Introduction: Stand-Up Comedy Easy 4-Step Guide to Writing and Performing Original Comedy Routines

Introduction: Stand-Up Comedy Easy 4-Step Guide to Writing and Performing Original Comedy Routines

While this book can be used as a step by step beginner’s guide to starting a career in comedy, I hope far more will learn to enjoy creating laughs, for the sake of creating laughter. 

Comedy courses should be in every school in the world. There is no better way to find your individual voice. There is no more enjoyable way to learn creative writing and public speaking skills.  

In my Times Square, New York City school for comedy, I combine stand-up and improv comedy. In addition to working with hundreds of kids and teens every year, I present team building workshops for major corporate clients.  

Perhaps the most valuable takeaways from comedy classes are building self-confidence and sharing much needed laughter.  

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”   
– Jerry Seinfeld 

Whenever I get a call for a corporate workshop, one of the first questions I get is, “Will this embarrass anyone?”  

Stage Fright is a specific, and very common, type of fearing the unknown. One of my missions in life is to teach people to overcome fear. One cannot experience joy if always in fear of judgment, or worse. After ten years of teaching comedy this is the number one benefit.  

Teaching traditional public speaking to kids that fear public speaking is often like hitting your head against the brick wall. Making it fun changes the game. Students take more chances. Once you get them hooked you can swing around to the technical tedium and terms of writing. Always focus on the fun first.  

I have seen incredibly shy, often terrified, students break out of their shells after minutes in a comedy class. We create a fun space to play, free of judgment. We remove ego and insecurity from the equation.  

Laughter IS the Best Medicine! 

Everyone has heard this phrase used literally and sarcastically over the years. New studies say it might be true.  

Before 2008 we were performing in schools and corporate events non–stop. The only requirement was providing a fun show appropriate to the setting: G-rated for schools, non-offensive to corporate parties.  

After 2008, when the stock market crashed, every penny had to be justified. We learned to promote our shows and workshops with more educational value in mind. Our mantra was building creativity, community and leadership. We paired with Cultural Arts, Language Arts and Character-Building curriculum.  

Skip ahead to 2015, when Google releases the findings of its Project Aristotle, a four-year study into team success. The result of thousands of interviews with team leaders within Google and every other industry (Arts, Sports, Business etc.) leads to one answer. 

This changed our focus 100%. It also led to discovering studies into the effect and benefits of laughter. 

The following is from the Mayo Clinic: 

A good sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do. 

Short-term benefits 

  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. 
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling. 
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. 

Long-term effects 

  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses. 
  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. 
  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people. 
  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. 

(April 05, 2019 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

Additional studies show that laughter in the classroom increases test scores. If you are a teacher, I recommend learning to use comedy in your presentations.  

Our experience is simple. Students having more fun show up to learn, including in our after-school programming and residencies.  

Principals tell me my students average higher attendance rates in general. They will show up, sit through math and history, knowing that the fun times are coming soon. 

In my public programs at the Broadway Comedy Club, Times Square, NYC, I have had students come back every week for years. Most of my teen students started when they were as young as seven. Many of my students are getting national recognition, winning awards and getting industry attention.  

I could not be prouder. Creating professional comedians was never my goal. Next thing you know Kenan Thompson named my twelve-year-old student, “Funniest Kid in America”. I was in tears watching all my students that day at Caroline’s on Broadway

Stand-Up Comedy: Easy 4-Step Guide to Writing and Performing Original Comedy Routines (Now Available on Kindle)

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EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH Artistic Director, Walt Frasier, has transcribed his Stand-Up Comedy course into a new text book. Dedicated to his students and all lovers of comedy. this book takes you from zero to five minute routine in four easy steps. Also learn about getting stage to you need to develop as a comic.

Stand-Up Comedy

Featuring a FORWARD by the funniest kid in America

I wasn’t born a comedian. Though I spent many of my 13 years on this planet trying to find where I fit in, I don’t want this to sound like a cheesy finding-my-place story; so I’m just going to tell it like it is. I tried everything before comedy (yes, everything). I did violin, guitar, sewing, singing, robotics, taekwondo, tennis, and even soccer for a hot minute. But everything I did, I got bored of. I didn’t want to practice chords or kicking with the inside of my foot. You can probably imagine this wasn’t making my parents too happy; honestly, they were getting pretty desperate, and my dad didn’t want to waste any more money on weekend activities. So, in the last week of one long summer, my mom had run out of options for me. Instead of keeping me at home for a week of relaxation like I wanted, she stuck me in the basement of The Broadway Comedy Club in Walt Frasier’s improv/standup camp Improv4Kids.  Walt’s camp was the only one still open that late in August. Keep in mind, I was about eleven, and there was a bar right down the hall. And yet that’s when it happened; in that one week alone, my yearning for performance could not be satisfied in five days; and, lucky me, there were Saturday and Sunday comedy classes that started in the fall, so I immediately knew where I would be every weekend.

