“Young, Funny and Unbalanced”
by David Smithyman
of Kids ‘N Comedy (NYC),
teaches what every young comic
“I want to be a comedian!” is something no parent wants to hear, but something that many teenagers dream about. Who doesn’t want a life of comedy clubs full of people, lines around the corner and audiences laughing until they cry? But how can an adolescent comedian, playing to the back of the classroom, ever marshal the artistry to break into this world? David Smithyman’s new book, “Young, Funny and Unbalanced: a Stand-Up Comedy Guide for Teens,” has many answers!
People are used to thinking of comedians as unhappy folks who “don’t get no respect,” but it’s really quite the opposite. Smithyman, Emcee and Senior Instructor of “Kids ‘N Comedy” in New York City, encourages and stimulates teenagers to happier, healthier lives through this performance medium. His book explains–in terms that teens can understand–how stand-up is more than just griping and poking fun at people. The Kids ‘N Comedy method of comedy training, evolving since 1996, is an immersion experience in creative writing, ensemble building, critical thinking and self-revelation. Call it unconventional education for unconventional kids!
The book unfolds as a manual for young people on how to unleash the stand-up comic living inside themselves. It doesn’t include that lame “here’s a joke you can tell at your school bake sale.” Rather, it outlines methods for summoning material organically out of your soul, to help young people find a unique voice. It’s like Boleslavsky’s “Six Lessons of Dramatic Art,” with laughs. The book was conceived by Jo Ann Grossman and Karen Bergreen
With its funny and provocative methods of how to face yourself–this is the source of your best humor–the book aims to open teens and parents to a whole new perspective on stand-up comedy.
Author David Smithyman, having failed to fulfill his true potential as an Australian child actor, moved to New York City in 2004 to try his delicate, uncalloused hands at stand-up comedy. While at NYU, he studied joke writing under working writers whose credits included Seinfeld, The Simpsons and Late Night With Conan O’Brien. Emerging from NYU with a degree in Television Writing and an award in comedy writing, Smithyman continued to perform at clubs and bars around the city until his control issues kicked in and he began co-hosting and producing his own monthly comedy show, “We’re Nice People!,” in the Lower East Side. He’s now in his fourth year as Emcee, Producer and Senior Instructor of Kids ‘N Comedy. He also does an excellent Ian McKellen impression (but only if you ask him nicely.)