Improv class teaches people to ‘roll with the punches’ #fridaywisdom #fridaymotivivation

“Improv is communication training. And it’s empathy training,” he said. “Improv is really just a fancy way of talking about how we understand language and how we understand the communication that a group of people can have amongst themselves.” Jean-Michel Cliche in article from The Aquinian, St. Thomas University’s independent newspaper, is a student-owned-and-operated publication.

So well put and in these times, more than ever, we have so many punches to roll. Pandemic plus politics plus financial ruin equals a beyond psychologically tough 2020.

But those that will emerge from successfully, or at least this less scathed, will take the good and take the bad (The Facts of Life) and stay focused on their goals.

This past week top CEOs denounced ZOOM meetings, calling them far less creative hubs etc.

They are not wrong.
Improv teaches us to thrive working with perfection.

These #unprecendented times call for unprecedented measures.

I miss performing on stage but I know folks need laughs. Teaching on ZOOM is draining but I press on, motivated by the joy my students get from the work.

If we stop focusing on what we can’t do, and drive the machine that does work to its max, we will find new ways, sometimes better ways for forge forward!

November Improv 4 Kids Classes Online & Central Park NYC

November Schedule & Rates

$75 includes ONE of the following weekly schedules. $125 includes UNLIMITED ACCESS throughout November (Sign up for your preferred day/time and pop in any time)

  • Sundays 5-6pm November 1, 8, 15, 22 IMPROV COMEDY Online
  • Mondays 5-6pm November 2, 9, 16, 23 IMPROV COMEDY Online
  • Wednesdays 5-6pm November 4, 11, 18, 25 IMPROV COMEDY Online
  • Saturdays 10:30-12pm CENTRAL PARK Nov 7, 14, 21 (THREE IN PERSON CLASSES)
  • Saturdays 1-2pm November 7, 14, 21, 28 STAND-UP COMEDY OPEN MIC Online

Our #1 Rule: HAVE FUN but never at another’s expense!

Improv 4 Kids has been playing Off Broadway in Times Square since it’s debut at the Lamb’s Theater in 2004. The show played its first school assembly in 2003. In 2011, the comedy school for kids & teens opened in Times Square.

#1 Improv Rule: “YES! And…”

Improv Comedy is a ton of fun. While sharing and creating the laughs, students develop creative writing, critical thinking, public speaking and self confidence. We use these same games to teach corporate groups team, leadership, sales and service.

#1 Skill in Improv: Listening

In many classes we include Stand-Up Comedy. We help student turn personal stories of experience and observation into original comedy routines in just four weeks.

Our Mission: Teach Creative Writing, Public Speaking & Self Confidence through Laughter

Get our text books FREE via Amazon KindleUnlimited CLICK HERE or $7.99 Paperback. Valuable resources for students and teachers of comedy geared to a K12 audience.

Walt Frasier

Artistic Director Piano, MC, Teacher, EIGHT 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 the 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!!!


Improv Class Builds Children’s Self-Confidence, Self Concept

Improv has foundational guiding principles, each of which can be linked to psychological skills or constructs that may increase self-concept. Below, we list each of these foundational guiding principles, and how each one may be linked to self-concept or other social-emotional skills.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mind-stage/201905/improv-and-self-concept

I can attest that Improv most certainly does increase self confidence. Here is an email I just got THIS MORNING from a student new to our classes.

“(my son) is having a blast in your class.  Every time, he has huge smiles for the rest of the day, and he’s had tremendous growth in his speaking confidence already. “

This mom is signing up for another four weeks.

What is most significant about this student, he has ONLY taken virtual classes the past four weeks.

For 18 years I have seen shy kids wake up after just one live session. We moved online with the rest of the world in March.

I am beyond excited to see the growth in this child. He has such anxiety, he sounded asthmatic when he has to talk, well when he finally talked around the third class. When he finally opened up it was a struggle.

But yesterday, he laughed nearly the entire hour, and contributed more than ever. Only once did he start to heave before speaking.

Reading his mom’s email brought smiles and happy tears.

The smartest among us are usually the shyest. Their brains worked differently. They have so much information they don’t always know how to share it. Many of these kids are on the. Spectrum. They are high functioning but society generally writes them off.as different so they shut down socially.

They seem quiet but are just as anxious. Improv calms the anxiety through creative cerebral play.

I had been doing residencies at schools and workshops for years by the time I opened up my school in 2011.

One of my very first students enrolled in public classes was first a five year old kid with Asperger’s Syndrome. I only knew this because his parents, after coming to our show numerous times, reached out on Facebook. Mom explained to me his situation and how just being in our interactive shows brought the kid out if his shell.

Their requests led to my first public class. He was now eight. Five years later he was cast in a Netflix TV show. Now I hear he wants to enlist as a Marine.

Another student from that first class is now working with our company as a professional performers and teacher. Steven Prestia also sits on the board of a Long Island arts council while still in College.

These kids, and their parents, have become family.

In those years I have had hundreds, maybe 1000+ pass through our doors. We get a few theatrical types, after all we are in Times Square and Improv is amazing for ALL performers. But the ones I treasure, come in scared.

They leave with smiles and laughter.

I leave feeling accomplished. I never set out to change a life. I am humbled by every parental email, text or call saying how much our classes have done for their child.

But more importantly, GET YOUR KID INTO IMPROV CLASSES.

I hope you will choose mine, but there are hundreds others.

Just make sure it’s a class that does not cater to it’s stars.

The secret is PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY for all. No one should feel less than in an Improv class. I nurture my stars but never at the expense of those that NEED our classes the most.

Links to classes can be found in the links above (MENU).

Tuesday October 13 Wednesday 10/14 & Thursday 10/15 Comedy Shows & Classes

  • Tuesday 5pm Comedy 4 Teens with Walter
  • Tuesday 8pm Musical Theater with Ryan
  • Wednesday 9am Private Workshops Trenton NJ School Residency with Walter (Grades 4 & 5) thru January 2021
  • Wednesday 5pm Comedy 4 Kids with Walter
  • Wednesday 8pm Advanced Improv Comedy with Sam
  • Thursday ALL DAY shows and workshops for Milbank, include European offices.
  • Thursday 7pm Improv Jam Session ALL LEVELS Comedy Class with Walter
  • Thursday 8pm LIVE IMPROV COMEDY Show hosted by Sam
  • ZOOM Links provided after registration.
  • EMAIL for information on corporate entertainment, team building, college shows and K12 Educational outreach options.
Sure you can watch us for free on Facebook stream or clip on Youtube and Instagram, but Improv is best consumed LIVE “In the room where it happens”. CLICK HERE for Tickets. You can ALSO see the show via ZOOM for Free. But if you have the means, please help us pay these professional artists.

Thursdays 8pm JOIN US for an online version of our show, LMAO OFF BROADWAY. This is the same show we perform in Times Square as well as most colleges and corporate events. PG13 comedy for adults but clean enough for professional settings and even teen audiences. If you prefer a little edgier, check out our Saturday show, Absent Minded Comedy.

Before the show, join us for a comedy jam session FREE for all ticket holders and students from other classes. Led by Walt Frasier, or other guest cast mates from EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH Improv Comedy. We just play games for 45-60 minutes.

Wednesday 8pm Advanced Improv Comedy Virtual Class with Samuel Van Wyk. This class is designed to go past improv basics. Through different drills, exercises and games, we’ll strengthen your improv skills. We’ll focus on improv techniques that will help you build richer characters, make stronger initiations, and raise the stakes of your scene work by making more dynamic choices. Great for both Short and Long Form improv Comedy players.

Tuesdays 8pm Musical Theater Virtual Class with Ryan Hudzik. Are you looking to beef up your singing? What about falling in love with music all over again? Or do you just want to learn how it’s done? Ryan starts every classes with vocal warm-ups and exercises that build a better instrument, tone, breath support and more. Than each students can share a song and get feed back on presentation and vocal production tips.

COMEDY 4 TEENS and COMEDY 4 KIDS classes with Walt Frasier focus on Improv Comedy but also include Standup Comedy, and in more advanced sessions, Sketch Comedy Writing and production. Online Sessions take place on weekends and after school.

7 Ways Standup Comedy Can Help Your Auditions (BACKSTAGE ARTICLE)

Click to read full article at Backstage https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/7-ways-standup-comedy-can-help-your-auditions-67827/

Walt Frasier has been teaching Stand-Up comedy since 2011. We find data from articles in Improv Comedy all the time. Here are the highlights of Backstage’s Article.

