Comedy school is in session

Provided

School is back in session—well, comedy school that is. Off Mic Comedy School is Philly’s first-ever all virtual comedy school, and everyone, whether a pro or an amateur, is invited out to join in and sign up to improve their skills and learn other tips and tricks as an inside peek into the world of comedy. 

With everything being offered on the virtual format, Off Mic is able to provide students with access to an abundant amount of information, all while keeping social distancing in force. Each class is led by different local comics, but the classroom can be extended to aspiring or seasoned comedians from anywhere if they wish to join in. Classes and course material all range as well from stand-up, to hosting and crowd work, to producing and promoting a comedy show. One on one mentorships are also available as well. 

According to a release, each course features small group instruction on Zoom, a class graduation show open to friends and family, access to a weekly open mic for further refining material, and free passes to Fools for Good shows (a virtual stand-up comedy series benefiting local causes). 

The school was created by Christine Ann Olivas, and as informative as this school strives to be, the curriculum is also meant to be “empowering, transparent, fair, useful, affordable, and fun.” Course subscriptions range from Stand-Up 101 ( an 8-week course led by Che Guerrero or Jake Mattera, $215),  Stand-up 201 (a 6-week course led by LaTice or Dan Vetrano, $305), Hosting/Crowd Work ( a 4-week class led by Dan Vetrano, $155),  1-on-1 Mentorship (Three sessions with an in-demand local comic, $295) Producing & Promoting a Comedy Show ( a 3-hour workshop led by Sam Kap, Head of Marketing and Enrollment, Christine Ann Olivas ,Founde), and Paul E. Reese Head of Technology, $155). Courses begin October 1st and will run through early December, with some scholarship opportunities also available.

One of Off Mic’s instructors, LaTice Mitchell-Klapa gave Metro the scoop on what to expect from her comedy class with the new virtual school.

LaTice Mitchell-KlapaProvided

How did you first get involved with comedy?

I first got involved with comedy in December of 2008. I went to a comedy show in Atlantic City and after the show, [I] met a Philly comedian named Coleman Green. He later became one of my mentors and a dear friend. In regular conversation, he remarked how funny I was and that I should try an open mic. I had no idea what he was talking about, [but] he explained that he would take me to the mic, and I should start writing material for a five-minute set. Again, I had no idea what he was talking about. Long story short, I started writing the wild funny thoughts that would pop in my mind, and in January of 2009, he kept his promise of the open mic. He showed me how to sign up and just wait [until] they called my name; I stepped on stage and it was one of the most surreal moments in my life thus far. I couldn’t believe people were laughing at things I wrote, it was the best high ever. I continued every Wednesday going to the mic, [and] got word from the same friend that the owner wanted to know if I was interested in doing a guest spot at his larger club in Doylestown, PA. Apparently, he had heard about me and I couldn’t believe it. So my first live show was an exact month from doing my first open mic on February 14th, on a Saturday Valentine’s night to a sold out crowd. I haven’t looked back yet.

What intrigued you about Off Mic Comedy School that made you want to become a part of it? 

What intrigued me about Off Mic Comedy School that made me want to be a part of it was the fact that comedians that I’ve worked stages with put this virtual concept into action and that it’s a school by comedians, for comedians. As a working comedian, I feel I can help any student reach their best potential, having been a beginner myself. I’m able to fully execute what has worked for me personally.

What would you tell people to expect? 

What I would tell people to expect is fun and hard work. My classes are 100% writing and performing. Being open-minded and willing to learn, is an important factor of success. 

Why is comedy and a school like this important? 

Comedy and a school like this is so important because everyone needs an outlet for and of laughter. I always say, laughter heals. Comedy can sometimes be a great way of therapy. We all want to be heard and bringing laughter with your own message and/or persona is vital.

What is something unique about your class or what you offer? 

Something unique about my class is that I believe everyone is funny in their own way and that my job as your instructor is to help you structure your jokes. Along with helping your timing and delivery. You will learn that each set should tell a story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Is there anything else that you want people to know? 

I would also love for people to know that just like at Planet Fitness, my classes are  “no judgement” zones. You are an individual and I treat each and every person as such. I look forward to every encounter I have with my students and learning about what will help them flourish as a stand up comedian.

To learn more about Off Mic, visit offmiccomedyschool.com

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