Q) How is your school different than the other comedy schools?
A) We’re not just a school, but a community of comics. We produce terrific open mics, as well as new talent and industry shows so our comics learn hands on. It is possible for a student to get on stage numerous times before the workshop is finished. You will make friends and contacts to help you develop, and keep you motivated. In addition, our instructors are working professionals so they know first hand what it takes to be successful in the business. We limit our class sizes for an optimal learning experience.
Q) What can I expect in a typical class?
A) You can expect the class to be very professional, and highly entertaining. All students are encouraged to participate while giving and receiving constructive feedback. We develop writing, performance and mic techniques, as well as relaxation techniques. We encourage and assist you in developing an original act that can be performed on any stage. Students bring in their writing as well as their ideas, and we help you sculpt that into a five minute act that you can be proud of, generating laughs from start to finish.
Q) Where are your classes taught?
A) We have various locations and depends on the workshops being offered. We always let you know the specifics before you register. Some workshops are held in a conveniently located professional Manhattan studio, while others are held on stage at well known comedy clubs.
Q) Do you have online courses?
A) Yes, we offer video skype, and you may also submit scripts, DVD’s, speecehes, and links for us to punch up and critique.
Q) I’m not sure your classes are right for me, and I’m hesitant to sign up. How do I know I’m making the right choice?
A) You are always welcome to audit (observe) a class free of charge, just inquire and we will schedule you.
Q) I see that you offer business classes, is this necessary?
A) Believe it or not many professional comics will tell you succeeding in comedy can be as much as 90 percent business. They don’t call it “Show Hobby”! Our workshops are designed to give you the tools to navigate the difficult road of being a professional stand up comic. You can learn to make the right choices for an agent, manager, choose the right industry show, write a great bio, learn about professionalism and comedy politics, as well as building a great resume. We offer workshops in marketing and promotion, auditioning for industry, breaking into the college market, and so much more.
Q) Do you offer writing classes?
A) Yes, actually all of our stand up comedy workshops, Storytelling, and some of our electives involve writing. You will be taught by highly trained professionals who will help you punch up your jokes, tag and transition, sculpt and hone an original, and compelling set.
Q) How do I learn to host a show?
A) The best way is to practice doing crowd work when you can, and of course take our Hosting and Crowd Work class which is very popular. We have a mentoring program and numerous comics have started hosting at our open mics, and gone on to work professionally.
Q) Do you offer private sessions or personal programs?
A) Yes, you may sign up for one on one training via Skype no matter where you live. You may also work on a stage for an additional fee. If your schedule doesn’t permit taking our workshops, or you are visiting from out of town, we will put together a personal program for you that may include one on one training, open mics, and showcases. Comics have visited us from all over the world!
Q) I may have to miss a class due to my schedule, can I still sign up?
A) Yes, it is very common over the course of six weeks for comics to miss a class. Our classes are designed to give you exercises to carry you through times you cannot attend. Depending on the circumstances it is possible for you to make up a class, or sign up pro rated, just check with us prior.
Q) If I’m not happy with your classes can I get a refund?
A) Unfortunately we don’t offer refunds or exchanges, but it is extremely rare that someone might be unhappy with our program. We will do everything humanly possible to make sure that you are enjoying your workshop and getting your money’s worth and more. Our doors are always open to your feedback.
Q) Do you accept credit cards?
Q) You refer to yourselves as a community, what exactly does that mean and how do I fit in?
A) Stand up comedy can be a very challenging and lonely road. Many of the gigs you will get will come from friends and peers. We have worked diligently to provide an atmosphere that encourages friendships, professional networks and lasting relationships. We offer social events, holiday parties, free workshops and more, where you can meet like minded comedians and form lasting friendships.
Q) I perform out of town and don’t know if I could afford to come to NYC to take classes. How could I become a part of Laughing Buddha Comedy?
A) We are now traveling to various cities in the U.S. If you can round up a group of several fellow comics, we can come to your city and your personal workshop will be free and you may be able to earn dollars on top of that!
Q) Where did the name come from and are you Buddhists?
A) Laughing Buddha Comedy’s founder Jeff Lawrence seriously has no recollection about how he came up with the name. He practiced Buddhism, was born a Jew, and is basically non denominational. We have a very diverse staff and roster of comics. We welcome everyone, and our students come from every ethnicity, age group, race, color, religion, and sexuality.
Q) What is an industry show?
A) It simply means an industry guest is present at our shows watching acts. Ours are unique because you will meet our guests afterwards for one on one feedback. They are carefully chosen and highly supportive. They are there to support you not judge you.
Q) How do I know when I’m ready for an industry show?
A) All new comics are ready for the majority of our showcases. Many of our casting directors and agents want to work with acts right out of the gate for non union commercials, reality TV, and various projects. Our bookers love to see new acts develop, and although you may not be ready for a paid road gig, their quality feedback and encouragement is extremely valuable. In addition, many bookers want to see you more than once and watch you develop before booking you.
Q) How do I book an Industry Show?
A) e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212 982 6363
Q) What is an open mic?
A) An open mic is a show where any comic can sign up and work on their act. It is usually a room full of comics, but don’t let that fool you, we often have real audience, and our no notes, or phones policy in the audience creats a show like atmosphere. Ours are booked in advance, you can register here on our website. They are highly supportive and we welcome new comics from all walks of life.
Q) How do I book an Open Mic or a Mic/Show?
A) Just go to our Open Mic section and register. This automatically adds you to our booking list.
Q) Your open mics have a great reputation. What makes them different from other mics?
A) We restrict the use of notes or phones in the audience which keeps the crowd attentive. Our hosts and staff are outgoing and supportive, ensuring you a positive open mic experience. We also encourage comics to stay to the end of the show, and often have real audience present. By staying until the end of the show comics have the opportunity to win a free class, as well as a free open mic chip. The mics are booked in advance, although you may always try for a walk in spot, and we have pro comics that often drop by to work on their acts.
Q) I’m confident in my stage presence and material am I ready to audition for road and club work?
A) Road work is a broad term. Some of our bookers are indeed looking for new acts perhaps in their first or second year for hosting, or emcee spots. Often if you have a car you can get gigs by offering a ride to a headliner. Of course higher paying gigs, like headlining work would require years of experience, but most bookers are looking for a spectrum of comics. We can find the right showcase for you to audition.
Q) Can I use profanity at your mics, shows, or classes?
A) Absolutely. Stand up comedy is an art form and we do not censor at any of our shows, mics or classes. We will certainly make you aware of the pitfalls of working “blue” but it’s your career, and you do as you see fit. Stand up comedy is not for the easily offended!
Q) How do I get on a booked show without having to bring guests?
A) You would have to excel at our open mics, as well as our industry and new talent showcases. Many of our comics started with open mics and classes, then progressed to guest spots, and even get paid bookings through us. We also reward comics that have taken numerous classes or brought in a large audience with guest spots.
Q) I’m nervous before I go on stage, is this normal? does it get better?
A) Yes, it’s perfectly normal. Your nerves are your friend and we can help you learn how to embrace them. It does get better, the more you perform on stage, the more comfortable you will become.