Unleash your inner comic at Zanies

By on April 30, 2009

Try a stand-up class, but don’t quit your day job
by Lynn Meredith
Even lying on the road on the verge of death after a serious car accident, with a broken sternum and jaw, Dobie Maxwell, known as “Mr. Lucky,” was able to ask himself, “What’s funny about this?” In stand-up comedy classes at Zanies in Pheasant Run, the comedian helps students ask themselves that same question.

While Maxwell doesn’t believe comedy can be taught, he does believe that with practice and preparation, a performer can get better.

“Just like nobody thinks they’re a bad driver, nobody thinks they’re not funny. (The class) is not a diesel truck driving school. Comedy is a very gray area. But usually there’s a little scoop of potato to work with,” Maxwell said.

Comedy is a gift in the same way musical talent is a gift; you can see and hear when someone has talent. Like music, it’s all about rhythm, he said.

“You can teach people to find the rhythm unique to themselves. You can find the rhythms of well-known comics and almost imitate it without words. Think of Cosby and his sound,” Maxwell said.

Comedians see things in a different way. Maxwell said that most comics don’t take their premise far enough to get the most from the humor. He has his students reveal one thing about themselves and then come up with not one but three jokes about it.

Comedy is not just a class; it’s a way of life and one that can become a positive addiction.

“I’ve been doing it for 25 years and I’m just scratching the surface. It’s a cruel business. Most comedians are dented cans. We need that stage and we need that laughter,” Maxwell said. “More people need to laugh now more than ever.”