Monday, March 28, 2016

Do class clowns make good comedians? Q&A Answered

But as they sat quietly in the corner, they watched. They observed. Beyond learning what teachers and books had to teach, They observed the world. They thought of hundreds of things they would have liked to say to their bullies, friends, potential girl/boy friends, teachers, parents etc.

Do class clowns make good comedians?

This is a popular question from teachers, but I thought it profound today hearing an 8th grade student from Brooklyn ask this question.

Do class clowns make good comedians?

Usually, NO! WHY?

The problem with a lot of traditional class clowns is that they do not listen. They are so focused on making noise, they cannot listen. 

My answer to this 8th grader's question? No, I was not always the perfect student, but a great comic usually is very intelligent. In their formative years (Middle School especially) they focused on school work. They studied. The learned stuff. 

They may not have been great test takers. Many comics have learning disabilities. Many comics were socially awkward as kids and teens. Many were bullied. Many were abused physically and/or psychologically. 

Their have been great debates about the pain that inspires comedy. Some of the best comedians in the world are full of pain inside. Comics joke about their set as being therapy. Instead of paying a psychologist, you pay us to complain for 5-90 minutes.


By the time they decided to try comedy, they had a lot to say. They have been holding it in for years. 

Unfortunately, while class clowns are busy clowning, the rest of the world is passing them by quickly. Then you get to be a certain age and wonder, "WHAT HAPPENED?"

Lets talk about what a class clown is for a second. Most "attention getters" - including bullies - actually have just as much insecurity as the typical bully victim. The difference is, while many us retreat within, these scene-stealers over compensate to hide the fact they are really scared or ignorant. 

Think about the Trump effect. Every time Trump is asked a question he clearly has no answer, Donald deflects by attacking his opponents or throwing focus back on himself. Yes DT, we know, your building a wall...


Class Clown types are terrible for Improv. Class clowns are not fearless. They are over compensating for fear or ignorance. EGO is just as bad as FEAR when it comes to being a great performer. While I feel you need a few drops of arrogance to get up on stage and be "fearless" too much blinds us. We stop listening. We stop sharing. We stop supporting our team. 

The clowns you see in our Improv shows and workshops don't waste time on ourselves. Instead we observe our world. On stage we recreate what we see, 

Class Clowns are a distraction to great comedy as much as they are disruptive to a great classroom experience. 

Are you a class clown?

If so, why?
Are you anxious?
Do you have trouble understanding things in class?
Are you having troubles at home?
Are you lacking a challenge?

It can be scaring asking one self these questions. But I hope, if you answer yes to any of the above, ask for help. Don't wait till your an adult. The sooner you address an issue, the sooner you can move on and build a bright future for yourself.

Many students have un-diagnosed learning disabilities. Perhaps you have minor anxiety issues. Or perhaps their are deeper issues resulting from abuse etc Schools have resources. Some students need  little extra help. This does not mean you are bad or less worthy. Most likely with a small adjustment - something other students will never even know about - you can turn your entire life around.

In comedy we say sarcasm and cynicism does not equal intelligence. 

Some students are simply not challenged enough. Their boredom really comes from being smartest in the room. If this is your situation, maybe you need to be in more advanced classes. I actually fell into this category for a while. I was unchallenged, bored and then lazy. BUT instead of doing something, I fell behind. While I was complaining about being bored and unchallenged others passed me by. In fact one year as a result, I was moved down a level in some classes. So I worked very hard and was quickly bumped back up to honors classes. 

If you don't turn things around now, the world will pass you by. Those of us that are focused on the task at hand, listening to our teachers, doing our homework, and observing life - instead of acting like an idiot for a cheap laugh - will pass you by and never look back. 

Don't be the guy or gal that makes fun of others for being a great student. Worse, don't be the guy or gal that stops being a great student because some idiot made fun of you. WHO CARES ABOUT THOSE IDIOTS! In 10 years, they will be begging you for a job. You can politely delete their emails without comment, or use them as great punchlines in your comedy routines!!!


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