Class 4 Advanced Class: Building your set!

I appreciate everyone in my class, your talent and creative courage! Thank you for always pushing yourself and also for being kind to one another in class and for being so supportive and loving your amazing teacher.

REMEMBER: It’s your energy: what you feel when you’re working on your set as well as what you feel when you’re on stage is as important as what you feel off the stage, rehearsing, working on your material and always pushing yourself creatively.

HOME WORK: Choose a story that you feel will be the set for grad night. Choose a story that reveals who you are. The more emotion in the story the greater the connection to who you are and the audience. (REMEMBER to share March 13 with your friends and family and co workers.  Showtime: 7:30 PM, at Yuk Yuks Century Casino, tickets are 10$.

Alright, homework.

  1. Choose a story that reveals your theme. The more you work on joke writing and rehearse the more your theme will manifest.
  2. Write an opening joke and five theme related jokes in your set and then your closing joke.
  3. Rehearse your set each day, record it and listen to it and keep using the circle Q and A method as well as sarcasm and misdirection to create better jokes.

REMEMBER: Sarcasm: premise and the elephant in the room punchline, ( the over the top unspoken truth.)

Misdirection: Premise, amplifiers and unspoken emotional punchline.

EXAMPLE: My wife asked me if she was my best friend. I told her she was my wife best friend. She said, what the hell does that mean! I said, my buddy Darren is my best friend, he does things that buddies do, like, going on an elevator and farting next to an old lady and then moving away, he can make that noise with his hand and arm pit and he drives without insurance, how cool is that? What do I do as your wife best friend, she asked sarcastically. I said, you like to talk about how much you hate my alien science fiction war movies, how much of a slob I am and how you need another two hundred to get your hair styled.

Write out your story and then work on each sentence and add the jokes.

*Opening Joke: “My wife asked me if she was my best friend, I said, a smart man would say yes, that his wife was his BFF, that she was his best buddy, but I’m the guy who puts tape over the oil light, so, I think you know the answer to your question.

SECOND SENTENCE: What the hell does that mean, she asked, relax, you’re my Barbie and I’m your Ken, I’ll tie a sweater around my neck, back the vet out of the playhouse and lets go get some answers on what happened to my crotch.

THIRD SENTENCE: My buddy Darren is my best friend, sorry honey, you don’t know about football, the game stats, QB ratings and rushing yards. She said, either do you, you cheer for the New York Jets.

Keep going through each sentence and ask; what am I trying to say, ask what the elephant in the room is. Identify the emotional truth. This is the punchline. Do this through your entire set. Have fun with this and REMEMBER: What are you trying to achieve with your humor. Who is that version of you and what are they doing differently that you’re not. How do you cross the chasm of who you are now to get to who you want to be? Do you have to rehearse more, work on your joke writing, tape your set and tag it?

I can be seen on Youtube, and Face book. I really appreciate it if you would share my website and video links. Thank you ūüôā

I’m available to perform as a Stand Up at your function, company Christmas party, celebration, or meeting. I can also bring my work shop to your work and can he hired as a Key Note. Please E mail me if you’re interested: paulsveen@shaw.ca

If you get the chance, e mail me and share your experience of my class. I really appreciate your kind words.

 

Why I Love Stand Up Comedy.

I was hooked the first time I laughed, addicted on the power of humor. I know the power of addiction and I make the comparison because humor for any demographic, hospital staff, the police, students, the incarcerated, the elderly; everyone has their own specific brand of giggle that saves them, renews and refills their sails. You know what I’m talking about because you also have your own form of humor that reaches you. I believe humor is three ¬†things. 1) What makes you laugh reaches you, your authentic real self. 2) Humor at it’s best allows those who hear it to feel like they belong, that their normal is normal. 3) It gives never takes, Humor should heal the person that is sharing it and those that are listening.

