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Public Speaking workshop “How Do You Be Funny”

By | class, fear, psychology

This is an example of a public speaking workshop I presented recently, for administrators of a University. The University had a problem that needed to be addressed: engaging an audience of young adults in presentations for the University. Administrators needed assistance on how to run presentations more efficiently and how to introduce playfulness and comedy in their speaking engagements and presentations.

Duration: 2 hours

Public speaking Workshop “How do you be funny”

Quick Introduction (about me). How I started.

1) The power of knowing our names in a group workshop.

2) Dancing (changing roles as the leader).

3) Zip, Zap, Zop.

4) One, two, three, four…

5) Three line scenes.

6) Psychology of performance anxiety:

  •  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – REBT
  • Preference / Needs, ABC
  • Activating Event, Beliefs, Consequences
  • Behavioral portion: doing the opposite of what fears tell you.
  • Quick discussion on beta blockers.
  • Developing a sense of humor is developing the idea that we don’t need to be funny, you prefer to be funny(How to be a perfect non perfectionist, Albert Ellis https://youtu.be/u109sVn8zGA )

6) Technical aspects: voice projection, eye contact, microphone technique. Leading the audience. Playfulness (“Make them laugh”). Importance of memorizing a speech.

7) The power of improvising in public presentations.

8) Dada Monologue (free association).

9) Improvising (riffing), story of something embarrassing that happened to us or something funny.

10) Joke Writing.

Misdirection Jokes: “Comedy is dancing backwards”

(Listen to 1 song in Nick Thune’s Folk Hero)

Figurative vs Literal Meaning.

Elephant in the room (Nick Thune).

Comparison + Rule of threes, rant

Finding the absurd: Huge idea vs very small idea (for example: Personal Boundaries vs taking out the trash out).

Puns: Words that have different meanings and similar sound.

Ramen joke >>>>

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB6Pg5qz6p (Minute 4’ 22”)

Long Form Improv – Sample Scene-work Workshop

By | class

Long Form Improv – Sample Scene-work Workshop

My improv philosophy is that there isn’t a definitive approach to improv, and that improv is a artform that is constantly morphing, expanding and it’s relatively new. The knowledge about improv that we pick up in our improv journey are more suggestions than absolute truths. If improv was a video game, this tools would be “cheat codes” to make improv easier and more satisfying.

Warm up: George, Word Association, Mild Meld, Big Booty, Ninja.

Two-person three line scenes (warm-up).

Two-person short scenes where before initiating the scene partners make a mental decision about the relationship we have with the other improviser.

Initiate scenes inspired by the physicality of our scene partner and what that communicates to us about his or her mood, emotions, profession, or whatever other information we can obtain by their physicality.

Practice the importance of knowing what we want from the other scene partner (this works better when what we want is not material but more associated with emotions such as respect, love, compassion, etc).

Gift our scene partner game (pan y queso). This is to practice helping our scene partner with information that informs his or her character and makes it easier to play and to keep the scene going.

Two person scenes where we quickly determine the who, what, where of the scene (with 3 “referees”).

Organic/Naturalistic improv: Attempt two-person scenes where improvisers are as natural as possible and nothing extraordinary happens during the scene. This scene is the opposite of “this is the day where that thing happened”. The world doesn’t come to an end during this scene, this is how 99% of life happens as opposed to the 1% of life where exciting and unexpected things happen.

Editing scenes in a montage: “Walking through doors”. Improvising as if we were walking through fog and we could only see the next step.

  • Things to try: “let’s go there” from the sidelines.
  • Easier: from the sidelines we edit the scene by saying “Now I would like to see the following: these improvisers are in xyz location, the situation is the following…”.

Improvising “paranoid”: listening as if our scene partner had second intentions, we don’t take anything at face value. What our scene partner is saying actually hides something else and we don’t take anything literally from our scene partner.

Practicing the game of the scene: establishing the base reality and then detect the first unusual thing that happens in the scene.

Student becomes the coach: two person scene where a third person acts as the coach/director and after the scene he or she comments on how the scene went, things the coach liked and things the coach would do differently.

Holding on to your thing: holding on to the choice made at the top of the scene and not losing that point of view or “thing” brought by the character at the top of the scene.

Dream scenes: one of the workshop participants selects two scene partners to act out a “dream” scenario that tickles him or her as a selfish wish. For example, I would like John and Joan to be good cop and bad cop, during a break in the cafeteria of the police station.

