Stanhope: All comedy courses are scams

...and those who run them 'parasites'

Doug Stanhope has condemned comedy courses ‘raging scams’ run by people who ‘prey off the innocent delusions of the incapable’.

In a furious 4,000-word tirade on his website, the American comic brands anyone who runs classes as a ‘loathsome’ con merchant and a ‘contemptible parasite’ for selling the idea there is a short-cut to comedy success.

He wrote: ‘One thing though that I’ve hated since even my youngest, hope-filled days as a comic – worse than bad comedy, hack comedy or even joke thieves – are people who teach stand-up comedy classes.

‘They are all 100 per cent bullshit. It wouldn't matter if it were Pryor, Carlin and Mark Twain at the podium at the Holiday Inn banquet room, it would be them ripping you off.

‘Usually it works out that the folk who teach this shit never did any comedy on any actual paid level and act like fly strips for those whose dreams outweigh any innate scepticism. These people are loathsome enough but don’t create much damage. Then there are people equally as worthless but with better “marketing” skills that can make a career out of it.’

He singled Kyle Cease for special vitriol, branding him a ‘rotten, soul-plundering asshole’ for running £2,000-a-head courses called ‘Stand-Up Boot Camp’ which claim to help participants master the art over an intensive five-day period.

Stanhope raged: ‘Just the idea of him saying that you can master stand-up in five days makes me want to kill his innocent family in front of him on Day 2. Make that funny, you slice of shit cancer.’

He said the course was ‘a complete waste of time, money and probably more damaging to your chances of being a successful comedian than cutting out your own tongue’.

Stanhope said the ‘worst breed’ was ‘the industry guy who has NEVER done comedy teaching you from an "Insider's Perspective."… [but] just because you've produced comedy doesn't mean you have skill to even critique it much less sell yourself as a coach. You might as well get financial advice from the brick-layer who built the bank.’

The abrasive comic said any advice in comedy was of limited use – but that there were plenty of comedians willing to give it for free if newcomers needed it.

‘If you want advice, you most likely just want someone to reassure you of what you already know,’ he wrote. ‘If they tell you otherwise, you'll either discount it, or you'll take their advice and no longer be following the instincts that got you in this to begin with. So either way, you didn't need the advice.

‘But if you really want the advice anyway, you can get it very easily for free without going far out of your way. If there’s one thing that you never have to pay for, it’s some other jerk-offs opinion. You'll get the same advice from the comic at the bar after a gig in your local comedy club or on any comedians’ forum or any stand-up comedian message board, etc etc. And it will be free and worth just as much.

‘You learn everything from experience. You could get a doctorate in listening to someone else's road and not get shit from it. I'm grumpy and caustic and miserable all around and my advice isn't worth a sack of rat-shit either. But I know a raging scam and dream-profiteering when I see it.

‘I don't condemn someone for making a living... But I am whole-heartedly against people who prey off the innocent delusions of the incapable. You contemptible parasites. Fuck you.’

Click here to read the full missive.

Published: 13 Jul 2010

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