Puma Press

Do you think you're funny?
Scottsdale's Comedy Spot offers stand-up comedy classes



Photo by David Kreienbrink
Sean Dillin, club manager of Comedy Spot in Scottsdale, prepares his students for a stand-up session by speaking to them 10 minutes prior to the start of class.

Do you think you’re funny? Do your friends or family tell you that you’re a natural? Do people say you should be a stand up?
If you’ve answered “ yes” to any of these questions, there’s good news for you . You can find an open mic night almost anywhere around the Phoenix valley. But for those of you not quite ready to make that leap, there’s a place where you can get your feet wet first and learn the tricks of the trade.

Every Sunday from noon- to-3 p.m.— at the Comedy Spot, 7117 east 3rd Ave., Scottsdale in Old Town— is the place to be if you’re looking to build your comedy chops. But be forewarned, classes can go past 3 o’clock on occasion due to a high number of students in attendance. For $100 a month you can join the class, which is taught by Dee Ann Kinkade, a professional stand-up comic as well as a writer and a producer. There is no start date, so you can enroll virtually any time you want.

Kinkade started doing stand-up at the famed Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd after reading an article about it in the Scottsdale Chronicle of Scottsdale Community College , where she taught . She would catch an airplane every Sunday morning to get to the Comedy Store, do her 10 minutes, then catch another airplane back to Phoenix all in the same day. In 1999 she started teaching stand-up, and in 2003 the Comedy Spot became her permanent home.

Of why she decided to teach stand-up comedy, she says, “ I understand that when a person goes up on stage, they can be frightened. They can be terrified, and that you cannot crush them. You have to nurture them and bring them along gently.”
That doesn’t mean though that you won’t get criticized, because you will. Part of what your $100 gets you is 10 minutes of stage time, free of the pressure of pleasing an audience looking for laughs. Think of this class as a comedy safety zone where no one will boo or heckle you, and you’ll be given positive feedback and encouragement on what works and what doesn’t. The first five minutes is where you get to try your material, followed by the second five minutes, which is used as a way for the teacher and the class to give their options on what gets laughs and throw ideas at you about what you could do to get laughs with some of your raw material.

“Self confidence is really being willing to risk to fail,” says Kinkade. “People who won’t try aren’t confident. If your confident, you’re willing to get up there and fail, and fail and fail until you succeed. That’s self-confidence. And eventually you’ll succeed.”

Each week covers a new lesson, whether it’s finding your comic point of view or going over material that you once thought unsalvageable. And don’t think that this class is for beginners only. No, this class has something for everyone, even those who’ve been doing stand up on their own for a while.

The class is not a one-month stand up comedy factory. The students in this class range anywhere from people attending for the first time to those who have been attending for upwards of 18 months. But those who’ve stuck with the program thus far have nothing but positive things to say.

“(Kinkade) focuses on the mechanics of comedy. (Which) gives you the confidence to do it, ” s ays Gene Moore an 18-month veteran of the class, who still continues with the class as well as doing shows around the Valley.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without (comedy classes). I would have no clue how to do any of it,” says James Lloyd , a six-month veteran himself and aspiring voice actor.

Can anyone do comedy?

Kinkade thinks about this for a moment.

“Almost anyone can do it,” she says. “With enough moxy, and enough determination, you can learn how to use the comedy toolbox.”

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