  • It makes you more dynamic.
  • You learn timing.
  • You can sell a line.
  • You put attention to tension. 
  • You can be your best self.
  • You learn and play with your type.
  • You get out of your comfort zone.

Walt Frasier Adds:

  • One of the best reasons to do stand up comedy is discovering who YOU are.
  • While doing Stand-Up you showcase who YOU are. Casting Director or Agent in the audience know what they are getting should they stumble into your work.
  • Being in the clubs you are networking with other comics, show bookers and industry. The networking is amazing.

I grew up a theater actor. I was trained to become someone else for hundreds and thousands of people. I was mostly musical theater and opera.

18 years ago I landed in comedy, almost by accident. At first as a way to showcase for industry, but eventually learned how to produce and make money in comedy clubs.

I slowly discovered how to play REAL through Improv, which made me much more desirable for modern plays. Through Stand-Up I learned to play myself, which made me more desirable for TV.

Both made me far better at auditioning. But it was the Stand up comedy, including serving as MC for 5000+ short form Improv comedy shows, that made me confident to stand by myself and just do the work.

I wish I had learned this skill earlier. I’ve been working in Theater since 1994, debuting in DC dinner theater. After that a lot of stipend work and a few regional/touring musicals. But like most “actors”, I spent more time serving food and drinks.

In 2002 I fell into comedy, by accident, through my wife’s troupe. By 2005 it became my day job, doing 6-8 shows/week at Times Square clubs, including a few gigs with corporate events, colleges, etc.

It was being in the club that got me my first TV gig, a sketch show, STANKERVISION on MTV 2. It was being in another club years before that landed my second TV gig NAKED BROTHER’S BAND on NICK. Currently at the IMPROV I was working one block away from LETTERMEN when they called me in to walk a horse across stage. I made a good impression and was asked back the next week to ride a bike across stage. In all I was booked nine times, eating a lot of cookies in the green room.

In 2007, I met a guy, who was the friend of a friend of my soon to be manager. I booked my first SAG commercial off my first booked audition through my manager. This relationship led to many commercial bookings and a few Costar TV books as well. So far the big film role has escaped me but a number of call backs have been amazing relationship builders with dozens of NYC Casting Directors.

Starting a Comedy Career During Covid

One might think these are the worst times to start doing comedy, when every club in the world is closed or operating at diminished capacity.

However the time is perfect to start developing your self and your act. Online shows have small audiences but thanks to online platforms hundreds, perhaps thousands, can discover your work online.

Right now, online comedy classes are cheaper. Unlike Theater, Stand up classes are perhaps even more effecting online. We get to focus on things that get difficult with stage nerves getting in the way.

To become a stand up comic all you need is stage time. In my booked STAND-UP COMEDY, I lay out a simple four step process to develop a five minute routine. I also discuss ways to get stage time.

Stage time is the secret sauce. You need to get on stage, or online. Whether in a class, open mic, or a booked show, every moment on stage develops your talent and material.

ONLINE CLASSES

Currently I have a class every Monday at 8pm Online. EMAIL me to drop in your first class for FREE eightimprov@gmail.com

Walt Frasier has appeared Internationally in TV (Billions, Blue Bloods, Royal Pains, Lilyhammer, Letterman, MTV, NICK, WE), Commercials, Comedy (Clubs, Colleges, Corporate Events, K12 Outreach), Theater (Off Broadway, Regional, international tour), and Music (Soloist and Opera).

Books by Walt Frasier

  • Stand-Up Comedy by Walt Fraser is a text book for comics and teachers looking to bring fun creative writing sections into the classroom.
  • Improv on Zoom by Walt Frasier is a list of games with tips and tricks to play online as well as Improv technique and wisdom.
  • Both books are now available via Kindle and Paperback on Amazon. Coming soon to Audible!

How Improvisation Changes the Brain: Creativity = Self Confidence

Science finds that engaging in creativity such as Improv Comedy builds self-confidence due to actual changes in rain function.

Are you plagued by that voice in your head? How many times have you missed out in your personal or professional life because that fear of speaking freely, fear of failure, fear of the unknown held you back?

