Stand-Up Comedy reveals the laughs but just as important reveals the Comedian.

Thank you for reading my blog!!! I’ve been away, I apologize. I had an accident and have been on crutches and something wonderful called ‘Naproxen!!!’ I’m back though, still limping but better. More good news, my next ‘Stand Up Class’ begins Monday January 30th at Yuk Yuks in Century Casino. ( any questions on my class E MAIL please: What I’ve been teaching for 22 years really is the art and business of being ourselves. When I started performing Stand Up I thought there was a formula a metaphysical combination that once discovered I would open the Comedy vault and then hold all the secrets to Stand Up Comedy and the treasures Stand Up offered. Nope, no secret, just plain and simple hard work and the continual evolution of ourselves as entertainers in front of an audience!

BUT, when I look at all the lessons and pitfalls as well as growth spurts over the years and look at everything this ONE REVELATION really sticks with me. I was 2 people, the Paul that was terrified and excited unprepared and seat of your pants guy, his habits of putting things off and doing the same habitual things over and over always staying stuck. And another Paul, the one who knows I habitually need to passionately gather as much information on Stand Up and Craft as I can, be organized and have goals and steps to those goals as well as mining my secret self and my stories within me that reveal the UNIQUE ME the vulnerable Paul and take this template and keep sharpening my saw achieving the goals of this self. This is the creative self I would choose to feed.

What I do know from my thirty years of Touring and twenty two years of teaching Stand Up?: The creative courage we’er able to share from within determines what we attract and achieve. Being ourselves is the goal of my class the “SHOW and the BUSINESS” :SHOW: your material, your energy and emotion,passion and story! Feeding the laughter inside. BUSINESS: writing mechanics and craft, genre and rehearsing, feeding the student inside. These two things together will give my students the foundation to achieve what creativity is supposed to achieve: discovering our true limitless selves and in doing so the attracting the opportunity aligned to our authentic selves and allowing our humor to attract our audience through being ourselves and in doing so, revealing to others that being yourself and feeding that creates the life we’ve dreamed. Humor heals, it creates breaks down barriers and really works when it’s aligned with our hearts. Our humor reveals to others that their normal is normal and to get on out there and celebrate that!!!!

Please E mail me with any questions:

I can be booked as a Speaker, to share my Work Shops and to perform as a Corporate Comedian for your events:

Please visit me on YOU TUBE and FACEBOOK.

Set Outline.

Alright, first, great class on Monday Gentlemen!!! The idea is to have two performances each class but we broke the class into one performance and then writing mechanics! Well done. The three of you are realizing the value of emotion in the jokes and also using a story as the FRAME for your set!

THEME ( Make sure you’re FRAME and TAGS and RINGS  are based in your theme. If you don’t know what your theme is yet, look at your material. What does all of your ideas have in common. The idea that runs through your material is your theme!

MISDIRECTION: 1) chose a premise/idea: I don’t know what I’m doing. (my theme) 2) Ask how you really feel about your premise: (I’ve never had a plan, I’m going to be homeless, all the good DNA was used by my older siblings, I don’t think my mom knew what she was doing when she had me. ‘I like this punch line. I kept looking at ideas until I found this one.’ 3) Now we create 3 amplifying statements that are attached to the premise! 4) Here’s my finished joke. “I don’t know what I’m doing. Then again, my mom married my dad because he had dream to move to Edmonton to teach the polka. I don’t think my parent’s knew what they were doing either.”


  2. TAG your FRAME three times, OPENING, MIDDLE and CLOSING JOKE.
  3.  Insert a SECOND short THEME based story/RING into the middle of your FRAME.
  4. Write 1 short joke RELATED TO THE PUNCH WORD of your THEME, FRAME OR OPENING JOKE and use it to introduce your second story/ring
  5. Record your set and listen to it. Rehearse it as many times as you can. Have fun with this guys!

REMEMBER: I can be booked for your staff party and can bring my work shop and key note to your work or event. You can see me on YOU TUBE and FACE BOOK and My WEB SITE. Please check out my Novel on my web site! Our Comedy Night is OCTOBER 24. Lets fill the club!!!

Class 2: Theme + Story = success.

Hello gentlemen! The last class was great! I saw the lights go on when we did some writing exercise. As we continue in my Stand Up Writing class I would like you to be conscious of your theme. What’s the pattern running through your jokes and stories? This pattern should be in the set we’re developing. Your theme is money! The jokes you’re writing are deposits! Your story is the bank!

