March 22, 2005
Think you’re funny enough for a stand-up routine?
Learn a few pointers before grabbing a microphone, or you could get laughed off the stage.
Dee Ann Kinkade teaches stand-up comedy workshops at Scottsdale Community College as well as at The Comedy Spot in downtown Scottsdale.
Even the most natural class clowns can use a little training.
Just as a brain surgeon needs schooling before snipping inside our craniums, comedians must learn how to work an audience with a carefully edited routine. Part of the craft includes structuring jokes, connecting them seamlessly and skillfully using "the pause."
"You may have a good sense of humor, but there’s a lot of tricks to the trade," said Kinkade, a Scottsdale resident. "Just being funny around the dinner table or on a bar stool is not the same as performing on the stage."
After all, those listeners have much more patience than a paying audience.
Although comedy is more art than science, comedians strive for a laugh every 15 seconds. Kinkade said producers looking at stand-up talent sometimes use a stopwatch to count the laughs per minute.
Rhythm, timing and theatrics carry just as much importance as the jokes themselves. And when finding material for a "hook," look at your own experiences — and learn to laugh at them.
"Jokes come from people’s lives. If people think they’ve had a rough life, that’s the best material for comedy," Kinkade said.
Kinkade draws from her baby boomer status as well as marrying late. She noted that her husband loves his Porsche so much, he bought a leather "bra" to cover its front, complete with holes for the headlights.
"I’m not getting lingerie like that. What’s wrong with this picture?" she joked.
A free hourlong presentation on stand-up comedy will begin 4 p.m. Saturday at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at 10500 N. 90th St. (near Loop 101 and Shea Boulevard) in Scottsdale.
Anyone interested in writing or performing stand-up comedy, including the business aspects involved, can attend. Kinkade will help facilitate Saturday’s presentation, which will feature impromptu jokes from truelife stories contributed by those attending. For information about the event or upcoming comedy classes, call (480) 596-9552.
Scottsdale resident Alison Goulder, an eighth-grader at Rancho Solano Private School, received a 2005 Prudential Spirit of Community Award earlier this month. Alison was honored for collecting about 28,000 Beanie Baby dolls to ship to U.S. soldiers to give to Iraqi children. She will receive $1,000 and a trip in May to Washington, D.C., to join honorees from across the nation.