Ejemplo de Clase de Impro en Español

By | class

Aca van algunas de las cosas que quiero trabajar, no se si va a dar el tiempo para todo pero es la idea.

Mi idea sobre la impro es que nadie todavía escribió el libro definitivo sobre la impro, es un arte vivo y es relativamente bastante nuevo. Lo que uno va aprendiendo, los ejercicios, son sugerencias. Si la impro fuera un video juego, estas herramientas serian “cheat codes”, o trucos para hacer la impro más fácil.

Calentamiento: George, Asociacion de palabras, Mind Meld, Big Booty o algun otro calentamiento mas fisico, v.g. Ninja.

– Escenas cortas de 3 lineas para precalentar.
– Escenas cortas donde antes de empezar la escena uno ya hace una decision mental de que relacion tiene con nuestro companiero de escena.
– Empezar escenas diciendo algo sobre cómo nuestro compañero de escena esta físicamente parado o sentado y que nos dice eso de su estado de ánimo, profesión u otra cosa que nos inspire su aspecto físico.
– Practicar la importancia de saber que uno quiere de la otra persona (esto funciona mejor cuando lo que uno quiere tiene que ver con emociones).
– Darle regalos a tu compañero de escena (como pan y queso). (Esto es para practicar la importancia de darle “pies”, “regalos” a la otra persona).

– Escenas de 2 personas donde determinamos rapido quienes somos, donde estamos y que estamos haciendo o de que estamos hablando (con tres referis).

-Tratar de hacer escenas donde somos lo mas naturales posibles, por ejemplo una pareja esta en la cocina y hablan naturalmente de algo y no pasa nada en la escena, no hay conflicto, no se cae el mundo, etc.

– Como editar una escena: ir caminando a través de puertas (walking through doors). Improvisar como si estuviéramos caminando en la neblina (stepping into the fog: solamente podemos ver el próximo paso).
– Probar desde las sidelines con el “vamos alla”.
– Mas facil: desde las sidelines uno va a editar la escena diciendo “ahora me gustaría ver lo siguiente, estos improvisadores están en este lugar, etc.”

Improvisar “paranoico”. Escuchando como si nuestro compañero de escena tuviera segundas intenciones, como si lo que dice en realidad esconde algo más y no sólo lo que dice literalmente.

Practicar el juego de la escena: realidad de base y después vemos cual es la primera cosa inusual que pasa en la escena.

Otra cosa que quiero probar es hacer escenas de dos personas y poner a uno de coach/director y que el coach despues de la escena comente como fue la escena, que cosas le gustaron, que harian diferente.

Holding on to your “thing”: the choice you made at the top of the scene. No perder el punto de vista o “cosa” que trajimos con nuestro personaje al principio de la escena.

Dream scenes. Me gustaria que esta persona y esta persona hagan la siguiente escena.

Upcoming Shows

By | show

Shithole, 5/7/17, 8 pm, Chicago (Message for Details).

Underground Lounge, 7/3/17, 8 pm, 954 W Newport Ave, Chicago, IL


Performances: Cash me outside at:

By | show

Underground Lounge at 8 pm on 4/3/17 (Stand up)

The Revival Open Mic at 9:30 pm on 4/8/17 (Stand up)

Annoyance Theater – Solo Character work – at 6:30 pm on 4/9/17 (Character work)

Spitballin’ at Shakers at 8 pm on 4/10/17 (Character work).



Improv Workshop at La Sede Teatro on 2/1/2017

By | class

Improv Workshop at La Sede Teatro, 2/1/2017


Improv Workshop at La Sede Teatro, 2/1/2017


Improv Workshop at La Sede Teatro, 2/1/2017


Improv Workshop at La Sede Teatro, 2/1/2017


Improv Workshop at La Sede Teatro, 2/1/2017


During my recent visit to Buenos Aires, I taught a Chicago-style improv workshop to a group of students at La Sede Teatro, a renowned improv comedy theater in Buenos Aires.

The Director of La Sede Teatro is Ricardo Behrens. Ricardo is a bonafide improv guru and one of the pioneers of the improv comedy scene in Latin America.

One of the most popular shows at La Sede Teatro is Shakespeare Inedito.

It was amazing and truly an honor for me to be teaching in Argentina, my native country, in the artistic home of Ricardo Behrens, La Sede Teatro.

Next Show is on 2/7 at The Comedy Clubhouse, 8 pm

By | show

See my comedy at The Comedy Clubhouse at 8 pm

1462 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA