“What are you, kid? Some kind of comedian?”
“Yes… yes I am.”
That exchange, usually intoned as part of some smart alec-y sitcom dialogue, is now possible in real-life thanks to Kids ‘N Comedy, a program that teaches standup performance to children, ages 10-17. Before Kids ‘N Comedy, getting stage time was nearly impossible, since comedy clubs are primarily bars and therefore off-limits to teens. This program helps nurture aspiring young talents, as well as giving them the opportunity to perform before audiences. So yes, in addition to training and mentoring, your little comedian can actually learn if they can deliver the goods in real-time.
Kids ‘N Comedy started as a talent show for kids in 1996. The BBC filmed a documentary and demand spiked among kids wishing to perform. Artistic Director Jo Ann Grossman and her husband Stu Morden established Kids ‘N Comedy to serve budding comics, through classes and an intensive summer comedy camp. Both are taught by a rotating staff of professional comedians. The performance series moved to Gotham Comedy Club in 2000. “There’s a 10 year ramp-up to a comedy career and stage time is essential to becoming a good performer,” notes Grossman.
Kids ’N Comedy classes teach kids 10-18 how to creatively write comedy. “We allow young adults to find their own voice and express themselves at an age where they might find it difficult to clearly communicate their thoughts and observations,” Grossman explains. “The class philosophy of always thinking, refining, and seein” the world for inspiration helps develop important life skills that can surely benefit any child, not just an aspiring comedian.”
Students also develop self-confidence as they hone their craft, another much welcome perk for any teen. Participants also get to make local friends with similar interests, building their own comedy circle. Kids ’N Comedy instructors are a mix of professional comedians and former and present students who help newcomers by providing guidelines – but no rules; welcoming each student’s individually and encouraging them to support one another. Each 8 or 9 week session ends with a graduation show where students perform a show at Gotham Comedy Club.
Kids ’N Comedy monthly public comedy shows consist of the school’s best comedians, with ages from 12-18, performing “clean” for audiences (ages 9 + up), families, and the general public. Young audience members will appreciate the camaraderie and perspective from their peers, plus they’ll get an idea of what they are in for if they are considering taking the classes as well.
Space is limited and interested parents and students are encouraged to visit the website sooner rather than later. Limited partial scholarships are available.
Saturday classes begin September 15 for 9 weeks (Ages 10-13: 11:30 AM -1:30 PM / Ages 14-18: 2-4 PM). Sunday classes begin September 16 for 9 weeks (Ages 10-18: 10:30 AM -12:30 PM). For more information, visit Kids ‘N Comedy’s website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram account.
Here is a short clip introducing the program: