Class 3: Setting up your Set.

Learning Stand Up means Learning to laugh about yourself so we have the courage to be ourselves.

Alright, first off, I’m really proud of all of you for working so hard in my class. This is my 26th year of teaching Stand Up Comedy so I know when a class is firing on all cylinders. Each class is different, there is no wrong creatively; but this group is doing a lot of the work of my principles right. Thank you, all of you.


For the fourth class on Monday all of  a us will have: 1) five to seven minute theme based set, with at least 3 theme based jokes-( BEGINNING, MIDDLE AND END.) 2) We will also have a 2 minute set that we’ve written from the E mail we exchanged with a class mate. We will create a story/set on this E mail and tag it with at least 3 jokes: opener, middle and closer. ( Remember: an opening joke is our SECOND BEST JOKE. It’s ripe with our theme and gets the audience’s attention. It tells them who we are and creates an identity. Our middle joke is pregnant with our theme. Our closing joke is rampant with our theme. ) ‘Ripe, pregnant, rampant,” three pretty good adjectives, come on, you have to give me that!!!

The story we perform next class will be the set we share for our Comedy Night Gala on April 9 at Yuks Comedy Club. Did I just use the word ‘Gala,?’ Yes I did citizens. Yes I did.

Look at your story , record it and play it back or write it out and Q and A your 3 premises/ ideas. Remember, if your best joke is in the middle, you need to move it to the end of your set! We close with our best joke.  Also, NO TALKING AFTER THE PUNCH LINE ( unless what you’re saying is funnier than your previous joke. Again, this is called a tag.

I want to share foreshadowing a bit and callbacks. The theme that I’m working on that a class mate sent me is: becoming aware. The story premise is a pan catching on fire because I forgot. (I once had a pizza from scratch catch on fire in the oven and I tried to put the fire out with a five pound bag of flower.)

Alright, I’m starting with an empty page and at the bottom of the page I’ve written the word, ‘POOL,’ and underlined it. Any ideas I get that bubble up while I’m working on this set, I’ll place under pool.

REMEMBER: when we ask and answer questions from different perspectives, we ask: WHAT’S AT STAKE, WHAT AM I AFRAID TO SAY? These questions and answers create emotion and emotion is laughs.

So, apparently I was making eggs when the pan caught on fire. (The first thing I thought was 3 minute egg and then 911) I’m not sure how they fit together so I’ll put it under pool. There’s a tendency to ask an audience off the top if they’ve ever burnt something on the stove, but you’ll lose the audience for a few moments as they discuss this. You don’t want that unless you’re really comfortable with ‘working a room.’

I ask, when was the last time I burnt breakfast, bacon, eggs toast? What’s at stake here? burning the apartment complex down. As I asked this I hit an idea. 1)( REMEMBER, I want to mention my theme off the top and remember it while I’m writing jokes. “I need to watch what I’m doing, keep my head in the game. . . I’ve had so many grease fires that fire fighters call me. 2) My 3 minute eggs are, 1 second to crack the egg  and 2 minutes and 59 seconds to put out the fire. What does that say about my cooking when the phone call I’m getting is FROM 911?

I can foreshadow one of these jokes in misdirection: “I’ve had so many pancake, bacon and egg grease fires, that fire fighters call me.” ( I’ve put egg as the last amplifier because now, it sets up the next joke about 3 minute eggs.

CALLBACK: Again, a callback gives your set history. So if you’re only doing three to five minutes, that’s a good thing.

In this set I’ll use this joke as a callback, a reference to a previous joke. “Had to call 911 yesterday. I kept getting Sveen’s place.”

Alright, keep journalling, taping and listening to your set. Be aware of your energy, let it be big, positive, inspiring and certain!!

REMEMBER: I can be booked as a Key note and Comedian. Please share my web site and spread the word about my class please. Really appreciate it 🙂