Class Grad October The 6th

Before I begin the final blog for this September writing class I want to thank everyone who registered for my class and especially Carla and Sarah for putting in the work each week. You inspire me ladies.

Second, I want to remind everyone that I can bring my work shops to your office and also perform Stand Up Nationally and would love to perform at your Christmas Party or Fundraiser. E mail me at: for any and all inquiries.


Alright, as you read this blog, close your eyes and see yourself on stage Tuesday night! Feel the laughter, hear the audience applause, feel the joy of all the hard work you put in to make your performance happen! How does it feel to being doing so well? How does it feel to pause after each joke and allow the audience to laugh? How does your frame feel, your story, and the jokes you inserted into your frame?

Now it’s Wednesday. You’re thinking about all the compliments you received the night before, thinking about your jokes and your frame and you’re happy about your set but are thinking, if I had a second chance, what would I do differently?

1) Go over your FRAME/STORY. Say your frame without the TAGS/JOKES say the story, record it and listen to it. Make sure you know the story, the beginning, middle and end as well as the POINT of the story as well as all the sub points. ( While you’re speaking out loud, allow your energy to be POSITIVE! Let go of all doubt, regret, self negative talk and immerse yourself in the creative fuel of self kindness and certainty!

OPENING JOKE. This is built off the first sentence in your STORY that will be the FRAME of your SET. My first sentence is: “I don’t know what I’m doing. I went to the Halifax Comedy Festival and made fun of Anne Murray.”

Our OPENING JOKE achieves a few things: It gets the audience’s attention, it shares our THEME ( mine is, I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s a good idea to share your theme in your opening joke.) Our opening joke lets the audience like us! It’s always wise yo GET TO THE POINT in the opening joke. SARCASM as well as SIMILE, making comparisons  is a great vehicle for this, So EXPLORE THE SARCASM and comparisons  in YOUR opening joke.

What’s the SARCASM in my opening joke? (over the top statements?) What about the misdirection ? (Setting up a joke for an unexpected PUNCHLINE?

MISDIRECTION: 1) Premise, locate the emotion of the premise. locate the exact opposite point. 3) Insert three statements that amplify the premise. This is where the bait and switch takes place, taking the audience from where you’re going.)

I made fun of Anne Murray at the Halifax Comedy Festival.   Emotion: stupid, misinformed, insensitive, delusional. Here’s an example of what I came up with:

“I made fun of Anne Murray at the Halifax Comedy Festival,  not my smartest moment. I should have went all the way and made fun of Sea food, Stompin Tom Conners and the Great Big Sea. Doesn’t matter, they’ll never hear about it in Fort-Mcmurray.

Try using this template: premise, locate the emotion, then use the 3 statements then locate a point opposite of your premise. Here I used Halifax and Fort Mcmurray.

REMEMBER: invite as may friends as you can for Tuesday, we’re raising funds for a dog rescue. Have fun rehearsing! See you in class Monday!!!!

Framing. September 24. 2015


Story! The most important element of our set is STORY, beginning, middle and end. Story mirrors everything we do in sharing our craft our creativity. A simple joke: “A horse walks into a bar. The waitress says, ‘what’s with the long face?’ this simple joke is a story. In the bigger picture, something like a 7 to 10 minute set, we could string a a bunch of disjointed simple generic jokes together and get laughs but we won’t really be remembered, the audience won’t find out anything about who we are and we move into the realm of just doing time. Our story, our secrets stories that we’re afraid to share are our brand, our Coke, they reveal who we are and connect to an audience on a deeper level because of their honesty.

FRAMING: What framing is, is a story from our life that reveals our THEME. My theme is, ( I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m doing it anyway, Idiot)  Here’s an example:  “1) The first time I tried stand up comedy I fell off the stage into the audience.2) It was my turn at an open mike to share my jokes, I walked up, stood under the light and forgot my name, that I was humane, forgot my jokes and most important, forgot where the steps were to get off the stage.  3) After about 45 seconds of abject silence, I just turned and stepped where I thought the steps were. 4) I plunged off the side of the stage face first onto a table. 5) The table collapsed, all the drinks fell onto me, I got up, ran to the first door I saw in my panic and, disappeared to the sounds of being laughed at, not with, because there is a big difference my friends.”6) Exit Paul Sveen. And scene!

