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Performing Arts

Shaina Lubliner, ‘20: Stand-Up Comedy with The Second City

Project Date:
Project Date: Summer 2020

With the support of the Benenson, I took levels one and two of The Second City's Stand-Up Comedy training series.

About the Project

Funding from the Benenson Award allowed me to take levels one and two of The Second City’s Stand-Up Comedy series. Both courses met on Zoom, and my classmates were located all over the globe.

Each week of level one, we learned about different styles of stand-up, from storytelling, to observational humor, to one-liners and characters. Then we had to write 2-3 minutes of material in that style for the following week, where we presented and got feedback.

The course concluded with an online Zoom performance where each person presented their “tight 5” minute set for our family and friends. In level two, we have been honing our individual voices and styles. Each week we bring in a new “tight 5” to get feedback on and we are really being pushed to find what makes our stand-up unique, with more challenging prompts and writing exercises.

This course will also end with a Zoom performance. It has been amazing to connect with the incredibly talented teachers and students from The Second City while staying at home. Being a part of The Second City Training Center community has provided me with a multitude of opportunities to network with other comedians and perform at open mics. It has also been a really unique challenge to figure out how to present comedy over online platforms, so it is wonderful to have a supportive group of people to try new things with.

Reflecting on Art Amidst Covid-19

Support from the Benenson has been essential for engaging with my art practice during COVID-19. Knowing I had class every week made me motivated to write new material, and getting feedback from my classmates really helped elevate my ideas. Navigating my assignments for class along with my other commitments during COVID-19 helped me uncover a daily writing practice that was intentional, whereas before I would just write whenever I felt like it.

I am not sure I would have had the confidence to try an online open mic without taking these online classes through the Benenson. Additionally, talking with the other Benenson artists about their projects and the challenges they were facing due to these unprecedented times helped me feel less discouraged during times when it was really hard to try and do my art practice. Knowing other people were in the same boat as me helped me manage all the emotions of trying to be an artist during a time when the arts were anything but normal.

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