There has been a 300% spike in the number of ads for online classes since India went into lockdown. Okay, fine, we made that number up but the point is—it sure feels like we’re bombarded with information about ways to make the most of our time inside. And while we don’t buy into the cult of productivity (there’s nothing wrong with spending your enforced downtime getting blazed and eating Ben & Jerry’s), it is true that there hasn’t been a better time to pick up a new skill since summer holidays in school.
That includes comedy skills. Whether you’re an amateur chutkule merchant looking to join the big leagues, or just an aspiring class clown, there’s a workshop out there to help you. We’ve compiled a list of five workshops—all happening this June—that are perfect for comedy amateurs.
1. Crash Burn Learn
A Beginner’s Standup Comedy Workshop with Aditi Mittal
Aditi Mittal is taking her popular comedy workshop ‘Crash, Burn, Learn’ to Zoom. And while that means you won’t be in the same physical space as her, Mittal promises you will walk away with two minutes of material that you can workshop. The course will be held over two days—four hours on each day—and will cover the basics of writing, editing and performing. With two Netflix specials under her belt and quite a few international tours to her name, Mittal has been working India’s comedy crowd for close to a decade, and stresses that good comedy is founded in crashing. And burning. And learning. The two-day workshop costs Rs 5, 500 plus taxes (Rs 6,490 total) and, according to student testimonials, it’s worth every rupee.
Send Aditi a DM if you’d like to register for one of the upcoming batches; registrations are capped at seven participants.
When: 13-14, 20-21, 27-28 June 2020
2. Once in a Lifetime
Standup Comedy Workshop by Jeeya Sethi
With a few slots still available, Jeeya Sethi will be conducting her recurring standup comedy workshop this June (on Zoom, yep. Where else?). Spread over five days, the workshop timings are 1PM to 3PM; Jeeya sent us a detailed breakdown of the six day course that covers everything from the dos and don’ts, writing, joke structure, punchline formulae, and even a final open mic performance (again, on Zoom).
To register, just drop Jeeya a message on Instagram or Twitter.
When: 22-26 June 2020
3. Comedy 101: Topical Comedy Writers Room for People of Colour
Comedy Writing Workshop led by Leila Navabi and Charlie Dinkin
You couldn’t have missed it; in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, widespread protests erupted all over the United States. However, in the wake of COVID19, activists are highlighting a multitude of ways to join the fight against systemic racial abuse, in case you’re unable to take to the streets. These include supporting black-owned businesses, signing email petitions, and using social media to show solidarity with the movement. And, in their own way, workshops like this one are trying to change the narrative around the entertainment industry built “on the oppression of people of colour.” Led by Leila Navabi, a prolific comedy writer who has written for Comedy Central and BBC among others, and Charlie Dinkin, a current comedy staff writer at BBC studios, this free workshop is for topical comedy enthusiasts and writers. In case this workshop is sold out by the time this story is published, you can sign up for other events organised by Seize The Means Of Production, “an open-access information sharing project from the next generation of TV, film and digital creators.” Here’s one that’s focused on the art of sketch-writing and this one for comedy creators looking to switch to online media.
When: 13 June, 2020 from 2:30PM – 7:30PM
4. Judd Apatow’s Masterclass
Comedy writing masterclass by Judd Apatow
“We need you to make comedy because life…sucks right now,” begins Judd Apatow in the course trailer for his Masterclass on writing comedy. And we really felt that. The award-winning writer, director, producer, comedian and creator of movies like Freaks and Geeks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Bridesmaids, his Masterclass is a breakdown of Apatow’s comedy-writing process. And there’s lots to be learned from that. There’s no start date, just sign up for a Masterclass membership (that costs Rs 1,300/month and is billed annually) and you’ll receive instant access to the 9+ hours of video lessons from Apatow to help you inch towards your dream of writing for the screen.
Check out the course here: https://www.masterclass.com/classes/judd-apatow-teaches-comedy
5. Improv Comedy Workshop for Beginners
Improv Workshop by Improv Comedy Mumbai
We’ve covered sketch, topical, screen and standup so we’re rounding out this list with an improv comedy workshop that’s specifically for beginners. Yes, and it will be conducted on Zoom by the Improv Comedy Mumbai group. If the thought of performing without a script (or any kind of experience, for that matter) gives you immediate anxiety, this one is for you! This one-day workshop will help you fight through feelings of nervousness or stage fright to discover skills you had no idea you possessed. Some of the things this workshop, priced at Rs 2,000, will focus on are the act of being present in a moment, playfulness and thinking on your feet. They reiterate that absolutely no prior theatre or performing experience is required for this one. This workshop will be held every Sunday this June and class sizes are limited to 12 people.
Follow this link to register for it.
When: 14, 21, 28 June 2020