British Columbia

Can comedy be taught? Cohort of stand-up comedy grads hopes so

David Granirer is the instructor of a course at Langara College that teaches how to be a stand-up comedian.

Graduates from a course on how to be a stand-up comedian will test their skills Monday night

The Langara College grad showcase is Monday, July 8 at 8 p.m. PT at Yuk Yuk's comedy club. (Shutterstock / Fer Gregory)

Are you born funny or can humour be something you learn? 

The theory will be tested Monday night as the most recent graduates from Vancouver's Langara College's stand-up comedy course take the stage at Yuk Yuk's.

David Granirer, the course's instructor, says stand-up comedy is "absolutely" something that can be learned in the classroom.

"There are techniques and formulas," Granirer said, adding the collaborative classroom setting is excellent for workshopping material and figuring out what works.

And although Granirer says he gets a fair share of "loudmouth obnoxious class clowns" attending his course, some of his students are shy and withdrawn and are using stand-up comedy to build their confidence or reframe their past experiences in a more positive light. 

Claire Queree, who'll be performing at the student showcase, says some of her material focuses on an ill-fated relationship and her recent experience of suffering from a concussion. 

Listen to the interview on CBC's The Early Edition:

"It's actually been very healing to reframe it in a comedic sense," Queree said. "It's been a process of learning to be vulnerable and share some of that, and it's funny, the more personal you're willing to go, the more funny things tend to be."

Granirer, who is also a counsellor, says turning tragedy into comedy forces a cognitive shift.

"When you talk about it, it's just so healing and freeing to just let your stuff hang out and have an audience laugh and applaud and tell you how great you are."

The Langara College grad showcase is Monday, July 8 at 8 p.m. at Yuk Yuk's comedy club.


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