This is a powerful story. REMEMBER, the more emotion in a story the bigger the laughs and the greater the connection to an audience. What we do now, is look at each sentence in our story and TAG IT, (TAGGING, creating, developing material, jokes from a premise or existing joke.)

So lets look at the first sentence. I numbered each sentence so I know how many to tag. Write the first sentence out. The first sentence is going to be our first joke, our OPENING JOKE. This is important because an OPENING JOKE should get an audience’s attention, it sets up our performance, No pressure.

OPENING JOKE: The first time I tried stand up comedy I fell off the stage into the audience. 1) Locate the emotion of the sentence: desperation, panic, fear, regret, doubt. 2) Create the vertical and horizontal lines across a page. 3) Choose four different perspectives to write from; me, the audience, my dad the critic, the MC. REMEMBER to write the word POOL near the bottom of the page.

WE BEGIN: We start with examining the KEY WORDS in the  sentence: FIRST, TRIED, TIME, STAGE, FELL, AUDIENCE. (These could be the PUNCH WORD of a joke I develop)  From my perspective I’m going to Q and A the sentence:1) Why did I forget my material? 2)Why was I so scared? 3)What was I afraid of? 4)Why did I go on stage unprepared? 5)Why did I run out of the club? NOW, we ANSWER the questions:1) I didn’t have material. I had street jokes that I forgot. 2)I was terrified because I felt the audience wouldn’t like me. 3) I was afraid of being rejected. 4) I thought if I could be myself I would be fine. 5) I ran out because I was humiliated.

I begin by TALKING around the material I’ve developed and by continuing to Q and A the 4 perspectives.

JOKE 1) “My first time trying stand up comedy I fell off the stage.  Let me put this into perspective. This is like a virgin’s first sexual experience waking up hand cuffed naked and duct taped to a hot water tank.”   I’ll tag this joke, looking for different ways to articulate it. Writing is re writing! ( Under pool I wrote, worst case scenario.) This could e a great premise. Also I’m going to add, everyone is afraid of public speaking.)

Alright, your turn. Q and A from the 4 perspectives. Keep talking out loud around each sentence and keep digging for the emotion, and keep editing! Add the questions and answers together and rewrite them.



Class 2 September 14/ Framing

Alright, great first class and second class!!!! For your homework next Monday September 21, have a 3 to 5 Minute set. RELAX, HAVE FUN! What ever you bring to class we can build off. These are the steps for your homework 🙂

We’re going to take a moment from your life and write some material for it. This is called, TAGGING. When we take an idea and expand off of it, the stand up term is called TAGGING. Tagging is the same as building off or expanding.

Tagging and using it in on a memory or story from your life is different than lets say, writing jokes about the news. If I play with a news story like a robotic lawn mower, I can QUESTION and Answer the PREMISE within the CIRCLE from different perspectives and come up with a joke like: “You can now buy a Robot Lawn Mower. How much does it cost? If you’re too lazy to get off the couch to mow your lawn, you can own a Lawn Robot for the low low price of, DIABETES!”

Now, if I have a story about lawn work I can drop this joke into y set but what I’m asking is: 1) Locate a moment that really tells us about you. 2) Q and A EACH SENTENCE OF THE STORY and INSERT THE JOKE AFTER EACH SENTENCE. (you’re tagging each sentence. 3) Tape your story with it’s tags and rehearse it for Monday’s class.

