Frequently Asked Questions
Stand Up Comedy FAQs
1. What is the tuition for the course?
The three-week and five-day workshops are $450
For returning student the tuition is $380
For One Year alumni tuition is $350
2. What does the three-week workshop consist of?
*Meeting 1: Orientation Class 6-8:30pm (Usually held on a Tuesday evening).
Stephen Rosenfield outlines the goals of the workshop. He defines and explains the various forms of standup comedy and presents the fundamental techniques of writing and performing standup. He concludes the class by assigning a writing exercise designed to get your comedy juices flowing.
Meeting 2: Class 6-8:pm (Usually either Tuesday or Thursday evening)
Students present their material and receive the instructor’s feedback about their writing and performing.
Meeting 3: One-on-one forty minute private session with Stephen (Scheduled weekdays).
Together, you and Stephen work on transforming your comic ideas into tight and funny standup comedy material. You will also receive private coaching on your performance.
Meeting 4: Class 6-8pm (Usually Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evening).
Students bring in the material they have worked on with their instructor as well as new material on topics of their own choosing. They receive feedback on their writing and performing.
Meeting 5: One-on-one 40 minute private session with your instructor. (Scheduled weekdays).
You continue to work with your instructor on punching up and tightening your material. At the end of this session, you and your instructor decide which material you want to perform at the show, and the order in which the material should be placed.
Meeting 6: Class 6-8:30pm (Usually Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday evening).
Students present the set they are planning to perform at the club. They receive feedback from the instructor on their writing and performing.
Meeting 7: Rehearsal and Performance at Gotham Comedy Club. (Usually Saturday or Sunday)
After an onstage rehearsal at the club, you will perform your set at Gotham Comedy Club.
*Meeting 8: : Screening and Business of Comedy Lecture- 6-8pm (Usually held on the Tuesday after the Performance).
Students view the video of their performance. Stephen talks about the business of comedy – how to continue to improve your work and how to make comedy your career.
*Videos of the lectures can be sent via email if you cannot attend the class.
3. How does the five-day workshop work?
The same number of meetings in the three week workshop are scheduled over the course of five days.
*Meeting 1 (Tuesday afternoon): Screening of Steve’s Orientation Lecture (12-2pm)
Meeting 2 (Tuesday evening): Class 6-8pm (6-8pm)
Meeting 3: (Wednesday afternoon) First Private Writing Session (you choose available time slot between 12:30pm and 5pm)
Meeting 4: (Wednesday evening) Class 6-8pm
Meeting 5: (Thursday afternoon) Second private writing session. (Thursday afternoon between 12:30 and 5pm, you choose available time slot)
Meeting 6: (Thursday evening) Class 6-8:30pm (6-8:30pm)
*Meeting 7: (Friday afternoon) Screening of Steve’s Lecture on the Business of Comedy (Friday, 12-2pm)
Meeting 8: Rehearsal and Performance at Gotham Comedy Club
*Videos of the lectures can be sent via email if you cannot attend the class
4. Where are the classes held?
The evening classes and daytime private writing sessions are all held at the ACI office located in The New Yorker Hotel, at 481 8th Avenue, Suite 548, between 34th and 35th Streets in Manhattan.
5. How Do I Sign Up?
There are several ways to sign up for the workshop. You can call the office at (212) 279-6980 or you can register by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also fill out this form and an ACI team member will reach out to you. The classes fill quickly, so don’t wait too long!
6. What if I can’t get out of work during the day to attend my private writing sessions?
Many people have their private writing sessions either over the phone or via Skype. You email or fax your material to the office. Then, your private writing session with your instructor is conducted over the phone or by Skype, during your lunch break, or any other convenient time for you.
7. What if I can’t make the Orientation Class?
No problem. We have the video of the orientation class in our office and you are welcome to come in and watch it. Or, we can email it to you.
8. What if I live out of town or what if I can’t do the entire three weeks?
It is possible to do the entire program in as few as five days. We can schedule your eight meetings to accommodate your availability.
9. Do you provide housing for out of town students?
The American Comedy Institute’s office is located at the New Yorker Hotel, a moderately priced hotel in mid-town Manhattan. Many of our students opt to stay at the New Yorker. Whatever your budget and needs are we can help you find a place to stay. To view a list of other hotel options, click here.
10. Is there an age requirement or limit?
Absolutely not. People of all ages take the workshop. The youngest was six years of age and the oldest are people in their eighties. The average age is 20-40’s, all ages are welcome in a regular NYC workshop. In addition, ACI now offers children and teen classes.
11. Is it okay if I’ve never done standup before?
Yes. All you need is your sense of humor. Stephen conducts the workshop so that when it’s time for your club appearance you will have funny, solidly written material and you will be well rehearsed and ready to perform at your peak and beyond. Your instructor will help you write your comedy material in private writing sessions. In the classes, he will guide your performance. You have nothing to worry about. Do it!
12. Would I benefit from the workshop if I’m already a standup?
Absolutely. Professional standups continue to use the workshop to develop new material, punch up existing material, sharpen their personas, strengthen their skills and prepare for major performances and auditions. Students in the workshop include award winning standups, comics appearing on television, and comedians performing at virtually every comedy club in New York, L.A, around the country and around the world.
13. Can I invite people to see me perform?
Yes! This is an exciting event. Having family and friends attend makes it even more exciting. The more the merrier. The more people you invite, the bigger the audience, the bigger the audience, the bigger the laughs!
14. What if I bomb at my performance?
This is a very common concern. When you begin your collaboration with ACI and Stephen Rosenfield, it is time to set this concern aside. Stephen does not allow his students to perform material that might bomb. He will help you write a funny set. He will coach you so that give a confident performance. Now, stop worrying! Replace this scary mental projection of bombing, with exciting thoughts of getting up on stage and doing what you’ve always dreamed of doing to the sounds of laughter and applause from an enthusiastic audience.
15. What happens after the workshop?
The workshop is ongoing and returning students pay a reduced tuition. In addition to monthly standup workshops we offer the One Year Program in Comedy Performing and Writing. This program is for people who know they want to focus their career on comedy. You can find an informative description of the One Year Program here. Also, please feel free to call the office for more information. The number is (212) 279-6980(212) 279-6980. Additionally, we offer students who have taken the monthly standup workshop ongoing opportunities for stage time. These standup shows are held at the Gotham Comedy Club and other clubs throughout New York City.
16. Do you offer private coaching?
Yes. Individual sessions can be scheduled for forty minutes or one hour.
Find out more information on private coaching.
17. Do you offer online courses?
Yes. You can email your material to our office and correspond with Stephen via email, Skype, or phone.
One Year Program FAQs
1. Do students take all of the performing and writing courses or do they choose which course they wish to take?
Students take all of the courses. The performing courses contribute to better writing and the writing courses contribute to better performing. The program’s mission is to provide an education to its students that will enable them to pursue careers in standup, acting, improvisation and comedy writing.
2. Do you offer financial assistance?
The Institute offers financial assistance in several forms. Partial scholarship money is available. These scholarships are awarded to students based on financial need. The Institute offers payment plans that allow students to pay in installments while they are taking the program. The cost of the payment plan is $150.
3. Can you help find housing?
We provide guidance in assisting students to locate affordable housing. In addition, students who are interested in roommates are put in touch with each other. Our office is located in the New Yorker Hotel, which offers dormitory housing for students.
4. Is there still room in the upcoming class?
Yes, as of now. The Institute has a rolling admission policy. Students are notified of the status of their application within two weeks of applying. The class size is limited to no more than 18 students. For this reason it is advantageous to apply as soon as possible.
5. What are the requirements for admission?
The requirements are that students demonstrate an aptitude for comedy, the desire to make comedy a central focus of their career, and the capability of participating in an intensive learning experience that involves working closely with faculty and fellow students. Students must also be high school graduates.
6. Is there an age requirement?
Students must high school graduates.
7. What is the schedule of classes?
The program begins in mid to late September and ends at the end of April. Exact dates to be announced. Classes meet Monday through Thursday evenings 6pm to 9pm. There are breaks for Thanksgiving and for the winter holidays.
8. Is it possible to hold down a job and also take the program?
Yes. Most of our students have day jobs.
9. Do you accept international students?
Yes. International students should contact their American Embassy to learn what arrangements need to be made to reside in the U.S. for the duration of the program.
10. What is the profile of the student body?
Usually, the class is fairly evenly divided between women and men. The age range of most of our students is 20’s – 40’s. The youngest students to take the program have been in their late teens and the oldest have been in their 60’s.
11. What is the tuition for the One Year Program?
The One Year Program tuition is $8,700.