Being in Walt’s class, you never know what to expect, never know what games you’re going to play, or even when you’re going to crack your next joke. The most important thing you have to do, or bring, rather, is your energy (never leave that at home). Energy is key when it comes to improv; without it, scenes fall flat, and they’re not as structured or fun as they could be. The thing about class with Walt is no one is ever pressured to perform at all. You’re never pulled up on stage or forced to be in a game; there’s free choice for everyone to do what makes them feel comfortable. I never felt like I had to be anyone/anything because performance is about finding yourself and your style…then run with it! If anything, you have to be more of YOURSELF.

Walt has a tendency to ramble a bit, but when he does, most of the stuff he says can be super crucial to perfecting your craft. For example, every morning, Walt tells us to smile. Not only does it wake your body up by stretching your face around, but chances are fake smiling might make you “real” smile. Being in a better mood will 100% boost your energy, which you know you need in order to be at your best. To quote one of my favorite Walt mottos, “Treat every rehearsal like a performance and every performance like a rehearsal.” In other words, bring confident energy to rehearsals and your playful spirit and ease to performances.

Unfortunately, I’ve come to the end of this Forward…I know, I know, I’d love me to write forever, too, but to finish I thought I’d add why you should read this book. I can tell you, it’s jam packed with great advice on how to critique and better yourself (in terms of performance) that I hope will inspire you to step out of your comfort zone, help you to get just one more laugh, or maybe even make you chuckle at some of the stories.

(If you’re still here, after this Forward thing, thank you!)

–Carolyn White

(An 8th grader living in Manhattan, Carolyn is the Winner of Kenan Thompson’s Ultimate Comedy Experience 2019— “Funniest Kid in America”)

Stand-Up Comedy

FALL 2020 CLASSES for Kids & Teens #improvcomedy #nyc

COMEDY 4 KIDS/TEENS – Here is the full weekly schedule for September 12-October 31. CLICK HERE to pay $200 and get unlimited access to all of the below sessions. Or click links below to register for individual sessions.

  • Saturdays 9:30am ALL Kids/Teens In Person in Central park with Andrea CLICK HERE to register for IN PERSON ONLY
  • Saturdays 12p COMEDY 4 TEENS 12-16 with Walter
  • Saturdays 1:15p COMEDY 4 KIDS 7-12 with Walter
  • Sundays 12:30p Musical Comedy with Ryan ALL Kids/Teens
  • Sundays 3p PROFESSIONAL SHOW Fun for the whole family Hosted by Walt Frasier
  • Sundays 5p Improv 4 Kids with Andrea
  • Sundays 6p Improv 4 Teens with Andrea
  • Mondays 6:30p Improv Jam ALL AGES Kids/Teens with Walter
  • Tuesdays 6:30p ALL AGES Kids/Teens Stand-Up Open Mic Comedy with Walter
  • Wednesdays 6:30p ALL AGES Kids/teens Improv technique with Sam
  • Thursday 8p PROFESSIONAL SHOW Hosted by Sam (PG 13 recommended for teens and older)

That’s right we are back in Central park Saturdays 9:30am CLICK HERE to register for IN PERSON Only $40/class

Walt Frasier

Artistic Director Piano, MC, TeacherEIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH Cast Member since 2002

TV credits: Billions 4.10 (2019 CBS), Friends of the People (TruTV), Blue Bloods (CBS) Royal Pains (USA), Lilyhammer (NETFLIX), Naked Brothers Band (NICK), Fat Pants (Dr. Oz Promo), Late Night with David Letterman (9 eps), Hair Trauma (2 eps, WE), Stankervision (MTV2). International credits in Theater and Music – LMAO Off Broadway (Improv Comedy), Scarlet Pimpernel (2nd Nat’l), Fiddler (gateway Playhouse), Amalfi Opera Festival, NYC Fringe), Fave Roles – Rodolfo (La Boheme), Harold Hill (Music Man), Prince Karl (Student Prince), Frederic (Pirates of Penzance) and dozens more.