EXAMPLE: I was in a Canadian Tire last Spring waiting for my car to get fixed, (TAG, I was having it neutered.) so I decided to jump on some of the Christmas sales and do my Christmas shopping 8 months early.(I’LL TAG THIS) I bought one of those rings you can slip through 18 plastic bags so as to make my wife’s grocery experience more pleasurable. ( I see a tag here for the word RING.) I also got her a New York Jets steering wheel cover (TAG) and get this, a talking Christmas card that when you opened it, played Jingle bells, (TAG) well it would of if the battery didn’t die waiting 8 months to be opened.  I’ll tag this story for class. Please do the same. with your story.

We’ll be playing with MISDIRECTION in the next class.

REMEMBER: YOU CAN SEE ME ON YOU TUBE AND FACE BOOK. You can also have me appear at your Christmas Party. Ask me in class about my work shops for your office and retreats. E mail me for any questions at:


Class 1 August 31

Thank you Carla, Greg, Brian and Sarah for being in my Stand-Up writing class. The first class is an introduction to stand up mechanics.  We as well as our audience are conditioned to story, our favorite book, movie, painting and commercial, yes, commercials are story.  A well crafted joke is the same thing, a story, a beginning, middle and end.  Here’s the steps in constructing a joke.

1)Premise: this is the idea. “A horse walks into a bar”. 2) Punchline: “The waitress looks at the horse and says.” this is the sentence where the information is. In a script it’s called the ‘plot point.’ the inciting incident, the scene where the alien pops out of someone’s stomach! 3)Punch Word: “What’s with the long face.” in every joke, there’s a single word that creates the laughter, it’s the match that lights the dynamite. “A horse walks into a bar. The waitress looks at the horse and says, what’s with the long face?” (FACE) is the punch word. Notice it’s the last word in the joke? If we write a joke an the punch word is in the middle of the joke, your audience will be giggling before you get to the end of the joke.

This is where we begin. What do you care about?  In the first class we talked about, “everyone wants to be happy” and “children ruin everything.” The premise, “kids ruin everything.” We began looking at the idea by writing: “kids ruin everything.” on top a blank page. 3/4 way down the page we wrote the word. POOL. When we get a random idea, a quote, something that gets our interest but may not be connected to the premise, like the phrase, “we can’t have nice things.” write it under the word pool, we might be able to use the idea later and the rest of the ideas later.  By talking out the premise, we came up with the things a child might ruin. ( As I thought of the word ruin, I thought of the “Roman Ruins.” I jotted it down under pool.” What do kids ruin: clothes, furniture, toys. We then thought of something a child couldn’t ruin and this is how the joke developed: “Kids ruin everything, clothes, furniture, toys. You know what they can’t ruin, a 3/4 inch reinforced steel cage. Try ruin your way out of that Timmy.” (If I replaced the word TOYS, with the word, MARRIAGES, does that help the joke? ) I ask, because the more emotion in the joke the better the joke.

The second idea was: “Everyone wants to be happy.” The way we worked this premise and the first premise was begin asking questions: Does everyone want to be happy? If the first 2 letters in happiness spell “HA” Why aren’t more people laughing? If wining the lottery makes you happy why are so many people miserable when they win ?  And here’s the 1st joke. ”
“Not everyone is happy when they win the lottery, you know why? The giant check, it weighs a ton! The first thing you scream when you win the lottery shouldn’t be MEDIC!”

HOME WORK: Take an idea you like, write it on top a page, pool near the bottom and ask and answer some questions about the premise. Above the premise, write the emotion, what is the feeling behind the lottery for example? Greed, desperation, peace, joy, excitement? Ask and answer questions about the emotion of your premise. Also, what are you afraid or resisting to share in your idea? Ask and answer questions about that also. Next class, have 5 jokes please.  Record your first ideas and listen to them, talk out loud, write them out. We begin here. Have fun . See you on September 14 at Yuk Yuks in Century Casino at 7:00 PM. E mail me if you have any questions.

You can book me to bring a work shop to your event and also have me perform at your’s or a friend’s Christmas Party or Fund Raiser. E mail me for details. I can be seen on You Tube and Face Book. Also, our class grad is October 6th. 7:30. Tickets are 10$ at the door. We’re raising funds for Highlands Dog Rescue. Spread the word.