I’m not sure if everyone has felt this way but it took me a long time to convince myself that I mattered, that I could believe in myself that my dreams mattered. My fascination of laughter and the affects that humor had on me was a path I never really realized that I’d been strolling through the last thirty years. It seemed natural for me to struggle for the punchline, natural to work for the joke the callback the story because humor is my story. Laughter allowed me to align myself effortlessly with the skills that sharpen comedy chops: story, writing mechanics, the emotion and energy that fuels humor. This is a much neglected nugget. I’ve always said the five principles I’ve developed to survive in stand up and then to share in my classes are the same five principles I used to write my first novel, “The Angel’s Claw.”

The five principles are: What is this critic in me that’s killing me and telling me I can’t build a purpose driven life? What’s my theme, how do I be original and get the audience’s attention? How do I tap into my limitless self the ageless child in the eternal sandbox within me? How do I develop and trust my intuition? I believe intuition is the opposite of our critic. This ethereal sense reaches for the bridge that we can’t see, the invisible bridges that are all around us and ask us to take a risk. And last but not least, ‘letting go,’ trusting our laugh, believing in the miracle of humor to bond and to create, to believe we can grow and keep growing and build the life we dream and while we’re doing that, making a difference because, in the end, our humor is a relationship, our normal, our connection with an audience and their same hopes and dreams, our normal meeting theirs Because, after all, it’s laughter and humor is the compass of our life and the opposite of what our critic is, doubt, shame, anger, regret, everything that repulses and deflects opportunity and the dreams we’re reaching for.

I was practicing some joke writing recently. I’ve always adhered to the credo that we should create material from our lives. It’s because our stories have us in them, the unique us, the authentic us.Our stories carry our creative DNA. That means our material has a fiercely original market brand that creates opportunity only our unique selves can attract. But I also like to sharpen my saw on the events that are making the news. I was thinking about the news that Donald Trump has been making. I’ve always said that our material should ‘reveal us,” share our true selves. When we ask and answer questions from “our theme,” the material exposes us and radiates our story. Always look for yourself ‘out there,’ it will make you a better comedian, writer and person. It allows us to embrace our imperfections. Here’s some of the Trump material I developed using my theme: ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’

“I’m not a Trump fan but come on, He has his a Jet, yacht and when he was 30 was a multi billionaire! When I was 30 I was still living in my parent’s basement.”

“As a Canuck, I watch American news like it’s the NHL expansion draft. Trump is that pick everyone’s trying to unload. Teams are shouting at each other, pointing fingers, demanding a better deal but just like hockey, eventually Trump’s going to be the guy in the mullet playing golf.”

If you’re interested in bringing me to your company event as a Comedian, Key Note or for humor Workshop, please E mail me at: paulsveen@shaw.ca

Metro Class 2: Using theme.

Great class Tuesday everyone! Remember: “I also share Humor Works Shops. Key Notes and Stand Up Comedy for private functions as well as Corporate events! I also have an advanced writing class.” If you’re interested in any of these, e mail me at: paulsveen@shaw.ca

Homework for next week: State your theme out loud and then find a 5 to 7 minute story from your life that makes you laugh that shares your theme. This is easy peasy. Have fun with it and remember to write jokes with your first, middle and last joke and as many other moments in your story that you’d like to tag ( write jokes about.) Rehearse out loud, tape your set and listen and Q and A ūüôā

The story I shared in class was about fighting my dad. My theme is “I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m doing it any way.” Fighting m dad really shouts I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. He was a war vet and I was 15 going on 3. REMEMBER to simply ASK and ANSWER questions about your story. The bigger the emotion in the joke the greater the laugh. A joke is three things: PREMISE: this is the first part: “I had a colonoscopy. PUNCHLINE: this is the second part. I had to have it done twice because the first time the doctor forgot to take off the LENS-CAP!” The last word is the PUNCH WORD. This is the word that makes the joke tick. It should always be at the end of the joke. If it sin’t, the audience will be giggling while you’re sill talking!