REMEMBER: For class this Monday please have: A story from your life that you’re passionate about or at least a little excited about. (Don’t share a story you’re worried might offend or don’t care about. The more you care about your story the more your audience will care about it also!) Write 3 jokes for your story: an opening joke, middle joke and closing joke.

HERE’S AN EXAMPLE: (My story and theme with 3 tags. A tag is turning a sentence or idea into a joke: OPENING JOKE 1: “So get this! My buddy Frankie asked if I wanted a treasure map! Right away I’m thinking plunder, diamonds, gold, Pirate Treasure! Not so much. I got a map to Blue Berries. I tell Frankie, I might be an idiot but I don’t want the freakin map and Frankie says not thinking blue berries are treasure is an anti-oxidant waiting to happen! MIDDLE  JOKE 2 Sold! Frankie convinces me, not with stats, facts or proof, he sells me with the most wicked of all sales pitches, the rare produce section PUN! CLOSING JOKE 3 SO I spend an hour dragging my bike and two five gallon pails down a thorn encrusted hell, what’s that place called again at the end of 167, behind the Giant Tiger, by those trees? Ho yah, VIETNAM!!!”

REMEMBER: Begin with a story you like. If you love it that’s even better. Rehearse your story know it. If you have any doubt, TAG AND BAG IT. Write a joke about the doubt and insert it in your set! Write THREE JOKES beginning middle and closing! If you want to write more, go for it!

MISDIRECTION: Write out the premise: I carried a bike down a hill infested with thorns. 1) What do we feel? Locate the emotion of the premise?  What’s the emotion here? Stupidity, anger, confused? SECOND, What’s the point of this premise? Why didn’t I think it through, why didn’t I leave the bike? Boy am I dumb! 3) Make sure the 3 amplifying statements are connected to the set up not the punchline. REMEMBER: the punch words is the one word in the PUNCHLINE that triggers the joke. We want the punch word as close to the end of the joke as possible!We begin the joke with the SET UP: Blue Berries are 5 dollars a pound. AMPLIFIERS: I carried a bike and two pails down a thorn infested hill for an hour to pick blue berries. PUNCHLINE Which means I get 5 dollars an hour for my work. (PUNCH WORD IS WORK.)

REMEMBER: I can be booked for KEY NOTES and WORKSHOPS and for CHRISTMAS PARTIES. You can see me on YOU TUBE, FACEBOOK AND MY WEBSITE. Our Stand Up Grad is OCTOBER 24. Invite your friends and tell them about my class please. Share my website please!!!

Class 1 Stand Up Writing.


First, I want to thank all of you for taking my Stand Up Writing Class! The goal of my class is: 1) We locate and creatively mine your theme, the pattern that’s embedded in your humor and stories. This pattern is your market brand and is what makes you unique and stand out as a stand up! 2) We’re going to take TWO to THREE of your theme laden stories and combine them into one, SEVEN to TEN minute set. ( the first set is called the FRAME. Other sets embedded in the FRAME are called RINGS. We will start and end on one set and insert two other sets within the first. 3) We will tag ( create jokes from the content of our three stories and amplify our theme and humor.

HOMEWORK: For our next class have one story from your life that you feel tells us something about you, Rehearse this story, know it. Then take a second story and put it in the middle of the first story, start and finish on the first story.

TAGGING/ WRITING A JOKE: “Someone told me where I could pick quarter sized blue berries.” ( This is going to be the FRAME for my set, the outline set that I begin and end with. My theme is: I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m doing it anyway.) TAGGING a PREMISE: The first thing we do is locate the key words in the premise: SOMEONE, PICK,QUARTER SIZED, BLUE BERRIES. ( I like to write down everything that comes to my mind that’s connected to my PREMISE: Safeway, produce, friends, neighbors, fruit…. Talk it out, start by brainstorming around your idea! FIRST JOKE: “Picking berries in the wild is an awesome adventure in the forest, hiking along a path, kneeling by a creek, going into anaphylactic shock getting medevaced like you’re in Iraq and going to a trauma center because of multiple wasp bites!”  (Notice how the beginning of this joke is different then the end of the joke? This is called misdirection. The beginning is serene the end is terror. See if you can create some misdirection for class. A joke is three things: Premise, the idea, the punchline, the set up the middle of the joke and the punchline, the end of the joke that holds the punch word, the ONE WORD that creates the laughter. What’s the punch word in the joke I wrote?

