Saturday, June 21, 2008

Great American Comedy Festival - Youth Camp - Day 5

Friday was the last official class day for the youth comedy camp that is part of the Great American Comedy Festival. It's been interesting!

This morning during standup class, students fine tuned their performances for tomorrow's showcase. They tightened up the opening joke and then got right in to the routine. While some of the students seem more at ease than others, the quality of material and the laughs they should generate will appeal to the audience. I'm so impressed with the work the students have completed in this class.

This afternoon, we ventured to the venue where we will perform tomorrow and blocked the sketches on stage. Next, the Brave New Workshop and Dave Reinitz ran through the entire show. I couldn't stop laughing.

And for a finale for the day, we attended the comedy finals. Competing were Drake Witham, Chris Coccia, Jim McDonald, Chuck Bartell, Erin Jackson, Shane Mauss, Deacon gray, and Marianne Sierk.

On our way back to the dorm, I enjoyed listening to the students discuss the differences in the routines presented this evening as compared to those in the semi-finals. Some comedians had partially new sets; others rearranged the material; and others used the same routine from earlier in the week.

At the end, Deacon Gray earned the winner's title, Erin Jackson took home $3,000 for second, and a third place tie occurred between Drake Witham and Jim McDonald.

Students were very impressed with Chuck Bartell, a comedian from Minneapolis. Three of my favorite bits he presents include a mood ring, telling a woman 'I love you' for the first time, and picking up hitch hikers. Hilarious!!

I was able to attend a reception for those who put together the festival, and more importantly, for those who performed. Robert Klein, a veteran comedian and actor who was on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" over 82 times, sat at our table. We shared some stories about Second City Comedy Club, limo rides, and improv guru Viola Spolin. Very funny man, and I am glad I had the opportunity to meet him.

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