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.


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:

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: 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.

Class 1, Stand-Up Writing. May 27/2015

Before I begin, remember my Novel is in Indigo at Northtown Mall, on the north side of 137 Avenue at 94 street. “The Angel’s Claw.” is next to Stephen King. Also, I’m a nationally touring corporate comedian, to book me for your function, ( company work shops, Christmas parties, Key Notes.) E mail me,            I want to thank everyone who registered for my class: Arya,Perry, Correy and Amit. Thank you again 🙂                                                         We talked about the value of theme in our 1st class. Theme is our market brand, our Pepsie. We looked at our theme by examining  the movies we liked as well as moments from our life. When we did this, we found a pattern. This pattern is the door to our creative foot print.We also looked at the beginnings of writing mechanics: locate the elephant in the premeise as well as locating different persepctives around the circle. Our homework for next Monday is: 1) Look at 10 moments from our life. Look for a pattern in the 10 moments: ( I can’t commit, I’m insecure, I always make a mess. . .) Then, take the ONE moment from the 10 that reveals your pattern the best. 2) Record the moment on your phone or write it out. 3) Put the theme from your 10 moments in the middle of a circle. Put FOUR different persepctives at the top, bottom and sides of the circle. 4) Ask and answer FIVE questions from each perspective. 6) Take your favorite Q and A from each perspective and insert them in the story.                                                                                                       This is called TAGGING (Creating material from material.) The act of inserting material into your theme based story is called FRAMING. I’d like each of you to have 3 to 5 minutes this Monday for the second class, with at least four tags inserted into each of your stories. Remember to journal three pages each day. Don’t show up and throw up. Be prepared for class. Work from your heart. Rehearse, practice, give your humour everything you have in this class. Remember, humour is a relationship, you with the courage to share your authentic self and your audience, with you having the inspired courage to have put in the creative effort to transport your audience through your story, thus taking them from their fears, bruises and their own fears. In this relationship we heal, and we heal our audience as well. Have fun. See you in class.

I’m on You Tube and Face book. My E book “The Angel’s Claw.” can also be purchased from my web site. Click on “My Book.” Any questiions? E mail me:

Baby Boomers.

In joke writing, “You have to know what it isn’t, before you know what it is.” What this means is, when we’re working on a premise, keep moving into the idea, digging at the truth, like diggng for gold, allow the jokes that steal your will to keep writing, because the treasure is close.
Take an idea: (Baby Boomers): When we begin writing jokes, look at the underlying emotion in the idea: the elephant in the room, the unspoken core of the premise. BABY BOOMERS, what do we know about them? Born from 1946 to 1964: What does this mean? They fought in Vietnam, were hippies, had long hair, they’re old, grand parents, their time is up. -These are the underlying truths. From these truths we create punch lines from the Elephants in the room, the core emotions of the punchlines as well as other points of view on the circle.
-If we were in a club. Where would the audience be coming from? Where’s a Baby Boomer coming from? What about Generation x? Y? What about seniors, 70 somethings? Differnt cultures? ( A big reason we have writers blocknis we’re always coming from our point of view.)
– Lets begjn with an Audiience. Where are they coming from when we say baby boomer? We start with questions: -WHY do Boomers get a title but the next Generation only gets a letter, and a shity one, x?
-Are they called Baby Boomers because of the 50 million that died in WW2?
-Why do they call the 60’s the sexual revolution if all the boinking went on the 50’s?
-What are some bench marks from the baby boomers? Wood Stock, bell botttoms, long hair, hippies, far out,
groovy, cool. Easy Rider,
-From all this information, and inner truths, we have enough to create a premise,a statement: -“You can’t ask a Baby Boomer if the moon landing really happened. They don’t remember if the 70’s really happened.”
Keep digging, tagging, coming from different points on the circle. The treasure is there.