OPENING JOKE: look at your story and ask your self what it’s about! Q and A the sentence and then ask what the deep underlying message is within the premise. This is the punch line.

EXAMPLE: There was talk of a rematch with my dad. ( This is where I ask and answer questions ) Why would I fight my dad again? As a present to his self esteem. Who was promoting the match? I sure as heck wasn’t. I was the one with the most to lose. Here’s the joke I created by simply asking and answering questions. “There was talk of a rematch with my dad. I trained, ran, did sit ups. In the end, I decided to drop three weight classes and fight my sister.

REMEMBER to put your ideas in the circle and approach your joke from other perspectives. EXAMPLE: I’m on top the circle, my dad at the bottom. On the left, my brother, on the right, my mom. Right back to the Q and A. Why wouldn’t my mom stop the fight. Under the rules of dysfunction, no fight can stopped, EVER! Why didn’t my mom talk to my dad? Really. How did mom win her fights? She ignored my dad to death. (I asked questions about control and family dysfunction, forgiveness and anger. My dad shared 10 years of life lessons in a single moment.) So, here’s the second joke I created by asking and answering questions and then looking for the emotional deep meaning.

“My mom tried to stop the fight in her own way, she got up, walked over, turned up the TV and shouted, “Fight quieter, do you want people to think we’re all idiots!”

Look at your story, ask and answer questions about your story and keep asking what is your theme in the joke? Also, state your theme in your set at least three times.  If you have any questions E mail me at: paulsveen@shaw.ca

Please share my web site if you get the chance. http://www.paulsveen.com/

Advanced Class: Tagging Theme

Alright, remember: Your COMEDY GRAD performance is MONDAY March 13: ¬†your set will be 7 minutes. tickets are 10$ at the door. The show starts at 7:30. Be there at least half an hour early. Sit your friends and then sit with your class mates at the same booth. Please have your set playing on your recorder and listening with your ear plugs on. ¬†first I want to say, great class Monday night at Yuk Yuks!” I also want to thank everyone for working so hard! If you want to get even more results, here are some habits you might want to consider: rehears 15 minutes every day, journal 3 pages each day, record your set and listen to it, write out your set onto a menu card and look at it while you’re standing in line. Another great exercise is to imagine the rooms in your house and number them in your mind from ONE to TEN and put parts of your set in each door and practice opening and closing the doors and remembering the material you put in each door. When you go to rehearse your set or perform on stage in class or for grad, simply open the doors and there’s your material!

TAGGING THEME: remember how to write a joke: Premise: A salesman runs out of gas and asks a farmer if he can spend the night. Punchline: The farmer says, “sure, but you’re going to have to stay in the barn with the animals.” The salesman says: “I think I’m in the wrong joke.” (Joke is the punch word, the single most important word in the joke. See how the punch word is at the end of the joke? If it was in the middle of the joke the audience would be laughing while you finished the joke. So, a joke is, beginning, middle and end, just like a story!

Tagging simply means: developing, I’m developing a joke, working on a joke. The reason we want to tag or develop our theme is, your theme, the message or pattern that’s running through your stories is the lynch pin of your stories, the central message or plot point. Your theme is the vein of creative gold in your story, the ones your mining!

How are we writing jokes? We’re taking a premise and finding the elephant in the room, the unspoken emotion in the premise and then either using the two a sarcasm or adding the amplifiers and creating misdirection.

REMEMBER to state your them in your set and create a joke from your first, middle and last sentence in your theme related story. Pick a story that radiates your theme! My story was about ‘fighting my dad,’ that screams my theme, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’ . The first sentence in my story is: “Did you ever fight your dad?” ( I begin by asking the elephant in the room questions, these have the deep emotion and insight and and like I’ve said, the more emotion the bigger the laughs!) Why was my dad so mad? ( the answer I came up with was, at least he was finally paying attention to me.¬†So here’s a finished joke with this punch line: “Did you ever fight your dad? My dad ignored me, got my name wrong, looked right through me, so when we had the fight, I thought, my dad’s paying attention to me, ¬†finally!”

