Comedy class teaches the art of stand up

By Costa Maragos Posted: November 28, 2016 3:00 p.m.

Comedy Gold students with instructor Julianna Barclay take a break from class to pose for us. The students are putting on a show Wednesday, November 30, 8 pm at the Shu Box Theatre and you’re invited.
Comedy Gold students with instructor Julianna Barclay take a break from class to pose for us. The students are putting on a show Wednesday, November 30, 8 pm at the Shu Box Theatre and you’re invited. Photo - External Relations

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Comedy Gold, where students are studying and practicing the art of stand-up comedy. It’s the one class on campus where being funny can get you top marks.  

The second year class (THEA 215), the first of its kind at the U of R, is being offered through the Theatre Department in the faculty of Media, Art, and Performance and taught by Julianna Barclay.
“I am pretty passionate about stand-up. So to be able to teach a like-minded group of people has been an extremely joyous experience for me,” says Barclay who is an actor, writer, comedian and a proud graduate of the U of R.

As an actor Barclay has performed extensively in regional theatres across Canada. From 1995 to 2004 she was an artistic associate with the acclaimed Catalyst Theatre in Edmonton.

In Toronto she studied stand-up with the renowned Dawn Whitwell at the Comedy Bar and went on to hone her joke-writing skills in an extensive web series course at Centennial College.  

“I am so proud of my students. Not only are they able to craft a well made joke, but they now have the confidence to perform a three to five minute set in front of a live audience,” says Barclay. “I am hoping that the students now realize that stand-up can be much more than telling jokes on stage. A comedian with a unique point of view can bring about positive change to the world at large.”

The students are putting on a show and you’re invited. Come to the Shu Box Theatre, Wednesday, November 30 at 8 pm.

Let’s meet two of the students who will be performing.

Samara Stearns

Samara Stearns is a third-year student in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies and cast member of Hitchhikers Improv Company in Regina.

Samara Stearns

Samara Stearns in action. Photo - External Relations

"I actually started to do a little bit of stand-up comedy at open mic nights in the summer and one of the guys who did open mics came up to me and said “there’s actually a (comedy) class at the University this year.” So I ended up dropping one of the classes I was going to take and felt “I need to take this one.”

"I’ve learned so much about structural jokes and different laugh triggers. I’ve learned a lot."

Funny in front of people

"Just going up there and like, what if they don’t laugh? You go up there and you’re putting yourself on the line and if they don’t laugh you get a little bit nervous, but you have to just keep going and not let it throw you off."

Learning to be funny

"I say go for it. It helps in a lot of different areas like public speaking and even just confidence. Even if you feel that you’re not that funny you should just come out and try it and you’ll learn how to be funny."

"It’s kind of rewarding. If people actually laugh at your jokes, you feel like “okay I am funny.” You go home and you feel good about yourself. That’s if people actually laugh at your jokes."

Daniel Foutz

Daniel Foutz is a first-year film student and the author of “Someday Now Forever,” the misguided romantic memoir of a guy who travels the world trying to find something that won't disappear on him.

Daniel Foutz

Daniel Foutz in action. Photo - External Relations

"This is my favourite class by far. Your whole goal is just to make people laugh and laugh with other people. It’s a lot more fun than writing reports. I was always the kid in school who was trying to make my classmates laugh in class. This class is about being that guy. The reward is you get that snarky little feeling when you’ve made someone smirk and you’re getting an A for it. It’s perfect."

Learning to be comfortable in front of others

"We study other comedians. We learn about how they structure their jokes so we’re not stepping on our punch lines. Part of it is becoming comfortable telling your own jokes. It’s kind of an intimidating idea, especially if you haven’t done it before. That’s a big part of what it is. Just doing it and practicing it in a safe space. The class has made me feel really comfortable in front of these people. It doesn’t feel intimidating like getting in front of like an open mic in a bar or something like that." 

"If you can get in front of people who are expecting you to be funny and not crack under the pressure, then you can get in front of people with the intention of doing a lot of other things. It’s a nerve-wracking thing, but if you can train your brain to do that in front of an audience I think you will be better in front of an audience in general." 

Event:         Comedy Gold
Location:    Shu Box Theatre
Date:          Wednesday, November 30
Time:          8 pm
Admission: No charge but we encourage you to come with an open mind.