Look at each sentence in your story and tag it. Insert a second story in the middle and start and finish on the first story. Any questions E mail me at:

REMEMBER: to start telling all your friends and family about our comedy night in October. (date to be decided.) Also, YOU CAN BOOK ME FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS PARTY. See me on YOU TUBE My WEB SITE AND FACEBOOK.  Have Fun. See you Monday.

We are on the Stage what we are off it.

We are on the stage what we are off it. This statement might be difficult to understand the way I phrased it but the statement and it’s meaning have been boiled to it’s core meaning: the face we’re sharing with the world will be the results we achieve under the lights. What we do, hope, are courageous about, insecure and desperate about, our addictions and the things we reach for off the stage, are the same results we’ll either achieve or repulse when we’re on it. We are on the stage what we are off it.

Stand Up Comedy is 2 things: show and business. THE SHOW is everything creative: craft, writing, rehearsing, reading, listening, sharing advice and ‘the more.’ The more is not making everything about us in an arena that makes everything about us: donating your humor to make a difference, taking a new comedian under your wing and helping them, being present in conversations, forgiving yourself for bombing and forgiving the audience. Seeing the trees when you’re on the road and tasting the food when we’re at the gig, breathing in the audience and connecting to them through our vulnerability. Stand Up is an activity that TAKES a lot. We owe it to ourselves to GIVE something back, without payment.

The second thing in Stand Up is THE BUSINESS: The business is everything professional: knowing your set and having the courage to be outside of it, spontaneous. Remembering the audience is half the relationship, so, considering them as if they’re sitting across from you on a first date has to be in our attitude. Not being high or drunk when we’re on stage. That space we call the stage is our office. Treat it like one. Dress in clothes that are clean and pressed, clothes that make you feel good but also say you’re large and in charge! Have a plan. Have a plan when and how you write and rehearse. Have a plan for the week, month, year, five years. Return phone calls as soon as you’re able. Video tape all your sets and graph them. Also, tag the five best jokes in each set, each and every time!

Stand up is Show and Business. The one element that connects the two, is energy. What we feel is what amplifies both, the show and business. If we’re angry, insecure, tired or ecstatic, the emotions we feel are also part of what we’re either attracting or pushing away. Being vulnerable, honest, sharing our secrets and simply ourselves, treating others the way we’d like to be treated, are the pathways to what we’re working toward. Being desperate, jealous, vindictive, are the sure way to repulse what you’re actualizing. We are on the stage what we are on it.

My next writing class begins September 12 at Yuk Yuks Edmonton. If you’re interested, E MAIL ME:


What They Know That We Don’t. My Stand Up Class Begins September 12th.

Nernie, ‘my wife’ and I were driving to a Wicca market on Saturday to check out the neat metaphysical things that were there. On the way, an ambulance began to blare a few blocks behind us. We turned right, the ambulance turned right. We turned left, the ambulance turned left. Where ever we went, the ambulance horn squealed behind us following closer and closer! Finally, Nernie says: “I wonder where they’re going? What do they know that we don’t?”

In a way, this is a revelation to Stand Up Comedy only deeper. It might be better said this way: “what do you know that you don’t want others to know? What are the secrets and fears we’re afraid to share? The afraid part, the stuff we’re terrified to share is exactly what we should be exploring. It’s our treasure our theme, our market brand and should be included in our punchlines. ( The bigger the secret we share with an audience the more the audience says, ‘ I believe that too.’ My next class is built around unlocking each student’s deepest self and putting that into their, premises, punchlines, theme, their set. This will attract THEIR AUDIENCE.

This is the outline: 1) Locate the 5 biggest moments of our life. 2) Locate the theme/ pattern in these 5 stories. 3) Define, articulate our theme/ market brand. 4) Choose the 1 story out of the 5 that has the strongest attachment to your theme. 5) Build a set like tree rings with the 5 stories embedded within each other but starting and ending on the 1st story. 6)  Tag each beginning and end of each ring with misdirection. 7) End with a set within a set, within a set ending with a set ripe with theme and our market brand, creating a set original, polished with deep well crafted material that’s got wields an unbreakable bond to who you are and connection to audiences. FACT!!! When we know who we are and share that through our humor we stop repulsing the life we’re supposed to live and attract the opportunities and purpose filled life we were meant to live.

This class is filling up. If you’re interested, really want to work and grow as a Stand Up and a Writer, have a ton of fun, E mail me at:

The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Comedians.

I’ve been teaching Stand Up since 1995. I’ve been performing Stand Up since 1985. As I prepare to teach another class at Yuk Yuks Edmonton; (the class begins Monday September the 12th and ends Monday Oct 17. The Comedy Grad is Monday October 24.) I’ve been looking at the habits that can make a difference in your Stand Up Comedy.

  1. Theme: what are the stories in your life, the big stories that have stuck with you from childhood? These stories carry your “MITACOMEDY-DNA. The big stories in your life is your market brand, the stories that make your stand up unique! I’ve always been this person that was driven to be creative. In the core of this need: Stand Up, Play Writing, Writing Novels, the habits that I’ve found are most paramount are the ones that make us different, traits others might find as weaknesses within us, are strengths!
  2. OUR SECRETS: Mine your secrets! The things you’re afraid to share, the failures, heartbreaks, addictions, fears; all these things and more are filled with the ingredients that connect us to an audience. My dad called me “IDIOT.” It took me years to even say this word. Now it’s my theme. All my material is based on the one word I was afraid to even speak. I have other kinks in my armor, I used to have low self esteem, I was a slob! “My mother was a slob. When she went into assisted living, Scientists cleaned out her house and found the hoarding gene!” I picked up some of her hoarding habits. Like most comics, I’ve learned to throw garbage in the back of a rental. After a couple of weeks, the car would be packed ceiling high with wrappers, pizza boxes and papers. This was a habit that I had to learn to undo, just as I learned to undo my fear of speaking, organizing my ideas, and low self esteem!
  3. Framing! The ability to amplify (TAG) one of your theme inspired stories into a set is a Comedy Gold mine! In my class we will work on the mechanics of joke writing and story. And we accomplish this by moving into the classic fears most comedians have: doubt, frustration, work ethic and cultivating NEW habits aligned with OUR strengths. What would Sveen do? I decided I wanted to break my habit of having a messy vehicle. I wasn’t prepared emotionally to actually clean the vehicle all at once. I decided to be proactive and grab one large fist full of garbage and throw it out every time I got out of my car. I had a corporate out of town so I went to the bank to get some cash. As I left the car I shoved a fist full of garbage into a pocket and walked into the bank. There was a line up of a hundred people and they were pissed! Apparently the main frame computer had crashed and NO ONE was able to get any money! I finally get to the front of the line. The customer in front of me at the teller was losing his mind, shouting something about opening the account! He stomps out, I step to the teller and ask for 300$. She says: “unless I have the letter that I was given when I opened the account I wasn’t able to withdraw any funds.” I wanted to say, what idiot carries that #!+* letter around? Then, I remembered the fist full of garbage in my pocket! I dig it out and place the pile on the counter. The teller looks at me and digs into the mess with a pencil and screams: “OH MY GOD!” The letter was in the pile! I get my 300 large and walk out of the bank and someone asks how I was able to get some cash! I looked at the guy and said” because I’m an idiot!:  (This is all absolutely true and I told this story at a bank corporate recently filled with tags and it killed!)
  4. I’ll share the other habits in another blog soon. If you want the full effect, take my Stand Up Writing Class begging Monday September 12th. Message me on FACEBOOK or E MAIL ME AT:

I fell off the Stage. My next writing Class begins August 29.

My first time on stage, 20 of my best friends in the back of the club, watching and me, in front of a packed club. I panicked! I froze in the lights paralyzed. After an eternity I said, “sorry, I can’t do this,”  then walked into the darkness off the stage onto a table full of drinks. The table collapsed and so did my life! This is my 4th decade in Stand Up and really, I should have quit the first time I was on stage. I have an hour “Comedy Now” Special, I’ve performed at the Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Halifax and Saint John’s Comedy Festivals. I’ve  written and performed 3 Fringe plays, written a novel, “The Angel’s Claw.” I’m working on my 2nd book and have headlined every major comedy club in Canada, I’ve been teaching Stand Up for Continuing Education for 20 plus years and my private Stand Up Writing Class for 10. I’ve been told speaking in public is the hardest thing we can do. Being vulnerable and honest and sharing your secrets through humor might be more difficult.