TAGGING ALSO MEANS: creating a joke from another joke: here’s a tag: “I only fought my dad the one time. There was talk of a re-match, my mom and siblings and cousins all wanted one. The timing was never right and then there was the whole thing with my father being, dead.”

When I was working on this set and asking questions, the insight that my dad was trying to parent the life he wanted for me and parent the life he didn’t want for me, out of me in the fight we had. I’ll work this premise. It’s going to be a great joke!

REMEMBER: you ca bring me to your event, if your looking for a Key Note, a comedian for your event or want to bring my workshop to your business, please E mail me at: paulsveen@shaw.ca

Tagging Theme.

I’ve written my blog from the Dominican, the North Pole and from both coasts of Canada. I write this blog from Snowmageden in Sparwood BC. I’m stranded in the parking lot of a Tim Horton’s. Wait for it, alright, I;m in the kitchen of my buddy’s awesome house facing the mountains. I’ll make the class up and we’ll still be good for our performance in March. ¬†Alright, last week we played with joke writing mechanics, the Q and A circle perspective exercise and misdirection.

REMEMBER: an answer to a good question can be a great joke and, find the elephant in the room to a premise, ( the hidden unspoken truth) and you have the unseen punchline, especially after we add the amplifiers.

We rehearsed our set for class last week and a set that reveals something about us that we want an audience to know. We also wrote three jokes from this short five minute story: the first, middle and last sentence. Keep rehearsing your class set ( out loud is best)  and record it and listen to your set and allow other perspectives in the set and keep a note pad handy and jot down any fragments or joke ideas that you might have.

In the first home work we tagged our set, the three sentences in your story. I’d like you to start thinking on a different level. Yes it’s important to tag everything, conversations we hear, movies and books we’ve read, pop culture. This keeps us nimble and open to stream of consciousness. But when we tag our theme, we begin to ‘set ourselves apart as Stand Up Comedians. We amplify our market brand and are using our set to broadcast our originality as well as develop an audience and opportunity.

The way we locate our theme in five weeks or less is to (JOURNAL JOURNAL JOURNAL) ¬†I highly recommend you journal and ask the question: what’s the theme the pattern that runs through your stories? what’s the common theme in the big moments of your life: loner, you take the blame, anger, relationship breakups, bad jobs, dysfunction, personal struggle? For me it’s. “I’ve blundered my way through life.” I don’t see the big picture in the moment and shoot myself in the foot. What I’m trying to say is, “I can be a moron.” Let me show you how tagging my theme in one of my ongoing stories amplifies the story a little better than simply writing mechanics.

“I’m in a rental with another comedian and he asks, “are you the guy that wrote ‘The Angel’s Claw?’ I said yeah. He tells me that he wrote a book and he’d sold five hundred copies. “Awesome,” I said. “What’s your book about?” I ask. He gets all excited and turns off the radio because, lets face it, you write a book you’e talking about your baby! “Alright,” he continues, his hands in the air shaped like a box creating the scene, ¬†“Two brothers are told by their dad when he passes he wants his ashes spread over the nearest sea. So it’s the brothers driving to Alaska to toss their dad’s ashes in the Bering Sea.” He stares at me and then snaps his fingers, his way of shouting, “now who’s the author!” There’s this thirty seconds of silence and I say, “The nearest sea to Seattle isn’t the Bering Sea.” He shouts, “yes it is!” more silence, “no it isn’t.” “Yes it is!” “I don’t mean to be a jerk but the Sea of Cortez in Mexico is at LEAST, five hundred miles closer.” There’s another long uncomfortable silence, he slowly turns away from me and types into his phone. A few seconds later he shouts, FUC#!!!!! I laughed so hard. You’d think he’d located the Grand Canyon ¬†abyss plot hole before he sold five hundred copies! This is a true short story and now when I tag it, ( look for the jokes) My question is: what’s the moron factor my theme in the question locating the premise?