Walter is a New Yorker since 1997, but grew up in Maryland, getting his theatrical start in Washington DC area (Montgomery College, Catholic UA and regional theaters). If you have called to book a gig or group sales you most likely talked with this guy. Walter has been performing Improv Comedy for kids & teens since 2003. In 2009 he was named Director of Instruction for the Comedy Hall of Fame, developing their programs for NYC schools. In 2011 he opened his own school. Walter currently works all over the NYC area, including in residencies via Arts Horizon. Now his students are winning competitions, getting recognized by Kenan Thompson as America’s funniest kids. One student even appeared on Aziz Ansari’s MASTER OF NONE on Netflix.

Also a corporate team building specialist, Walter uses these same comedy games to teach Leadership, Team, Sales and Customer Service. Corporate Clients include JP Morgan Chase, UBS, Ernst & Young, Morgan Stanley, NY Life, Coach, Louis Vuitton, HBO, Twitter, Home Depot, Milbank and 100s more.

Beyond the brag-able credits, it is Walt Frasier’s goal to create laughs and teach other to spread his positive message. Start every day with a smile. Want others to smile at you? LEAD BY EXAMPLE!!!

Andrea Hernandez Mieres

MC, Movement/Dance specialist, Improv

Andrea is a Mexican & Spanish singer, actress and dancer. Originally from Mexico City where she debuted professionally on the Musical Theater scene in the Mexican Broadway versions of The Fiddler on the Roof and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Recent AMDA NY graduate, Andrea is venturing on the New York City scene. Andrea has been with EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH Improv since early 2019. She appeared in our Holiday Show, Santa’s Sing Along Adventure, as a singing and dancing Elf.

Samuel Van Wyk

MC, Teacher, Corporate Teambuilding Member since 2017

Sam is an actor/improvisor based in New York City. As an improviser, Samuel has performed for thousands of students and adults. He has also lead Improvisational workshops for all ages from kindergarten students to senior executives and everything in between. Samuel has lead workshops on the benefit of improv in a business setting for professionals in the education and medical field as well as corporate clients like IBM, Bing, and JP Morgan.
As an actor, Samuel works in TV, Film, and Theatre. Samuel has appeared in such TV shows as Evil Talks, Diabolical, and Mysteries at the Museum. Favorite stage roles include Malcolm (The Full Monty), Hal (Proof),
and Snoopy (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!).

RYAN HUDZIK

MC, Musical Theater Specialist, Teachers, Piano, Member since 2018

Ryan would like to believe you are laughing WITH him, not AT him. Ryan is an actors, singer, dancer, writer, noodle hailing from upstate NY. He is also a recent graduate of NYU Tisch (Experimental Theatre Wing/New Studio on Broadway). Besides working his first ever improv job with Eight is Never Enough, Ryan loves bringing new works to life (so you won’t know any of his recent credits until they hit that good good Broadway transfer). Right before the quarantine life started, Ryan was cast in a new Off Broadway run of Naked Boys Singing. Critics have called him a “vocal powerhouse,” a “laugh riot,” and a “person.” Armed with a fast paced walk, and his home-made cold brew, he’s ready to take the world by storm!

ONLINE Private Events for Corporate Teams, Family and more

We have been offering online shows since March. The first few shows were interesting, but by the end of April, we had figured out how to change our favorite games, and develop a few new one, to deliver the much needed laughs and bonding experiences for corporate teams and family get-togethers. EMAIL for dates & rates to book a show or workshop. Check the menu above for public options for kids, teens and adults.

In the past five months we have done shows for companies like Milbank, NY Life, Datadog and many smaller firms around the country. We have also performed for a number of schools and camp and even a few private evens for families looking to get together for some laughs. Past clients include Twitter, Home Depot, Louis Vuitton, JP Morgan,

We will host your group on one of our ZOOM platforms, up to 90 guests can log on at once. The zoom room will be available 15 minutes before show time for folks to say hello, and will remain open for socializing after the show.

INTERACTIVE IMPROV COMEDY

The show itself is comprised of original skits and songs improvised based on audience suggestions. A few games get the guests involved directly. FOUR SQUARE as seen above, we actually let a guests join the pros is performing some mini scenes.

NEW GAMES Invented for ZOOM

WAIT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED WAS…. I a new classic, invented by one of our 11yo students in April during one of our public classes. The rough idea of a new game was perfected when the cast tried it in a show. Now it is a regular, alternating with classics like World’s Worst and Objections. Also a great game in workshops to break the ice in a ZOOM classroom.

We have also tailored such games as HITCHHIKING EMOTIONS into EMOTIONAL ZOOM MEETING. The new game COFFEE SHOP or OPEN MIC parodies small shows in Greenwich Village and gives the full cast a chance to feature some solo work offering funny songs, slam poetry and more as bizarre local characters trying to break into the entertainment business.