Here’s the reasons I never quit. When I decided to try Stand Up for the first time I thought that there was a formula a combination lock, so to speak, that if I could figure out I would unlock the secrets to Comedy. As I drove to the club for the first time I was filled with a sense of purpose, a feeling that I was about to do what I was born to, be a Stand Up Comedian. When I froze on stage and fell onto the table, the club exploded in laughter, laughing AT not WITH! I ran out of the club leaving my jacket with my keys in the back of the club. I ran home, broken and lost and unplugged my phone and stayed in bed for three days and replayed my experience over and over.

What I learnt from this experience was the power of my emotions and energy. I was passionate about Stand Up and yes I was humiliated and it wouldn’t be the last time but I decided not to quit. If the pain of the train wreck of my first experience was so devastating, the joy of nailing a set must be incredible and I needed to find it. Stand Up is about STORY, our story. The reasons I was drawn to comedy are the ideas I explore and work on and share through my class. What I experience and learn through action is what I teach. I share what I’ve earned the right to share. Each of us has our own stories of success and defeat, learning and being lost, heart break and triumph!

When I first began Stand Up I thought there was a formula. I’ve worked for 4 decades to define the information I’ve worked for. This August 29 I’m sharing these insights in my Stand Up Writing class. Everything I teach is based on honesty, vulnerability, writing mechanics and story. Come to my class and develop your passion into a set and share it with an audience. I promise you won’t fall, quite the opposite, you’ll grow wings and fly!

E MAIL me for class information:

Stand Up Writing Class Begins August 29

“I learnt to fight by watching my parents. One day a bully at school was picking on me so I thought, ‘what would my mom do?’ So I threw a picture of my dad at the kid and yelled, “I never loved you the marriage is a sham!”                                                                                                                                             A good joke does one thing well, it makes us laugh. It should achieve several other things as well though: make us think, create a buzz, have a shelf life and create a home for our theme, the emotion and message embedded in the joke. If we allow this to happen, we begin to find our audience. After 20 years of teaching Stand Up and over 30 years touring I’ve found the material from our life, from our secrets is the place to start, when it comes to writing jokes. The material from our story, our life lessons, heart break, losses, our victories, these moments are where our humor is born. The reason for this is the emotion living inside these moments. The bigger the emotion the bigger the laugh!

I’ll be teaching the writing mechanics of Stand Up beginning August 29 at Yuk Yuks Comedy Club in Edmonton’s Century Casino. I’ll be covering the process of targeting the specific moments of our lives that hold the creative DNA each student’s theme/market brand carries. There’s a pattern in the big moments of our lives. We’ll mine these moments for the specific message our story carries, this theme is the reason your material is unique and is the holy grail of stand up, STORY!

We’ll also be covering:  Framing, (inserting material in a story from our theme, Tagging, ( creating more material from what we already have) Call backs, (making reference to previous material which gives a 7 to 10 minute set, history) Embedding emotion into our material, Graphing our set           ( locating the laughs in our set and amplifying /tagging them) developing sarcasm and misdirection, the most powerful forms of stand up! If you’re interested, E mail me at: or private message me on Face Book.

The Best Version of Us.

I’m going to attempt to post several short blogs through the week. It’s important to me to share everything I can that I’ve learnt, discovered, researched and realized through my work as a writer, adult educator and Stand Up Comedian. Do you have a plan, a vision of what your dream life would be? Are you living by the ocean? Do you have a lake house? Are you helping the homeless? Are you wealthy? What is your dream life?

I feel, even joke writing is part of the life I’m actualizing. I’ve always worked on the deeper meaning and embedded emotions of humor. I feel each and every joke I write, especially the material I work on out of one one of my workshops and stand up classes, the material I build for my set! I choose to be passionate and excited about working on this material because it’s feeding the version of me I’m feeding , the best version of me, the Paul Sveen that’s actualizing the life I dream. I believe, the energy we have from our hearts must align with the life we dream to live. This energy must be honest and be present in everything we do; from stand up, writing, meeting people, being of service.                                                                                                         My next Stand Up Class will begin Monday August 29th at Yuk Yuks in Edmonton. If you’re interested please E mail me about the class, my Key Notes or Corporate Stand Up Shows for your Company:

I’ll be exploring the inner truths of who I really am and the honesty of joke writing in my next blog. This is where laughter and the best of who we are, meet the life we dream. Please if you will, take a look at my link and share if you can, my first novel that I’ve written. “The Angel’s Claw.”