I’m asking from MY perspective, remember, you don’t want to make yourself the hero of the story. I want to share the kinks in my armor share my imperfections. I laughed because this is such a Sveen story and because for once it wasn’t me making the blunder.

FIRST JOKE: I looked at the word Angel and asked what’s my moron factor and and I looked at the word ANGEL and thought, ANGLE. Here’s what I worked for: “I gave my buddy the first draft of my novel. He looks at me and asks, “do you have spell check?” I say, “you haven’t opened it.” He says, “It’s called the Angel’s Claw, right?” I nod. He says, ” this is says, The Angles Claw.”

So find locate a theme. t doesn’t have to be, THEE THEME, but find one that makes you laugh and is as authentic as you can allow. Then ask and answer the questions from your theme. I’ll do one more joke here and create a misdirection.

Why did I have a rental? ( My cars are wrecks, I want to get home, after all these years of driving wrecks its my turn to treat myself. I came up with:

“I like to rent a car when I do a show; my car’s a 20 year old wreck, garbage bag over the driver’s window and three doughnut tires. Besides, if we drove the opener’s car I’d have to ride on the handle bars.”

{I created this joke in 30 seconds by asking my theme related question. We’re not trying to split an atom so have fun with this. Look for a theme and then Q and A from the theme. If you find this difficult, write a couple from simply asking questions from the circle. We’ll talk about, ‘writing from theme within a circle next week. Have fun.

REMEMBER: I can be booked for private functions, Key notes, Work Shops and office parties. If you’re writing a book and need help with story, character development, plot, E MAIL ME: paulsveen@shaw.ca

I’m on You Tube and Face Book. You can also purchase my novel off my web site ūüôā

 

CLASS 1. January 30. 2017. Paul Sveen’s Stand Up Class.

http://www.paulsveen.com/booking-info.html

Thank you everyone for choosing my Stand Up Writing Class! I really appreciate your passion and talents. Thank you for being in my class!

HOME WORK FOR NEXT CLASS: Choose a five minute story from your life and write jokes from the first, middle and last sentence. Take a risk and choose and ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM STORY FROM YOUR LIFE.

REMEMBER: Ask a question and answer it. The question is the premise the answer is the punch line. The more honest you are and the more emotion in the premise and punchline the bigger the laughs. Example: Why am I such a slob? bad habits, I’m depressed, it’s in my DNA, my parents passed hoarding onto me. So now I add the amplifiers: “Why am I such a slob? I stumble around cigarette cartons, empty liquor bottles and subpoenas, I guess my parents live on in my garbage.”

REMEMBER: PREMISE, AMPLIFIERS AND PUNCHLINE.

Use the circle exercise, put a premise in the middle, a sentence for next week’s class, anything, how you feel, ( this is a great idea, Q and Aing how you feel.) writer’s block, have fun with it! Just remember to use four different perspectives, one from each corner of the cross you made though the circle.

Journal three pages a day and I guarantee your Stand Up will benefit exponentially. I promise you.

Rehearse out loud, speak your set into a recording device and then Q and A the set.

REMEMBER: I can be booked to speak at your company event as a Comedian or Key Note. I can also share my workshops. You can see me on my Web site, face book and You Tube. You can also purchase my novel off my web site. Have fun everyone, laugh, don’t get stressed, keep your energy positive and limitless. Remember, your humor heals, those that will hear it and you, the person that is putting yourself out there. If you have any questions, E MAIL ME: paulsveen@shaw.ca

http://www.paulsveen.com/booking-info.html

The outline to my January 30th Stand Up Comedy Class.

