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A guy walks into a bar… By Bob Holzwarth

We are all born with a sense of humor.  Many of us have a knack for making our friends, family and coworkers laugh.  Generally that knack does not translate directly to the stage.  But what if… what if you could take that part of your persona and those stories to a group of strangers and make them laugh just as hard?  The standup comedy workshop at Writers & Books is a class for anyone who’s ever thought about taking that journey from the lunch room to the stage.  

If you’re like me, your first attempt at writing standup might be a dismal attempt at mimicking the types of jokes you’ve grown up with. A guy walks into a bar with a duck on his head.  A traveling salesman’s car breaks down. Knock knock. Who’s there? Forget. Forget who? Forget about what you think a joke is.  A joke is really anything that can reliably cause a group of strangers to laugh on cue. And you don’t have to contrive stories to make that happen.  Your life experience presents plenty of fodder for jokes.  Jokes that will be original, because they come from your life, and no one else has ever had your particular life experience, your unique perspective, your bizarre take on things.  The key is to take note of the things that strike you as funny, odd, peculiar, or annoying, and then figure out how to present them to an audience in such a way that upon reaching the punch line, you will evoke laugher.  Beautiful, precious, audible laughter.  Getting that laugh on cue, on purpose, pre-meditated, is a feeling like no other.  

The standup comedy workshop is not just for those who dream of being the next Louis C.K. It is equally suited to those who just want to keep people from falling asleep during their next PowerPoint presentation.  In our day to day lives, many of us avoid going for the laugh out of fear of failure. “What if I make a joke and no one laughs?” By exploring standup comedy, we can de-mystify laughter and reduce that risk of failure.  If we learn to use humor effectively, the dry can become engaging. The mundane can become fun. And if it’s what you want, there are stages waiting for you as well!

Bob Holzwarth enjoyed standup comedy from the audience for decades before an instructor finally showed him that he could also participate. This opened up a whole new world for him and he has been performing standup comedy in and around Rochester for over ten years. As an instructor himself now, he has helped many others get a similar start in stand-up.


Enroll in Bob’s upcoming workshop: