Stagefright Stand-Up Comedy Course – 29 November 2015, Red Lion, Sheffield


As those of you who know me will know, I might love comedy and the live arts but I’m definitely a behind the scenes type of person and am not naturally confident, so attending a stand-up comedy course would be the last thing you’d expect me.

However when a colleague informed me that one of his friends, Anthony Brown, ran a stand-up comedy course in Sheffield I decided to rise to the challenge of attending, if only to see what it takes to be a stand-up comedian and if I have it.

For this reason on Sunday 29 November I found myself in the room above the Red Lion on London Road, having paid a very reasonable £40 to attend a day long Stage Fright Stand Up Comedy Class.

Delivered by a comedy club promoter with a 10 year career, his own venues and experience of dealing with hundreds of new comedians, the course aimed to cover everything a budding stand-up needed to know, including:

  • How to generate material
  • How to teach your brain to ‘think funny’
  • The discipline of writing exercises
  • Finding your own comedic voice
  • Kicking nerves in shins
  • The points of stagecraft
  • How to get gigs
  • How to get noticed at gigs and
  • Self promotion and career development.

The workshop starts the day before with an email from Anthony Brown asking questions, the easiest being what do I want to order for lunch tomorrow (scampi and chips) to inquiring about my stand-up performing experience (zilch) and giving me pre-workshop work including wearing an outfit I would wear if performing stand-up (opted for jeans and a new top purchased four days ago in Nottingham) and a prop I would use as part of a stand-up routine (what stand-up routine). This latter question led to a panicky chat with my boyfriend and the decision to take a tape measure so I can make jokes about my 6ft 1.5in height.

After passing the first test of getting into a pub outside of its opening hours, the course exceeded my expectations as it moved from writing comedy exercises including definitions (morbid = death by auction), rule of three and poetry (“I’m not a poet and I know it”), to helpful tips (the most important of which were always have a notepad on you and don’t give up) to having our first stand-up photographs taken.

Although only one of two women in a class of men the group were incredible supportive of each other, including a very talented poet who included my name within his works, with only one clash of personalities in a room of comedians and wannabe comedians, leading me to bravely (and less nervously than expected) perform my couple of minutes of height related comedy and being encouraged to write more and produce a five minute set (watch this space).
 
After the course Anthony also made sure none of the participants missed out on his stand-up knowledge, individually emailing us with information on including our inner and outer selves in our acts, how to banter with an audience,  useful forums and websites to help get our stand-up careers started and what to do after our first gig (including not trying to rush a career in comedy).

Anthony’s course not only made me more confident in my writing and performance skills but has also made me serious contemplate something I never thought I would be brave enough to do and write a short comedy set (I’ve already started) and hopefully in the New Year try my hand at an open mic slot. 

I might not be the next tall female comedian (that role is already filled by Miranda Hart) but I am a slightly new and funnier me.

For more information on classes, including how to order a class for your workforce, visit http://anthonyjbrown.com/workshop.

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