There are five principles we’ll be covering in the five weeks in my ‘Stand Up Writing Class.’ The goal of my class is to put a confident you in your set with the skill set to create material that is powerfully funny as well as healing and fiercely original, all this and also able to attract your audience. I’m going to work on an unexplored premise as I write this blog, ( as I write this I don’t know what the premise is or the joke is. I’ll discover it with you as I share the outline of my class. I’m sharing this to show the value of emotion in material and our theme.

1) Story! Everything in stand begins and ends with story. The story we’re looking for is your story, the moments that authentically reveal who you are! My theme is, “My dysfunction is normal.” All my stories have this theme. If you boiled the pattern and theme in all your stories down to three words or less what would those words be? ( I’m thinking about a premise, it’s grounded in relationships.)

2) Theme! Our theme is our market brand, our unique take on story separating us from everyone else. Our theme also hold all the keys to Stand Up Writing mechanics: emotion, originality, marketing. ( I’m leaning toward a joke about marriage.)

3)Tagging! When we write jokes they can be from the news, or something you heard BUT the best material is within us! When we tag a premise or work or develop an idea why would you look outside your life? The moments of our life are treasure, they’re gold! ( I think I’m going to work on a joke about how I’m being assimilated by my wife.

4) Framing and Rings! A frame is the main story we choose to share on stage and the rings are the secondary stories that we INSERT into the main story! (I developed this technique because of the POWER of STORY. This seems simple but the random unconnected jokes are not as effective as story and not just any story, YOUR STORY!

5) Writing mechanics! Misdirection, sarcasm, callbacks, Tagging. ¬†(Misdirection is the most powerful form of joke writing. It’s the unexpected punchline. I teach this genre in my class which is beginning MONDAY, JANUARY 30TH at Yuk Yuks in Edmonton. If you’re interested please E MAIL ME AT: paulsveen@shaw.ca

MY JOKE: Emotion in material is why it’s funny. The greater the emotion the greater the laugh!

“My buddy’s wife Tammy, makes him spray perfume in the bathroom after he uses it. He said, “men don’t spray perfume. Men spray cologne and not any cologne, classic colognes from the NINETIES! Polo, Stetson, Drakkar! Sure out there it’s 2017 but over my toilette it’s 1998, the day before I met her.”

I created this joke while I created this blog. I’ll dissect it in class at Yuk Yuks on Monday January 30th. You can see me on YOU TUBE and FACEBOOK. I’m available for Corporate Workshops as well as Key Notes. I’m also available to perform at your Company event. Please E mail me for all enquirers: pauleveen@shaw.ca

Please check out my novel:  https://www.facebook.com/theAngelsClaw

The Joke Writing Process.

Thank you for reading my blog. Really it took me a few moments to jot down what I wanted to say and then put it up here on, “Ramblings of a Confused Mind,” but you could be doing a gazillion things and you chose to read my words. I’m humbled and honored and appreciate you being here! Thank you!

I’ve often said that when I began all those years ago, that I thought there was a formula a secret creative combination that I could figure out to harvest the deepest secrets of Stand Up Comedy! There isn’t, not really. Like everything else it’s hard work, persistence and mostly the courage to be honest. The last part is the real key. If in my first set ever if I would have just told them how I felt, my fear and maybe a few of the vulnerable reasons I had taken to be on that stage. That would have been a quantum leap forward in my personal creative journey way better than the street jokes I did and the absolute terror that I pretended wasn’t happening. And now all these years later after epic bombs and failed attempts of leaving the business, ( I’m more of a Stand Up Salmon,) I swim out to sea to a day job or or to write another novel or play) and then navigate open mikes and one-nighters so I can spawn in another comedy club! The point I’m making is, it’s in my DNA. I love the process of writing Stand Up and I mean through, performing, writing and teaching! Here’s the process I went through to write my latest joke.

