STAND UP SCHOOL — “I remember sitting in my office in 2010 and reading Doug Stanhope’s evisceration of stand-up comedy classes. I remember it very clearly, in fact, because at the time I was deep into strategizing how a “traditional” comedy club could become the next Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater. UCB was at the time, the dominant force in L.A. comedy, producing some of the most innovative shows, with some of the hottest talent and charging next to nothing, while raking in the cash, with their much sought-after improv classes. At least that’s what I assumed at the time. I can’t say for sure that UCB is rolling in cash and that they should pay their comics. I had thought at the time, that offering stand-up classes akin to their improv classes would be a great source of extra income and it would finally legitimize the game that comedy clubs have been playing with their employees where stage time and “access” are seen as “extras” to make up for sub par wages.
‘A class costs this much, so this is the exact value of what extras you get from us when you are an employee.’
Of course, comedy classes didn’t fly within the tribal atmosphere of a comedy club. After consulting with comics, I found the opposition to “comedy classes” to be almost universal. The notion that comedy could be taught seemed to be downright offensive to most comics and comedy teachers were looked on as snake oil salesmen and ‘hacks.’ It seemed the true grasp of the art form was only presented to those who were practitioners and even then, only after years of hard work. In rooms that were not classrooms.”