Thursday, December 3, 2015

THE GLORY OF A FOUR-PERSON CLASS

So, to be 100% honest with you, when I'm in LA I give workshops in my bedroom.

It is a very big room. It isn't exactly my bedroom. My bedroom has archway, an entrance, in the middle of it, so there's one room that is my actual bedroom: it has my bed and dresser and dentist lamp, and during the workshops, chairs and one big exercise ball.

(Just for the record, I recommend sitting on balls when one needs to sit. In my next workshop all of my students will sit on exercise balls when they have to sit, and they will bounce whenever they want to).

The "studio" part of the bedroom is empty except for wood floor, big mirror and a few lamps for lighting. It is about 8x10, not a huge playing area, but some comedy stages are way smaller.

Most of my workshops there have been 6-ish. Last night I started a new 4.

Don't get me wrong, the teacher-phallus in me wants BIG CLASSES with lots of Students Giving me that Big Phat Cash. But fuck that teacher-phallus, you know? I teach big enough classes elsewhere. Big classes are great for being able to work out your shit in front of something that feels more like an audience. But in terms of training the subtleties of your audience dynamics, small classes are the thing. Because each audience member counts so goddamn much. There are only 4 people watching you, goddammit, and if they're not at least having a good time then what the fuck are you doing in this art form? Of course everyone can make 4 people laugh, right?

Total wrong. It's a different way of working. It's hard; it's a rich starting place. There's way more elasticity between you and specific other people. It is an intense community (might I add, in my bedroom, not exactly, but kind of). If you are one with an intense community like that, and give back to it and nurture it in the Naked Comedy way, you will be able to create that dynamic in every room you're in. Guess what, YOU'll bring the nakedness, the community, the bedroom, the dream of intimacy among strangers united in love and laughter. Every room will drool over you. It's good to work this way.

And it's good to work this way as a facilitator. I get to really fine tune. I can work with one student on developing his physical instrument, and another on forgiving her audience, and another on finding bolder choices, and another on exploring her inner disgustingness, all in the same class. We need this kind of super-specific, tailor-made pedagogy, each of us, like the small child in the educational model of Enlightenment philosophe Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who walks arm in arm with his tutor in the woods, touching all the flora. It is a fierce wild thing, this comedy beast, and the closer knit our knights can be, the better we can all conquer and ride it into the sunset. Or at least onto Sunset. It's nice to be in LA, for a minute.


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