Alright I’m going to be honest and that’s the key to everything, being honest is how we find our voice our creative market brand! So here’s the premise: after I use the washroom my wife makes me spray perfume. I said it’s really difficult to tinkle and spray, ‘Ode du Joan Crawford,’ a perfume she bought at an Estate sale at the same time. She said, “not when you piss, when you take a dump!” I knew what she meant I just wanted her to think I didn’t. As a man there has to be a price she has to pay for her agenda of slowly turning me into a eunuch! I thought there has to be a chunk here somewhere? Do you know what I mean? It’s as if there’s an energy pull toward a premise! All of us are drawn to our own creative wells of Sand Up. Mine are usually in the creative desperate silent unspoken moments of a relationship! “Really? I have to spray perfume after I use the can? Why didn’t this come up when we were first started dating, when we were negotiating the ground floor of our relationship? “Alright, I watch foot ball and hockey, I love pizza on the weekends and sponge baths every other day. Also, ¬†I’d like you in a red and black maid outfits and one last thing, I like the manly stench of my scat!

It never came up and because it didn’t, we negotiate by me agreeing to everything!, five hour Kostco shopping sprees, CHECK, binge watching The Waltons , CHECK, going to the mall and making a day out of finding THEE candle, CHECK! I observe these moments and really locked onto the task of spraying perfume into the toilette! One day while I was actually doing this I saw the material and here’s the chunk!

“My wife makes me spray perfume after I use the abode! I’m a man I don’t spray perfume I spray 20 year old cologne: Drakkar, Polo and Stetson! Out there it’s 2017 but when I use the can it’s 1998, the day before I met my wife!”

My next class begins at Yuk Yuks Edmonton January 30th at 7 PM. If you’re interested E MAIL ME AT: paulsveen@shaw.ca

To BOOK me for an event, workshops, Key Notes and Corporate Stand Up for you company event, E MAIL ME AT: paulsveen@shaw.a

Please checkout my novel “The Angel’s Claw,” on my web site, my FACE BOOK page PAUL SVEEN and PAUL SVEEN videos on YOU TUBE.

 

 

My Next Comedy Class January 30th.

I’ve always loved Stand Up, the sound of laughter and the effects story telling had on an audience. Sometimes I felt the roof was about to explode off the building when a comedian was hitting on all cylinders! I loved the process of learning Stand Up, from listening to advice to being on stage, watching other comedians, reading and studying everything I could. The real learning curve though came when I began teaching Stand Up. If you want to learn something¬†teach it! I’d been performing for about seven years when I taught my first class n 1993. I prepared the class by looking at the material I was performing at the time and wanted to show the students in the class how I happened onto the material. I walked into the classroom in Victoria Composite High School and 21 students and froze!

A few years ago I was performing at The Saint John’s Comedy Festival and a combat veteran walked up to me and said: “I’ve been watching you comedians, watching how you pace and get nervous before a show, how comedians start talking fast when they’re scared and then after the show, the way you guys drink! My point is, comedians’ have the same symptoms of post traumatic stress as us combat veterans.” I thought about this. I think the comparison of heroes being compared to comedians is a stretch but I do agree with the effect that speaking in public can have on a speaker, especially comedians!

I know what it feels like to not make a connection to an audience and then have the performance disintegrate. ¬†I was once working at an event and the comedian on stage before me had this cowboy walk on stage and threaten the comedian. I told the bouncers standing beside the bar to get the moron off the stage! The bouncers went on stage and grabbed the comedian! The point I’m making is the energy I felt when I waked into my first class and the struggles I had in learning the craft of Stand Up are all sources of energy, negative and positive, negative when I wasn’t using my strengths and being myself and positive when I was telling my story and being myself!

