Tell us a bit about Camp Kids ‘n Comedy. What does a typical two-week session look like?
Each day the campers get a mix of training in stand-up comedy, improv, and sketch comedy acting. They write and develop their own material with our teachers. It’s great training for kids to get up in front of an audience and to learn to use their sense of humor.
The second-to-last day, we bring in someone from the industry, an agent or a casting director, to watch the kids’ sketch comedy scenes. It gives them a chance to audition their material for a professional. Then we do a Q & A with the agent where the campers can ask anything about the entertainment business.
Each session ends with a graduation show for friends and family. It’s a great final experience—we get to see how the kids feel the power in making an audience laugh.
Who are your teachers? What’s their background?
We look for people with serious acting and comedy writing experience. They’re mostly young comedians who perform in clubs throughout the city, and many of them write comedy for television.
It sounds like you also have a great internship program.
Our interns are teens 16 and up taken from our Kids ‘n Comedy troupe, which performs monthly at Gotham Comedy Club. Most of them have been with our program for years; they’ve taken our classes and attended the camp themselves, so they understand what we do and how to develop comedy writing.
What kind of camper would most enjoy Kids ‘n Comedy?
Funny, quirky kids who love comedy. No previous experience with performing is necessary. It’s helpful if they have a desire to be onstage, but they don’t have to know coming in what specific interests they want to pursue.
What is your goal for each camper—what do you hope they get out of Kids ‘n Comedy?
We see kids’ self-esteem really develop through this program, and afterword they’re far more comfortable getting up in front of an audience or in front of their class. They find their classmates look at them differently; they respect them for being able to get up there and perform stand-up comedy.
And, of course, the kids make new friends. They spend two weeks with like-minded people who share similar interests and activities.
What’s this year’s schedule for Camp Kids ‘n Comedy?
We offer three sessions. Each session runs for 2 weeks—Monday through Friday, from 12 to 4pm. This year, Session 1 runs from July 10 to 21, Session 2 from July 24 to August 4, and Session 3 from August 7 to 18.
All the sessions are similar, but kids often take more than one to develop more material.
What’s the cost of the program?
It’s $1,225 per session. We offer a $50 discount for each session after the first, and the same discount if they bring a sibling or a friend. We do have some partial need-based scholarships, so parents can contact us about those.
What else should parents know about registering?
We accept kids right up to the first day of camp, and we usually book almost all our slots, but the second session usually fills up last. If we have many more than our required 13-camper minimum, we start a wait list and might add a group to the session.
We do require a telephone interview with a parent for all campers, and for kids who are 10 years old, we ask for an in-person meeting.
Will we be seeing any Kids ‘n Comedy grads headlining their own Comedy Central special?
There are a number of working actors, comedians and writers who have been in our program, though no one famous—yet!
But even if comedy isn’t a career-choice for our campers, Kids ‘n Comedy gives them a great, unique writing experience that will serve them well in college—and a great group of friends.