What’s it Like to Take – or Teach – a Comedy Class?
In January, Plaza Library branch manager Kerby Valladares offered a new and very different program to Library community: The Comedy Routine.
Mr. Valladares, a stand-up comic himself, wanted to give Library users an opportunity to take the stage to make the audience laugh. And his first class in January was very popular – the registration filled up in just two weeks! “I was surprised with the amount of interest for this class,” says Mr. Valladares. “I really thought I would get 10 or 15 people, but ended up with 50 registrations.”
The first series was held at the Central library and coincided with the open mic nights at the Comedy Spot in the Ballston Mall.
“I came into this class with the mindset that everyone who signed up was ready to get on stage. I was very wrong about that. I realized that I needed to slow the class down and keep it smaller. After talking to a few close friends/comedians, I was able to guide the class better and the April workshops allowed the students to practice their routine in front of each other before going up on stage.”
After scaling things back, allowing more question and answers between the students, Mr. Valladares, and his guest speakers, the April class was able to really get a grasp of what it’s like on stage and were given the opportunity to perform in a comedy show.
Valladares says, “I really like bringing in the guest speakers to give the class another perspective. Most of the speakers I brought in have way more experience – have hosted other rooms, been in numerous shows, and have performed at the DC Improve or the Arlington Drafthouse. This just gives the class a different dynamic.”
On April 27, the students performed their first 5 minute routines in front of a live audience at Bayou Bakery.
“The April show was great! I just wish that I could have done that with the first class as I think more students would have gone up on stage to try their jokes.”
Valladares continues, “All of the classes have been fun to teach and I really enjoy doing them. This is something I’ve been doing as a hobby and continue to do so but I am glad to share this with those interested in comedy. I am glad we are able to offer this class at APL and glad that the administration was all for it when I proposed the workshops last October.”
So what’s next?
Currently Mr. Valladares is teaching a June workshop and has another comedy show on Monday, June 29 at Bayou Bakery.
And if you missed out in this session and want to try your hand at comedy, you can register now for the July workshop – it starts Wednesday, July, and includes four workshops, four different guest speakers, and a comedy showcase.