes over the years with all my students, listening to you, watching you grow in your creative bliss has given me the continual strength to ask more of me, to always sharpen my saw and become a better teacher, friend, writer and comedian, for you.

I’m not sure what this flaw is in me or where it came from , or who put it there. I’ve always thought that there was never enough, that I’ll always be adrift in a sea of scarcity. I’m not perfect, in a large sense I’m broken, flawed but I embrace it. as one of my students shared with my class: “embrace your imperfections.”

I choose to keep moving into my secret that I’ll never be good enough, that I’m kidding myself that I could ever be anything but a shadow. The Universe doesn’t make junk, we do. Where ever this secret I have came from, you’re being used by the person you’ve been using and manipulating all these years. I’m mining the lie that I’m nothing and have been since the very first moment I whispered: “I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m doing it any way.”

My class is performing Tuesday June 23rd at Yuk Yuks in Century Casino. Show Time is 7:30. Please come out and support the new comedians.

E MAIL ME: paulsveen@shaw.ca

Class 4. Aligning your set with your results.

Where do we hope our humor will take us; to a festival, television appearance, Key notes? where ever that place is, the feeling you have about your destination should be the same feeling you have when you work on your material, the emotion within the premise.

The emotion you have when you begin working on a premise needs to be in the premise.  If you’re writing material about camping but you’re confused about the premise, YOU NEED TO WRITE ABOUT THE CONFUSION OF CAMPING. Always work with the EMOTION within the premise first, then branch out and explore the premise.

It’s always best to begin a premise with SOMETHING YOU HAVE EARNED THE RIGHT TO TALK ABOUT WITHIN THE PREMISE, A STORY, something you’ve lived. This story is the FRAME we’re going to insert TAGS.

Look at your set. Grab your note book and simply start TALKING about your opening joke. As you talk, ask yourself what you’re feeling, also, write down on your note book under POOL, any and all connecting words, quotes, phrases, images, songs, anything that ius connected to your first joke.

EXAMPLE: One of my jokes: “I love pets. When I say pets, I mean dogs. Cats aren’t pets. Cats are like a  teenager that won’t get a summer job; “can I have some more pot, i mean cat nip?”

You can do a few things here, listen to a recording of your set and write down ideas as they occur to you or watch your set you recorded, and talk around each joke looking for ways to improve your material. Here’s what happened when I talked around this  joke: what am I saying? Cats are lazy, dogs want to do things, As I said this, an idea bubbled up. 1st TAG: It’s as if cats are clinically depressed and want medication and dogs are also manic but are over medicated: ME:                                                                                                           “Hey spot, want to go for a walk? (the dog’s voice.) “Yah, man, (wiping my nose as if I’m on coke.) ” lets run in traffic then chase anything, cars, rabbits, shadow people, then attack the neighbor’s garbage, then scare the shit out of the old guy at the end poof the block!”

I just TAGGED  a joke by talking around it. Try this. Do this with every joke in your set and remember to tag the EMOTION in the premise.

Closing Jokes. Class 3.

Thank you, all of you in my class for working as hard as you are. This is show business. The business is everything you do until the moment you speak into the microphone. Everything after that is the show.  Our CLOSING JOKES make you MEMORABLE.  Closing jokes can be based in a few things but they have to be ABOVE ALL- YOUR BEST JOKE!

Closing jokes are founded in our THEME, the point of your story. My theme is IDIOT and my story is FIGHTING MY DAD. My closing joke 1) can be based on the actual ending of my story. 2) I can find what I feel is the BEST JOKE in my set and move it to the end. 3) I can WRITE A NEW CLOSING JOKE.

The best vehicle for carrying the energy and emotion of a closing joke is SARCASM: ( over the top exaggeration.) MISDIRECTION:         ( The unexpected punchline.) Here’s an example of MISDIRECTION and how to write it.

1) Write out the ending of your story, the actual sentence. This the ending of my FRAME: “I was 15. I didn’t know how to fight. As my dad was swinging, I wrapped my legs around one of his giant legs, held onto his gut and pissed onto his hip.” What’s the emotion here? What’s the elephant in the room? My dad was angry! Here’s the formula, the 3 components  for MISDIRECTION: PREMISE based on the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.  Amplifying statements that take the audience away from the PUNCHLINE. The unexpected PUNCHLINE. As you learn this genre, don’t throw anything away. If you have a joke or premise you don’t like, INSERT IT UNDER POOL.

