OUR LAUGHING MATTERS
What makes students laugh?
What do they want to poke fun at?
What do they find funny?
That’s what The Comedy Academy, Inc.'s
Comedy Club Programs Explore!
The Comedy Club after school programs conducted by The Comedy Academy, Inc. enable middle and high school students to create and perform an original revue of comedy sketch material based on student-generated ideas. Every year since 1995 more and more of the comedy skethes are written by the students.
Middle and high school students face serious developmental issues -- peer pressure, social acceptance, low self esteem, anxiety, and risky behavior. In order to give these youth positive, constructive ways to resist destructive influences and pressures, the Comedy Club helps students discover ways of coping with the stresses in their lives through humor. The comedy revue, consisting of 15–20 sketches in the format of Saturday Night Live, is scripted based solely on students’ original ideas. The material is drawn from the students’ own experiences their likes, dislikes, fears, worries about themselves, siblings, and parents as well as their social, school, and home lives.
Through humor, parody, and satire, the students are given an effective way to examine the events in their lives and to “respond” with their own authentic and personal voices. This comedy focus appeals to adolescents in a unique way enticing them to relate to the material on a very personal level and enhancing their engagement.
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Grants & Awards
The Comedy Club’s purpose is to develop the students’ skills and abilities in the areas of creative comedy writing, live comedy performance, and the technical aspects of theater stagecraft. To accomplish this, participants meet weekly for seven months during the school year to collaborate on sketch development, performance skills, and such technical areas as sound, lights, props, costumes, and stage management. At the end of the seven-month process, the students’ work culminates in in-school and evening performances before their peers, parents, and the community. Through this hands-on experience, the students learn how to work as a team to present a comedy revue – not an easy task for this age group! They gain a new perspective on the complexity of theatrical presentations and experience the pride of performing before an audience. This provides an immeasurable sense of accomplishment, builds self-confidence, and gives them courage to take creative risks in the future.
The emphasis of the Comedy Club is on experiential, participatory learning – on teamwork, problem solving, decision-making, and creative expression.
The Comedy Club is based on the philosophy that the arts are a vehicle to teach critical values and social skills including collaboration, respect for diversity, leadership, and accountability. Through both the individual accomplishment and the teamwork that this program encourages, the Comedy Club helps its young participants develop positive self-concept, sense of community pride, and healthy decision-making skills. Further, the students benefit from positive adult role models who help guide them away from risky behavior toward constructive and creative endeavors.
Through both the individual accomplishment and the teamwork that this program encourages, middle schoolers can develop such valuable life-skills as positive self-concept, collaboration, respect for diversity, leadership, healthy decision-making skills, and sense of community pride.
THE COMEDY CLUB AT COL. E. BROOKE LEE MIDDLE SCHOOL
In 2008, The Comedy Club at Lee Middle in SIlver Spring, MD celebrated it's 14th year. Since 1995, the program had supported students in creating 13 ninety-minute sketch comedy productions (including the original one-act musical, "NO CHILD LEFT ... where?") and two one-hour comedy cabaret productions.
During our years at Lee Middle, we found that The Comedy Club programs provide the necessary frequency (weekly) and duration (7 months) of programming for continual, productive engagement of the students during their most vulnerable after-school hours -- kids whose academic and personal growth is impacted by the effects of poverty, mobility, and disability.
The program is open to all students at the school, regardless of ability or academic standing, and draws in a diverse group from the school’s general population and its special needs Learning Center (for students with physical, mental, or learning disabilities). The program is designed to accommodate each student’s intellectual and technical abilities thus providing an environment in which youth can thrive and succeed. Since its inception in 1995, the Comedy Club at Lee has involved more than 450 students of all abilities.
The after-school theater program at Lee Middle School offers these 11-13 year-olds many unique opportunities. During the 30-week-long program, students learn about improvisation, the basics of acting, and such comedy techniques as timing, ensemble work, multi-character interplay, and facial and physical comedy effects. Their work culminates in April with two in-school and two evening performances of a 90-minute original comedy sketch revue.
And perhaps the most singular aspect of the Comedy Club’s work at Lee Middle School is that over te past decade, the finished script from every annual Comedy Club show has been published, wholly or in part, by Meriwether Publishing’s Contemporary Drama Services thus making the scripts available to schools and community youth groups around the world. The students of the Lee Comedy Club experience tremendous pride of authorship because, to date, the rights to perform Comedy Club scripts have been leased to over 3,500 schools and venues in every state in the U.S., throughout Canada, and in Australia, Germany, Kuala Lampur, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore.
THE COMEDY CLUB AT NORTHWOOD
In 2007, we expanded our work to Northqwood High School with a pilot program and then conducted a year-long series of activities from October 2008 to April 2009 which culminated with a two-hour comedy cabaret production. Along the way, members of the Comedy Club at Northwood were invited to perform 25 minutes of original comedy material at Wheaton High School during their "Coffee House" variety show in December, 2008.
The program at Northwood involved weekly writers' workshops as well as comedy acting and comic improvisation workshops from October through January. Dring this time, new material was created by the students and workshop leaders, tried out, re-written and tried again. Ultimately, the students created 20 comedy sketches, a comic power point, 12 short comedy videos and three song parodies that were included in the final cabaret. For a complete program from that show, click on the "NHS Program '09" tab.
The Comedy Academy, Inc. is currently offering A Comedy Workshop at Northwood High School during the 2011 - 2012 school year..
A COMEDY CLUB PROGRAM AT YOUR SCHOOL?
If you are interested in partnering with the Comedy Academy, Inc. to create a Comedy Club program at your school, please contact Comedy Academy President Harry M. Bagdasian at email@example.com.