I have seen Improv Comedy classes turn total stage fright into out going fun loving individuals in kids and adults. I have said just playing Improv Games builds self confidence. I just learned why.

Improv game play gets those happy juices flowing, thanks to the smiles and laughter that literally squeeze the fun out of your face, into the whole body while pumping oxygen into the brain. To the thousands that have seen our shows, I feel bad, playing the games is so much more fun than watching. Mind, body and soul are nourished on another level.

However, improv actually increases certain brain functions while turning off the Debby Downer “inner critic” part of your mind. Reading this article is a major AH HA moment that have seen the actualization of this science.

Here is an excerpt from Psychology Today

“During improvisation, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex decreased in activity and the medial prefrontal cortex increased. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is like your inner critic; it’s that voice in your head that says, “Don’t say that” or “What will happen if you’re wrong?” 

Comedy Classes Online

On the other hand, the medial prefrontal cortex is associated with language and creativity. While musicians improvised, their brains’ censors decreased and their creativity centers increased in activity.”
From https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/play-your-way-sane/201910/how-improvisation-changes-the-brain

ONLINE CLASSES


Sunday October 11, 2020 Shows & Classes

October Sundays

Weekly professional showcase of top NYC singers, musicians and guest variety acts (comedy, magic and more).

ONLINE CLASSES

Develop creative writing and performance skills while discovering your inner comedic genius!

Weekend/After School Programming for kids & teens!

We are very excited to move to a subscription style service for online classes to maximize the value to our students and their parents. Get unlimited access to FOUR WEEKS of classes for just $125. Select the date/time of the first class you wish to attend. See below for current class offerings.
Not ready to commit? You can sign up for ONE class for $25. FOUR classes for $75.
ZOOM links sent after registration.

  • Stand-Up Comedy by Walt Fraser is a text book for comics and teachers looking to bring fun creative writing sections into the classroom.
  • Improv on Zoom by Walt Frasier is a list of games with tips and tricks to play online as well as Improv technique and wisdom.
  • Both books are now available via Kindle and Paperback on Amazon. Coming soon to Audible!

Saturday October 10 Shows, Classes

Saturdays in October

Come be a part of the show!

After 18 years in Times Square, NYC, with long runs Off-Broadway and at top Comedy Clubs, and touring venues and events nationwide, EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH presents  Interactive Musical Comedy  now streamed live around the world, improvised based on your suggestions and participation.

EMAIL us for more info on private events. Check out menu links for public shows and classes.

This class is designed to go past improv basics. Through different drills, exercises and games, we’ll strengthen your improv skills. We’ll focus on improv techniques that will help you build richer characters, make stronger initiations, and raise the stakes of your scene work by making more dynamic choices.

We are very excited to move to a subscription style service for online classes to maximize the value to our students and their parents. Get unlimited access to FOUR WEEKS of classes for just $125. Select the date/time of the first class you wish to attend. See below for current class offerings.


Not ready to commit? You can sign up for ONE class for $25. FOUR classes for $75.

Much Needed Laughter

Now more than ever we need laughter in our lives. Social AND traditional media deliver the negative vibes. The world is a crazy place. But the world has always been crazy.

What can you do about it?

LAUGH!

Our goal, above all else, is delivering laughter. We justify our existence demonstrating how Improv teaches creative writing, public speaking and self-confidence. We lead corporate workshops teaching team, leadership, sales and service.

Our greatest contribution to this world is the laughter. Laughter increases brain function, cardio pulmonary activity and state of mind/being.

Don’t take our word for it…

What the experts say…

Source https://www.mindfulnessarts.org/LAUGH_RESEARCH.html

According to William F. Fry, M.D., associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Stanford University, laughing 100-200 times per day is the cardiovascular equivalent of rowing for 10 minutes. When something strikes you as funny, you laugh. And when you laugh, your body responds. You flex, then relax, 15 facial muscles plus dozens of others all over your body. Your pulse and respiration increase briefly, oxygenating your blood. And your brain experiences a decrease in pain perception, possibly associated with the production of pain-killing, pleasure-giving endorphins.

According to Jeffrey Briar, laugh instructor at California’s Blue Pearl Yoga, those who take the [laugh] class regularly will see an improvement in their self-confidence.

According to Steve Wilson, physiologist, joyologist and founder of the world laughter tour and a board member of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, when you look at all the research on laughter, it strongly leads us to the conclusion that one of the main purposes of laughter is the discharge of tension. Laughter also energizes people. If you laugh long enough and hard enough you reverse the physiology of stress. And anything that can reduce the ill-effects of stress is an ally in health and happiness.

There’s even hope, the scientists say, for cranky people who rarely laugh and for those without a sense of humor: They can learn.

According to an article by Kathleen Doheny on WebMD, Laughter is being called the latest weapon in the fight against heart disease, ever since University of Maryland researchers reported at an American Heart Association meeting in November that heart-healthy people are more likely than those with heart disease to laugh frequently and heartily, and to use humor to smooth over awkward situations. There’s even hope, the scientists say, for cranky people who rarely laugh and for those without a sense of humor: They can learn.

One-minute guffaw has the same health benefits as a 45-minute gym workout

Up to 80 muscles are used during a hearty laugh, the blood pressure rises, the heart beats faster and blood oxygen levels increase. In fact, a study released last year by German gelotologist Professor Gunther Sickl revealed that a one-minute guffaw has the same health benefits as a 45-minute gym workout. When the laughter stops, the blood pressure returns to normal and stress hormones are reduced – actually strengthening the immune system.

Diabetes Too?

From Diabetes Care May 2003; People with type 2 diabetes may be better able to process sugar from meals if they laugh, according to a small study. Researchers found that diabetics who watched a comedy show had a smaller rise in post-meal blood sugar than when they listed to a non-humorous lecture. The effect occurred in people without diabetes as well. Researchers are not certain why laughter appears to reduce blood sugar, but suggested that it might increase the consumption of energy by using the abdominal muscles, or might affect the neuroendocrine system, which controls glucose levels in the blood.

TV Experts Agree

“Laughing is great exercise. It tightens your abs, gets your endorphins going, and filters out all those anxieties that weigh you down.” Denise Austin, TV fitness guru. Source: July 2006 Redbook Magazine

November Online Classes

Quick Links

Improv Jam ALL LEVELS Adults (16+ Welcome)

Thursdays/Saturdays 7pm November 5,7,12,14,19,21

This session is half class and half adult playground. Each session of games is led by Walt Frasier or other team members from the cast of EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH.

SIX classes for $75 plus UNLIMITED access to shows (FREE for students of advanced classes listed below)

Long Form Improv Comedy with Sam

Saturdays 2pm, November 7, 14, 21 December 5, 12, 19

Advance Improv Technique with Sam

Wednesdays 8pm November 4, 11, 18 December 2, 9, 16

These classes are designed to go past improv basics. Through different drills, exercises and games, we’ll strengthen your improv skills. We’ll focus on improv techniques that will help you build richer characters, make stronger initiations, and raise the stakes of your scene work by making more dynamic choices.

$125 includes six classes plus unlimited drop-ins Thursday/Saturday 7pm Jam sessions and 8pm Shows.

Mondays 8pm November 2, 9, 16, 23

Registration includes unlimited drop in on weekly shows and a performance showcase slot of your own on one of our cabaret shows.

Musical Theater with Ryan

Tuesdays 8pm November 3, 10, 17, 24

Registration includes unlimited drop in on weekly shows and a performance showcase slot of your own in one of our cabaret shows.

  • Saturdays 12-1pm November 7,14,21,28 December 5,12,19
  • Tuesdays 5-6pm November 3,10,17,24 December 1,8,15
  • $125/session at least SIX classes plus showcase, $200 UNLIMITED access to both sessions and bonus sessions during winter break

Both classes above focus on Improv Comedy. For 15-30 minutes after scheduled hour, students can share stand up comedy routines.

Comedy 4 Kids

  • Sundays 5pm November 1,8,15,22,29 December 6,13,20
  • Mondays 5pm November 2,9,16,23,30 December 7,14,21
  • Wednesdays 5pm November 4, 11, 18, 25 December 9, 16, 23
  • $125/session at least SIX classes plus showcase, $200 UNLIMITED access to both sessions and bonus sessions during winter break

Classes above focus on Improv Comedy. For 15-30 minutes after scheduled hour, students can share stand up comedy routines.