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Stand up for comedy

Take the Sarcasm Comedy Club’s beginners comedy class … please. OK, well Henny Youngman’s oft quoted “Take my wife…please” joke doesn’t really apply in this instance (well maybe it does if you really think about it), but for anyone who has ever fostered a desire to try their hand at standup comedy, maybe this course is for you.

I’ve always been fascinated with standup comedy. One of the earliest memories of standup I have is when Comedy Central debuted in the early ‘90s Jersey and I caught The Amazing Jonathan special (Lounge Lizards anyone) and became infatuated. People could actually do this for a living? Be filthy on stage, make fun of customers who bought tickets and still be beloved?

Sign me up.

The Sarcasm Comedy Club is one of the best-kept secrets in South Jersey. Housed in the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, the club has some of the top headlining comics in the world, including Gilbert Gottfried, who performed at the club in late 2011.

The club also hosts popular local legends such as Philadephia Flyers great Dave “The Hammer” Schultz and wrestling legend turned standup comic King Kong Bundy.

The man behind club?

You wouldn’t necessarily relate him to the comic game, but he’s got the chops to stand up with the best of them.

Steve Trevelise, current radio personality on both 94.1 WIP and NJ 101.5 FM, owns and operates Sarcasm, using his decades of comedic experience to turn the club into a premier site for comics in South Jersey.

“I love comedy and Cherry Hill is really a great location for a club. I’ve been on the radio in Philly forever. I started doing comedy back in the ‘80s and I would do updates on the Howard Stern show when he was on WYSP,” Trevelise said. “I started getting into the comedy business – and I hosted shows at Comedy Works. This is during the comedy boom during the ‘80s. I even brought Bill Hicks on stage when we performed at The Funny Bone.”

In 2004, Trevelise participated in “Catch a Rising Star” at the Princeton Hyatt and impressed the brass so much that he was offered the role of house emcee just several weeks later. It was here, he said, where he learned the inner workings of a comedy club and the idea to open his own comedy club began to grow.

Besides, when you perform 250 comedy dates a year, you tend to pick up on what makes a successful club and what doesn’t.

“I was there every week, I had tons of stage time and simply through doing that, I became general manager. I learned the inner workings of a comedy club,” he said. “I was doing 250 shows a year. That’s a lot of stage time. The next natural progression was to open my own club. It’s the perfect size, it’s big enough to get the big acts and it’s a great area.”

Now, Trevelise wants to share his comedic experience with interested “stand ups” in South Jersey. Sarcasm will be offering a “Sarcasm Comedy Class” beginning on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m.

The four-week class will teach prospective comedians how to craft material, write a set, deliver jokes, deal with hecklers and market themselves as comedians.

The class will culminate with each student performing during a Sarcasm Comedy Club show on Saturday, Feb. 11.

“It teaches you how to find your funny. We find what’s inside of you, what your views are and how you look at the world. There are so many things in your life that are funny that you don’t even know about. We work with you, find what’s most comfortable, and we find what’s inside of you that’s not inside of anyone else and we bring it to the surface,” he said. “Crowds and fans can sense the honesty in you. That’s how other people will buy into it. Crowds can sense that. There’s no better high than being on the comedy stage and having the room go crazy.”

The class isn’t just useful for those interested in a stand up career, Trevelise said. Comedians know how to handle a room, they know how to project themselves and immediately become the focal point of a conversation, he said.

“A sense of humor is one of the most valuable assets you can have in what you do. In work, public speaking, sales, a sense of humor can take you a long way. We have attorneys that take our course. It helps them better address the juries. We have a lot of sales people that take the class and better learn how to think on their feet,” he said. “You can control a room with comedy. A guy that walks into a room and starts cracking jokes – they get the attention. There are so many things out there that can scare you. The bully is not going to bully a guy that can humiliate them in front of a crowd. If you cut the bully to the core comically, you become king of the hill. I’d love to teach kids comedy … how to have fun with it.”

For $300, the four-week class will teach you all of these traits, provide you a DVD copy of your final performance and give you a professional 8-by-10 headshot for your future career in comedy.

Want to sign up? Have questions? Either visit the Sarcasm Comedy Club at www.sarcasmcomedy.com or call at (856) 382-6253.

Don’t want to take the class yourself? Read my week-by-week running series of the class and check out my final performance after Feb. 11.

About Robert Linnehan

I wandered into this building three years ago and they gave me a job. America...What a country.View all posts by Robert Linnehan