All these years later (24) I teach the craft of Stand Up, story, writing mechanics, theme and the art of being yourself! I wasn’t myself any of the times that I wasn’t doing well on stage. What I didn’t know then that I know now is to walk into the fear and create with it, not avoid it. In my first class I went over my set and looked at a few jokes and how I wrote them. I wasn’t as prepared as I am now. Now I work on an outline, my FIVE PRINCIPLES of Stand Up and ¬†my strengths, my story, the moments of my life that shout, this is who Paul Sveen is! This is what I’ll work on in my next class January 30th at Yuk Yuks Edmonton. If you’re interested in working on your creative strengths, exploring your story and learning the power of emotion and energy embedded in your humor, join me and my class at Yuk Yuks on January 30th. I promise you’ll have the time of your life. E MAIL ME AT: paulsveen@shaw.ca

What’s bong with this picture?

The first time I made someone laugh I was gobsmacked! ¬†(I didn’t know then that I had an addictive personality) the feeling I received from making someone laugh felt like Oxycontin! (I’ve never done Oxycontin but once I was offered some by a doctor and said no. I told a friend, they lost their mind! “Are you kidding me!” They shouted. “I can sell them for 30 bucks a pop on the loading dock!” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†My Dad laughed when I was ten when I imitated my mom. I didn’t see the rule then, (never make fun of someone who has control of your life has access to wooden spoons and can spit in your food. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†I’d made buddies at school laugh ( the old, stuff my face with food and try talking chunk and throwing tomatoes against a wall) and later the guys in the rock band I was in: ‘Herman Smitszoid and the Trucking Zombies.’ I’ve been sober for seventeen years, haven’t smoked or taken an Aspirin for thirty but back when I was seventeen, I’m not going to lie, I did a lot of drugs. When I bought my parent’s house I found a thirty year old quarter pound of pot on a plate stuffed onto a vent. Once I bought a pound of pot to sell to my friends and keep the rest for my own stash. I hid the pot under my bed. I came home and my stash was gone! I asked my mom where the brown paper bag was that was under my bed. She was largely deceptive and passive aggressive. I wasn’t a cop but my spidy senses were tingling! I began to think she scoffed my pot because I made dad laugh at her! Seven months later Herman Smitszoid and his Trucking Zombies were standing under the eve’s troughs of the garage and my base player, “Jerry,” looked at me and asked, “Dude, is that doobage growing in your back yard?” I looked and the back yard was filled with six feet tall pot plants! Well we solved the case where my mom hid my pot! ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†A few years later I abandoned a Pontiac in the back yard. I’d bought the car a few years earlier and drove the hell out of it. Once I went camping and was trying to back up closer to the tent and had my foot matted on the gas and the car wasn’t moving . So I pulled forward and slammed it in reverse and matted the gas again, nothing. I tried a couple of more times and finally the car lurched backward! I hear an ungodly “squealing!” I look to my right and my drivers door had been open and a tree was wedged in the open door. I kept gunning the gas until my door almost ripped off! I took hours to slam the door closed. I could never open it again. After that I had to climb through the passenger door. After a year of me putting my hand and all my weight on the center of the seat so I could crawl behind the wheel the middle of the bench seat was soft and the springs were crushed and the seat bent down toward the trunk. Anyone who sat in the middle was literally staring into the ceiling! After a couple of years in the back yard the ca sunk into the ground and there were flowers growing in the back seat! I still remember the two guys who came to reposes the car. The¬†one guy tried to open the driver’s door. He reefed on the handle and then slipped in the mud! His buddy started laughing and figured out you had to crawl through the passenger door. He slides in and gets behind the wheel and opens the hood. The guy in the mud pulls himself onto the grill and primes the carburetor. The guy turns the key the car turns over and a small mushroom cloud explodes out of the carb and numb nuts falls of the grill back into the mud!

These are real events from my life. I love the craft of Stand Up, tagging, choosing misdirection or sarcasm adding frames and building off the process of becoming the best comedian I can be but this is the show. The business is taking the stories from our lives and inserting ourselves, polishing the stories of our lives. When we do this, we’re original, we connect to our audience all because we’er walking into the miracle of simply, being ourselves.