Category Archives: Solo Show Coaching

How to be a Really Funny Comedian, Part 2: Humor is Evolving

How to be a Really Funny Comedian, Part 2: Humor is Evolving

Funny-cat Humor is evolving, because culture is evolving. There is a continual stream of new cultural references and lexicon, new current social and political events, new media formats and uses, and shifts in social mores that change what we find funny.

Some comedians from the 1950s are still hilarious today, for example, Sid Caesar; and the ones who stand that test of time are worth studying. On the other hand, it's also interesting to look at the ones who didn't last and understand why they didn't. And thanks to the internet, we can actually watch comedy that didn't survive. It's like Jurassic Park.

ACTION: Do some contemplation: consider the reasons that made these extinct comics not so funny any more. Consider their cultural and political references. Decide whether you think that it is important for your comedy to stand the test of time and to be perhaps slightly more universal and have less cultural and stylistic preferences–or whether it is more important for you to feel really current and hip. It's a personal preference you'll need to be clear about more and more as you climb the comedy ladder.

STAY TUNED: more tantalizing comedy secrets tomorrow! Also check out these series of How To's

How to be a Comedian Parts OneTwoThreeFourFiveSix and Seven

So You Want to Write a One Person Show Parts OneTwoThreeFourFiveSix and Seven


Talking with Solo Performer and SuperGenius Ann Randolph

Talking with Solo Performer and SuperGenius Ann Randolph
Ann Randolph is a briliant and inspiring solo performer, comic actor, writer, and teacher in the theater world.  I first saw her show Squeezebox at The Marsh a couple of years ago and last year saw her new show, Loveland this last year. Her work is honest, imaginative, and quirky, with liberal doses of subversiveness and whimsy.  I've been working on a new book about solo performance and comedy and Ann was at the top of my list of people to interview.
Alicia: What event or desire brought you into the world of performance?
Ann: I think it was the first time I saw Carol Burnett.  I wanted to be her. I loved her sketches–they were more like mini one acts, and it was about the character and relationships and not the joke.  I started impersonating different family members and friends early on and got hooked on making others laugh.

Alicia: What is your favorite thing about doing this work?

Ann: The most favorite thing is being onstage and being alive in the moment where you and the audience feel as if you're going on this wild journey together.  I also love the self discovery process which happens in the writing process and the tremendous freedom of speaking truths that I sometimes hide in other characters.

Alicia: What is your development process?  Do you write a lot on stage, improvising? More on paper?

Ann: I do both. I get on my feet and improvise.  I record myself and take notes.  I also explore on the paper too.

Alicia: Who are some of your influences?

Chris Rock, Carol Burnett, Christopher Guest, Jane Lynch, John Waters, Lily Tomlin…

Alicia: Did you come to this art form directly, or was it a meandering path?

Ann: I knew early on that this is what I wanted to do, but I sure did meander a lot because I was afraid.

Alicia: Was commitment to the work ever a question? A challenge?  Do people try to make you choose or not understand what you're creating?

Ann: I was committed, but I had a serious discipline problem. It was hard for me to stay focused. Around age 30, I got fed up with myself and got much more focused.  Still working on being more disiplined.  And no, I don't have people trying to get me to write certain things.  I like to write about what I'm currently facing in my life- whether it be grief, loss, love etc.

Alicia: What other art forms influence you?

Ann: Music actually influences me more than other solo artists do.  I hear ideas, humor, themes, stories in music.  In particular, Astor Piazzola and Morricone.

Alicia: Why perform?  What does it offer?

Ann: Peforming is fantastic because you get to speak your truth and connect deeply with others.
Alicia: What suggestions do you give to aspiring comedic monologue performers?
Ann: Take as much stage time as possible.  I will work out material whenever I can and on any stage. It's the best teacher.

5 Ways to Deal with Professional Envy

5 Ways to Deal with Professional Envy

Elvis-presley Is someone else getting more attention than you and it's driving you crazy?

Sometimes it can be challenging to watch others finding success in your field while you struggle. Perhaps they started their career after you and are already enjoying compliments, getting great work, and appearing in the limelight.  It's interesting when, instead of feeling inspired, we feel envy or jealousy.  What a great opportunity for growth!  Particularly artists, who are often a 4 in the enneagram, are susceptible to jealousy.   I work coaching a lot of artists whose main block is comparing themselves to others.  And let me tell you: jealousy has not made any of my clients more talented, more brilliant, funnier, or smarter.  BUT…

Envy tells us several things:  

  1. It points to something we want.  Good to know what you want!
  2. It points to somewhere we can grow.  Good to know where you want to grow!
  3. It points to someone we can appreciate and admire.  Good to know exactly what you appreciate about them!
  4. It points to somewhere we can have compassion for ourselves for not being "perfect" already.  Great!
  5. It points to somewhere we have an attachment to things being other than exactly how they are and helps bring you back into the reality of your situation. Ahhh. 

