- Associated Press - Thursday, March 22, 2018

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) - Louis Marocco, 80, Logansport, walked on stage and quietly approached the microphone.

“A man always wanted to go to Las Vegas, so he took his ‘97 Chevy and drove out,” he said. “After a short time, he came back in a $300,000 vehicle.

“It was a Greyhound bus.”

The bit was just one of the many jokes that Marocco has written through his participation in the Comedy Deli stand-up comedy workshop taking place at The State Theatre.

The class is now in its third week and runs every Saturday through the end of April. Toward its conclusion, students will participate in a stand-up competition, where the winner will be able to perform a 5-minute stand-up routine at Comedy Deli’s theater show on Saturday, April 28.

Comedy Deli’s Sean Shank is one of the course’s organizers and instructors. He said he has taught similar workshops in Indianapolis and around South Bend. But growing up in nearby Carroll County, Shank said this particular course, for him, is a labor of love.

“The reason I’m doing it in the Logansport area is because there’s never been anything like it here,” he said. “So if I can come home and provide this type of training for folks from where I grew up, I’m giving them an opportunity that I did not have.”

The workshop itself teaches the do’s and don’ts of comedy, Shank said, particularly when it pertains to stage presence, timing, how to hold a microphone and even the science of understanding the audience.

“People just don’t understand all that goes into it,” he said. “There is so much psychology that goes into a stand-up set, and it takes years of training. I wish this was a six-month course instead of a six-week course, and I wish we could spend four hours every Saturday instead of three. It takes that much work.”

But the course is worth all that hard work, the students said, even if they aren’t going to make comedy a full-time career.

Cass County YMCA Membership and Marketing Director Brandy Kizer, like Marocco, is participating in the comedy workshop because she thought it just sounded fun.

“I love stand-up comics,” she said, “and I thought I’d at least give it a shot and see how it goes.”

And after two classes, Kizer said the course has given her a better appreciation of how difficult performing comedy can actually be.

“You watch stand-up comics but then see elements of the craft and then think, ‘wow, this is really hard,’” she said. “They stand up there and look effortless, but it took a lot of work to get there.”

Perfecting the comedy routine is also about finding the humor in what some might think are mundane situations, Kizer said.

“You have to take something you might not be interested in or think is funny but still find the funny in it,” she said. “That was eye-opening for me. To do comedy, and do it well, you have to find the funny in anything. You have to constantly be looking for it everywhere.”

And if you can find the humor in any situation, Shank said, you can be a comedian without even realizing it.

Because comedy, he continued, really is universal.

“Here’s the thing,” Shank said. “There are three languages that speak to everyone in the world, and it doesn’t matter what language you speak. Love, laughter, and music. They transcend age. They transcend time. They transcend language barriers. They’re powerful, and there is something beautiful about that.”


Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune, http://bit.ly/2FRgtEG


Information from: Pharos-Tribune, http://www.pharostribune.com

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