Here’s a joke I came up with: ” I was a typical self absorbed teenager. I knew when Van halen was in town, where I could get acid, the keg party I was going to when I skipped school, weird I never saw the beating from my dad.”

I can play with this joke. It will fit perfectly in my story. I’ll keep tagging it. Have fun, work at this. We’ll go over it in class on Monday.

REMEMBER: My novel “The Angel’s Claw is at Indigo North Town. You can book me as your comedian for your next event. I’m also a KEY NOTE and share WORK SHOPS. E MAIL ME AT: paulsveen@shaw.ca

Class 2 June 1: Connecting to an audience.

I want to thank everyone for taking my class again. I will always help you in the class, as well as after the class is over, to answer any questions, to encourage you, to make sure you’re growing in the limitless creative person you are. A reminder: I’m performing June 26/27 at the Comedy Factory. For tickets, call 469-499-9999. I have more copies of my novel “The Angel’s Claw.” at Indigo North Town Mall location. North side of 137 Avenue and 94 Street. My book is next to Stephen King in horror. I also share work shops and Corporate Stand Up functions. Having an event? Need a key note or a Nationally Touring Corporate Comedian? E mail me: paulsveen@shaw.ca. I’m also on face book and YOUTUBE.

 

Remember, our performance is Tuesday June 23. I’ll be promoting the grad night on my web site as well as face book. Could you please also promote the June 23 Class, Stand Up Comedy Grad Night! Show Time is 7:30. Promote it on face book, Twitter, at work at home and to your friends. Who YOU invite is your audience. This is part of the business, to draw an audience, so, get to work gentlemen.

 

OPENING JOKES. 1) Theme. Your opening joke achieve several things. 1) It is BASED in your THEME. Whatever your pattern is from the moments of your life, your opening joke should be based in this pattern. (If you can’t define your theme in one sentence you haven’t been journaling. If you’re not journaling you’re doing yourself a HUGE disservice.) 2) Our opening joke introduces our theme as well as our FRAME, (The FRAME is our set, our 5 to 10 minute STORY. We call it a FRAME because we’re going to INSERT JOKES we’ve written to embellish or amplify our STORY. These inserted jokes or TAGS are also based in our THEME. ) 3) Our OPENING JOKE gets the audience’s attention. It gets them saying YES! I LIKE this person and what you’re saying.

 

ALRIGHT. My THEME IS: “I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m doing it anyway.” My theme is true to the stories of my life. It’s HONEST. The audience knows this when I share my set. I tell them I don’t know what I’m doing. It never hurts to share your THEME with your audience. When I tell them my theme, they instantly like me. NEVER MAKE YOURSELF THE HERO OF YOUR STORY. I’m an idiot. I’m never the hero.

 

Look at your FRAME. What is the FIRST SENTENCE? Put this in the circle.  Make a horizontal line between the circle and a vertical line across the middle. These 4 quadrants are the 4 different perspectives we will write from. (If you introduce a person in any of the 4 quadrants, GIVE THEM THEIR OWN VOICE! My opening sentence is: HAVE YOU EVER FOUGHT YOUR DAD? This question reflects my theme, I don’t know what I’m doing.  REMEMBER. A great joke is the answer to a good question.  At the bottom of your page you have written the word POOL. I wrote down the ages of myself and my Dad when I fought him, under pool. I started to look at the moment from MATH. I asked some questions and here’s what I came up with in MY JOURNALS. REMEMBER: I’m inserting these jokes/TAGS into my STORY.

 

1) I never really understood problem solving math until I applied it to my life. I was 15 when I fought my DAD. He was 40 and a war vet.  I was 5/1 a hundred and forty pounds. My Dad was 6/3 two hundred and forty pounds. How many times would I fight my dad and SHOW YOUR WORK! When I showed my work, I drew a close up of my face with my dad’s fist glancing off my cheek.

 

2) The answer is 1. I would fight my dad ONCE. If I fought him a 2ND time, I have no memory of that beating, the same as if I was abducted by aliens or suffered some horrific post traumatic event. If I fought him more than once, what’s left of my brain after the second beating is protecting me. (I’ll insert my brain’s voice here, whispering something empathetic.) We can also give inanimate objects a voice, a house, rock, my pea brain.

 

3) My Dad fought me because I skipped school. While he was beating me he said: “This beating is what it’s going to feel like working a construction job pushing a wheel barrel 10 hours a day because it was the only job you could get because you only had a grade 10 education. (I’ll break up the joke on stage, inserting my Dad’s voice as if between punches.)

 

Get to work. Have fun E mail me if you’re stuck. See you Monday at 7.