So…  top five ways to deal with professional envy are:

  1. Write down what you want, based on what you're envious about.  Allow yourself to feel it.
  2. Write down where you'd like to grow.  Take an immediate action based on this.  Do something in the next five minutes that gets you closer to your goal. 
  3. Write down the qualities in them you admire, and then meditate for five minutes, feeling into how you already possess those qualities. 
  4. Meditate for another five minutes on compassion for yourself.
  5. Accept how you are right now.

5 Needs Your Creative Heart Demands in Order to Grow

5 Needs Your Creative Heart Demands in Order to Grow

Imgres There can be times in life when we get stuck, when old patterns begin to rear their heads.  It can creep up on us slowly, without us noticing.  We'll be zooming along, working, going to school, or raising a family, and it seems like we're really in the flow when one day we realize we have totally neglected our creativity, or disconnected from the source of our inspiration.  It's at this point when it's helpful to recognize that creativity needs several ingredients to grow.  When I was in grammar school, we planted a marigold every year in a cup.  We'd water them and leave them on the window sill, and nothing would happen, but one day, a bud would burst through the moist soil and almost overnight a flower would emerge.  That would be right about the time in May when Mother's Day falls, and we were told to bring the flower home in the little styrofoam (ugh) cup to our Mama.  

Well, creativity is just the same way.  And the world is our Mama.  The earth is our Mama.  It's just our job to tend to that little seed.  

Here are the top five ingredients you need to help get that creative seed germinating so you can write that screenplay, that solo show, play that album, or cook that masterpiece meal:

1. Soil.  You need a container, a solid ground to sprout from.  A foundation.  Make sure that today, you eat well, sleep well, and stay rooted.
2. Water. Water is the wet, moist carrier of new information.  Bring in new information, new ideas, new juicy things into your life to keep things flowing upward.
3. Sunshine.  Being in nature is a great way to connect with something greater than yourself to recharge your batteries and give you the oomph to expand.
4. Love.  Be kind to yourself.  Love and adore you are right now, with no need to change anything, and you will find that what flows from that place is infinitely more interesting.
5. Time. Be patient.  Give it all time to do its thing and you'll see your bud in no time.

Now go out and grow!


"Man (or woman) can live abou forty days without food, about three days without water, about three minutes without air.  But only for one second without hope."  -Anon

Half off an Initial Coaching Session through December 31!

Half off an Initial Coaching Session through December 31!

Free_woman Dear Friends and Colleagues,

You might know me mainly as a working comedian and solo performer.   However, for the past several years, I have also been enjoying life as a creativity coach, working with actors, writers, painters, comedians, and people who want to expand their creativity and joy into every facet of their lives.  I am deeply committed to the fulfillment of true self-expression, in my own life and in the lives of those around me.  

Specialties include:

-Creativity Coaching: Depth Work & Transformation of Creative Blocks into Creative Material

-Standup Comedy Coaching: Confidence and Presence on Stage

-Solo Show Coaching: Exploring Your Life Story through Performance

Transforming Habitual Behaviors into Creative Acts

Tools include: 

-Diamond Heart Approach Breath Work/Essence Work

-Guided Visualization/Journey Work

-Emotional Freedom Technique

-Body-Based Authenticity & Arete-Style Reflection

-Spiritual Grounding for Material Manifesting

-Humor & Playfulness


Experience includes:

-12 Years Training and Working Artist & Performer

-Focus, Time-Management, Organization, Accountability, & Integrity

-Branding, Marketing, Social Networking, & Training as a Visual Artist

-Transformational Courseleader Training with Arete Instructor Guy Sengstock

-4 Years of Method Acting & Diamond Heart Work

*Special Coaching Offer* Through Friday, 12/31 only, I'm offering a limited number of half-price coaching sessions to people who haven't worked with me before.  (I always offer a 20-30 minute consultation for free, but this offer is unprecedented.)  Coaching is normally $100-$75/hr sliding scale. You are welcome to come for a session for half price, or offer a donation of your choosing (completely your choice!).