Comedy life

What comedy classes taught me (a seasoned college educator)

Winters in Chicago can be grueling. Taking on new adventures is exciting.

Combine the two and walla — I enrolled in comedy classes at the world renowned Chicago-based The Second City.  The humor and great camaraderie warmed my soul.  Learning from the best comedic teachers reshaped my life, underlined my strongest beliefs and enhanced my multi-genre professional writing skills.

Here’s how:

  1. First-day group orientation leaders stressed the fun and serious sides of Second City comedic learning.  It is best expressed in the mission statement that is easy to remember and great to execute:
  2. The mission of Second City is to a) Show up. b) Take care of each other. c) Do stuff.  This mission is transferrable to every walk of life.
  3. My first class with Comedic Teacher yielded the obvious and not always remembered by students. “It’s more guts than talent,” she said of Stand Up Comedians who grace many stages across the world. Erin also urged us to write, write and write our stories. Yet, “don’t try to write to be funny. Tell the truth. The comedy will come.”
  4. Learning the background of comedy was thrilling. We learned the different styles of comedy (will share more in a future blog) and we had to perform. After all, the “final exam” was to perform on stage as a group of students before an audience of family, friends and other supporters. I loved it all.
  5. I enrolled in Stand Up 2. Enter Sydney Davis Jr. Jr. (yes two Jrs. for the Arkansas lady).  She is a rising star on Amazon’s Prime Video and is an in-demand hosts for comedy shows. She also holds down a full-time, non-comedic job.
  6. Sydney brought even more understanding of the fun world of comedy writing and staging. We performed in class in front of our classmates. Critiques dominated our growth. We learned where to practice our comedy and how to be civil comedians.
  7. Our final exam for Stand Up 2 was even more thrilling. I never forgot Second City’s mission as I toiled through what amount to 16 weeks of instruction, critiques, lots and lots of laughs.
  8. The best lessons for me as a college educator?  Strive to teach every course and conduct every meeting with the spirit of  inclusiveness, purpose,  bonding enhancers and learning without looking at the clock for the class to or meeting to end.  Also, it is important to guide folk to their next experiences such as Open Mic performances or Internet comedic stardom.
  9. What sticks with me in this comedic world as presented by Second City instructors and staff” Take care of one another and especially yourself.
  10. Amen to that!

I will present a lot more on this topic of comedy and its intersection in our lives. Check out future blogs.