Local college delivers on stand-up comedy class

Local college delivers on stand-up comedy class
Lynn Olszowy
Created: 4/4/2008 3:05:25 PM
Updated:4/7/2008 12:26:17 PM
PARMA -- During most college lectures, students would be reprimanded for interrupting the professor and cracking inappropriate or even vulgar jokes.

But in J.D. Sidley's stand-up comedy class, doing that gets you an "A."

The Stand-Up Comedy Experience began in February as a non-credit, continuing education class at the Cuyahoga Community College's Western Campus. It was the first time the class was offered.

Eight weeks and many laughs later, the comedy class will graduate a class of 12 students.

One of those students is Mary Urban, who has had the lifelong dream of doing stand-up comedy.

Urban says the class has been a "faith journey" for her.

"There was an ad talking about this class, and I'm like, 'Wow, this must be a sign from God that I'm supposed to attend this class,'" she said. "I was really, really nervous the first night because I didn't know what to expect."

Sidley teaches the comedy class and says apprehension is a feeling most of his students have in the beginning.

"The first week they come and they all just look at each other and they're all sort of shy thinking, 'Who are these crazy people in this class?'" Sidley said.

The class has a mix of personalities, ages and professions. There's a construction worker, college professor and an accountant with an unusual trait.

"I'm not even a really good accountant," Urban says in her act. "I can't balance my checkbook."

At each class, the students have worked on refining a five-minute comedy routine with the help of Sidley, a part-time comedian.

"I can't teach someone how to be funny, but I can teach them how to be funnier," Sidley said. "I can teach them the techniques and the tools they'll need to perform on stage to take that funniness and make it work with an audience."

The students will test their skills at a comedy show on Saturday in the West Galleria at 11000 Pleasant Valley Road in Parma.

The show starts at 8 p.m. and admission is free.

Tri-C will be offering another stand-up comedy class this fall.


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