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!!!


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.

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.

Team Building via Zoom

For the past 18 years we hosted events at our Times Square theater(s) and traveled nationwide as far as Orlando, Maine and Nebraska. Since March 2020 we have been working with teams around the world via ZOOM, including Australia, Germany, India, UK, Canada and all over the United States.

Online Improv Comedy Workshop Package

Online session with EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH
  • We will host your team of up to 90 on our ZOOM platform.
  • We invite your team on up to 15 minutes before class time.
  • One teacher will work with up to 10 of your team mates for 60 minutes playing games that teach teams to play as one through better communication, listening, self-confidence and using humor and laughter to build trust in others.
  • We will leave the room open after the show for another 15 minutes to interact with your team.
  • EMAIL Walter now to book an online team building workshop for your team for just $100! (We can negotiate longer times, additional teachers or add on a show)
Corporate team Building for BING, JP Morgan Chase, and BDO.

Corporate clients include JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Twitter, BING/Microsoft, BAML, Home Depot, Ernst & Young, Louis Vuitton, Coach, UBS, BDO, AMEX, Master Card, Datadog, NY Life, Accenture,
 Macy’s, 360i, IBM, GM, KRAFT, UNILEAVER, HBO,  and 100s more… CLICK HERE to read our philosophy behind using Improv to teach team building

In 18 years providing improv comedy team building workshops, the biggest challenge our team faced was answering the question:

“How do we apply these techniques to our remote teams around the world.”

Their team would come to New York and include as as part of their 2-3 day recruiting, team launch or other training.

In the past six months we have now presented 100+ shows online via ZOOM and other platforms plus logged 1000s of hours of class time teaching Improv comedy. We have had to adjust our games, and create some new ones, to continue our own team’s existence.

We are now armed with the tools and techniques to teach team skills on ZOOM to be utilized in your online interactions moving forward.

“YES! And…” Takes Us to the Learning Zone

Psychological Safety is the #1 determining factor in team success, according to 2015 findings of Project Aristotle, the four year study into teams by Google. Balanced with Performance Drive we enter the learning zone.

Our #1 rule: HAVE FUN! But NEVER at another’s expense.

Building psychological safety in your team directly leads to productivity. Psychological safety paired with performance drive also makes you a better leader, a better sales person and better at customer service.

  • “YES!” produces psychological safety. We agree and support our team.
  • “And…” is performance pressure. We need to carry our weight and contribute to the team

Together there is nothing we can’t achieve.

Improv Teaches Presentation Skills

Improv teaches presentation skills in two ways.

  • Public Speaking Techniques
  • Story Telling Techniques

The first perhaps is more obvious. Improv is 100% performance on day one. Every warm-up game and technique exercise is applying public speaking skills. We grow confident just by doing. We learn to consistently energy our voice, using appropriate projection and diction. We learn very early that something funny is not funny unless it is heard and understood.

Less obvious maybe the story telling skills. When you make a presentation, using story will help you persuade your audience. Whether leading a team in a new direction, making a sales pitch, or appeasing a disgruntle client/customer, story will shape information. When you merely present a set of facts, individuals will interpret their own directions.

Story also engages the audience. The more details you give the more clearly the audience will see your intended message. Improv teaches us to shape our stories with emotion and conviction.

Improv Teaches Critical Thinking

Humor and creativity work in similar ways. By creating relationships between two disconnected items, you engage the whole brain. 
Humor guru, William Fry, M.D., of Stanford University

Simply playing improv comedy games builds a better brain. Akin to playing word games and SuDoku to sharpen your focus, Improv is problem solving. Two or more play together to create story form scratch.

Improv teaches to think out of the box. By letting go of how we think a thing should be, we are able to discover its true nature. We open up to new possibility. We discover new pathways. We learn to solve problems anew.

We become open to others ideas and interpretations on a subject.

Improv Delivers Much Needed Laughter

In many cases, the laughter supersedes all other benefits. Bringing laughter to a classroom improves test scores, according to research at Johns Hopkins. Laughter increases cardio pulmonary function, getting more oxygen to the brain. Laughter creates community, while reducing stress, depression and blood pressure. The laughter alone increases individual and team health. Laughter tears down walls of resentment, replacing with strong bonds of trust.

Laughter and Joy will make your team work together better, will make folks follow your leadership, make your students listen to your teachings, buy your products, and accept your customer service efforts.

NOW MORE THAN EVER you need to bring laughter to your work, school, home and community. We do this with shows and classes.

PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY = “YES AND…” USING IMPROV to enter the LEARNING ZONE

Psychological Safety is the #1 factor in team success!

In 2015, Google released the findings of their 4-year study into what makes a successful team. Project Aristotle found that the most consistent factor behind team success is Psychological Safety – meaning every member of that team feels safety to contribute and has a sense of value to the project.

“YES!” is all about accepting your colleagues and their contributions to the team. We create a safe space and level playing field for all. We accept our colleague 100% as is. EVERYTHING they say and do. We do not judge. We do not fear. We trust each other AND ourselves.

Corporate team Building for BING, JP Morgan Chase, and BDO.

“AND…” is all about contributing valuable work and information to the team. We are going to take this to the next level by accepting our colleagues’ work, building upon with our own contributions. Performance drive is not a selfish process. We have a collective ambition to grow and achieve together as a team.

When the whole team embraces “YES! And…” we enter the learning zone together. No challenge is insurmountable when we work together in a supportive exchange of ideas and actions.

EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH Improv corporate clients include JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Twitter, BING/Microsoft, BAML, Home Depot, Ernst & Young, Louis Vuitton, Coach, UBS, BDO, AMEX, Master Card, Datadog, NY Life, Accenture, Macy’s, 360i, IBM, GM, KRAFT, UNILEAVER, HBO,  and 100s more…

Over the past eighteen years, EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH Artistic Director, Walt Frasier has worked with hundreds of corporate teams as well as teachers and K12 school children, using Improv comedy to teach team building, leadership, sales and service skills. Since March 2020 Frasier and his team deliver online shows & classes.

Other credits include TV (Billions, Friends of the People, Royal Pains, Blue Bloods, Letterman, MTV, NICK, WE), Commercials and international credits in theater, comedy and music.