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Meet Steve. He’s one of the most accomplished comedians of all time, an acclaimed writer, actor, and musician. And now, he’s your instructor.
Getting Started in Comedy
No talent? No problem. Steve shares some ways that anyone can jumpstart their comedic journey. He didn’t let a lack of talent slow him down and thinks you shouldn’t either.
Inspiration is all around you if you know where to look. Steve teaches you how to keep your eyes open and reveals some of the most abundant sources of comedic material.
Finding Your Comedic Voice
Figuring out what you have to say can be one of the most daunting tasks a comedian faces. Steve provides some effective techniques for identifying your own unique voice and channeling it into comedy.
Developing a Comedic Persona
It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Steve explains how his own stage persona emerged and teaches you how to cultivate one that will take your material to the next level.
Jokes and Bits
There are a million ways to get someone to laugh. Steve refutes the myth that you need a punchline to be funny and analyzes a number of joke structures that you can use to keep them in stitches.
The difference is in the delivery. Steve offers techniques for pacing, physicality, and timing to help you hone those jokes you’ve written for the stage.
Crafting Your Act
So you’ve got some jokes – now what? Steve reveals how you can turn your material into a stageworthy act.
Student Session: Workshopping Nalini’s First Stand-Up Act
Steve sits down with a group of young comedians and gives Nalini hands-on guidance in the development of her very first stand up bit.
Student Session: Workshopping Tim’s Act
Steve examines one of Tim’s bits and illustrates how he can heighten the comedy, connect with the audience, and streamline his performance.
Opening and Closing Your Act
A strong opening and closing are the keys to a memorable act. Steve talks about the importance of these moments and shows you how to use them to your advantage.
Profanity and Morality
Steve discusses the questions that face every comedian when it comes to vulgarity and political correctness.
Growing as a Performer
Excellence in comedy requires practice just like everything else. Steve examines how to learn from your mistakes, refine your material, and ensure that you are ready to take the next step.
Nerves, Hecklers, and Bombing
Even Steve Martin has a bad show every now and then. But with his help, you can learn how to avoid common pitfalls, manage your stage fright, and make the most out of bombing.
A Life In the Arts
Failure, rivalry, bad reviews: being a comedian is hard. Steve teaches you how to roll with the punches and advocates for a life of being in the arts.
Steve shares the processes he’s used to create some of his most memorable characters and bring them to life on screen, based on his experience acting in over 50 films from Father of the Bride to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Steve doesn’t let writer’s block trip him up, and neither should you. He reveals the storytelling exercises he’s employed to write classics like The Jerk and Bowfinger.
Screenwriting Case Study: Roxanne
Steve discusses his experience writing Roxanne, the inspirations behind some of its funniest scenes, and how he adapted a 19th century play into what became one of his most beloved films.
Steve believes that editing is one of a comedian’s most powerful tools. In these lessons, he breaks down his own editing processes and illustrates how it can turn something good into something great.
With particular emphasis on the life of a written piece once it’s in the hands of actors and directors, Steve continues discussing his editing practices. He then puts his critical eye into action to analyze Beth’s sketch.
Writing Case Study: Meteor Shower
Steve uses his play, Meteor Shower, as a teaching tool to explain efficient writing, smart exposition, and practical character development.
Steve’s Comedic Inspirations
Steve became the best by observing the best. Learn about the comedy legends that inspired him to pursue his passion and the impact they had on his craft.
Learn how Steve’s love of performing took him from a childhood magic act to selling out arenas. And how he has now, finally, learned to relax.
Steve concludes his class by offering some parting advice and words of inspiration.
Bonus Case Study: Speeches
Featuring exclusive footage of a tribute to Tom Hanks at the Museum of Modern Art, Steve dissects some of his favorite speaking engagements and shares his process for delivering comedy gold in speeches.