Classes & Workshops
Jamie Campbell has been teaching comedy for over a decade. Currently based out of Kansas City, he began his career in Chicago where he trained and performed virtually everywhere the city had to offer. He is an alumni of the professional ensemble at The ComedySportz Theatre, where he ran their training center for 3 1/2 years. He regularly teaches improvisation to Fortune 500 clients, universities, at-risk youth, and at comedy festivals throughout the nation, and is an active member of the faculty of the KC Improv Company and ComedyCity Training Centers.
Jamie is an award winning playwright and director. As a stand-up comic, he was named Chicago’s “Best Stand-Up Comedian” by The Chicago Reader. He was specially-selected by the sister of the late Andy Kaufman to perform at the TBS Just For Laughs Festival and is a founding member of the stand-up collective 100 Proof Comedy. He is onstage nightly, averaging over 500 performances per year, having entertained over a million live audience members. He has a strong and diverse background in theatre, writing, improvisation, stand-up comedy, and public speaking. His personal teaching philosophy is to focus on the positive, believing that the first step in becoming a great performer is having someone believe in you, so that you can believe in yourself!
Making it Matter NOW! – this is a workshop about getting to the meat of what is important in a scene, and doing it quickly. Creating the WHO/WHAT/WHERE of a scene right off of the bat allows the scene to grow quickly, and it allows the content to be important to the lives of the characters (and a bonus is that the audience is much more invested in the action)!
It’s in YOU! – Bringing Characters to the Surface – Based on life experiences, we already have a wealth of characters living inside of us. They are the people we live with, work with, and even strangers we encounter every day. This workshop uses personal experience, point-of-view, and muscle memory to help create rich characters. Once you’re improvising through the eyes of a character – the improvisation takes care of itself!
Trial By Failure! – Does genre work scare you?! When someone shouts out a suggestion that you don’t know, do you go into panic mode?! What if someone makes you rap or dance?! This workshop focuses on boldly diving into scene-work, trusting your instincts, and not being afraid to fail. The audience lives vicariously through the challenges thrown at improvisers. They want the train to go off the tracks occasionally. This workshop focuses on embracing the train wreck when it happens, and failing so big that your failures turn into triumphs!
Longform Improv Made Easy – Longform improvisation can seem complicated. It doesn’t have to be. This workshop is designed to give performers a few simple approaches that take the mystique out of longform to get students to work quickly as an ensemble, creating entire improvised one-act plays based on a single suggestion.
So. Much. Drama. – Improv doesn’t have to be funny. It doesn’t have to be manic. It’s amazing what you can create when you relieve yourself of the weight and expectations of comedy and really live in the scene. This longform workshop focuses on creating grounded, emotional relationships, connecting with your scene partner, and creating moments that really matter in the lives of your characters. This workshop is great for stage actors who want to take their scripted work up a level by really being in the moment.
Feeling All the Feelings! (a musical improv workshop – *accompanist required) – Musical improvisation isn’t about being a great singer. It isn’t about rhyming. It isn’t about looking good. It’s about connecting to your emotions and putting them on display. If musical improv scares you, this workshop is designed to get you past it. By focusing on the piece you are creating, your character’s emotional response, and trusting your instincts, you can affect an audience and improvise in ways you didn’t know were possible.
STAND-UP COMEDY WORKSHOPS
Stand-Up Starter Kit! – If you’ve always wanted to try stand-up comedy but have no idea where to begin, this is the workshop for you! If you’re someone who has been planning to try stand-up, but you’re waiting “until you’re ready,” this is the workshop for you! This two-hour course will give you writing exercises and information on how to begin navigating your local comedy scene. You’ll learn basic stage and open-mic etiquette, and will explore different types of comedic styles and joke structures. This class is designed to be the spark that ignites a fire for doing stand-up. After that, it’s up to you to either fan the flames or let them burn out.
Tell Us How You Really Feel! – This workshop focuses on having a strong point of view in your stand-up writing. Many early stand-ups talk about what they think is funny, but neglect to focus on how they feel about the topics they discuss. This workshop will give participants writing exercises that will help them focus their material on strong opinions and exploring topics beyond their initial premise, helping them to utilize their life experiences to shape their voice onstage. The workshop consists of in-class writing exercises, rant performances, and an open Q&A. Students will leave with a list of several writing exercises that they can take into their future writing.
Stop Writing – Start Talking! – This workshop focuses on making a real connection with the audience and being in the moment. Students will focus on riffing skills, crowd-work, and doing material that is not memorized or pre-planned. This workshop is particularly designed for the performer who feels too tied to their material and has a difficult time breaking away from their planned set. There is a certain freedom in being able to relinquish control and take an audience to a place neither of you expected. Students use improvisation and experience what it’s like to do stand-up without a net. The workshop also focuses on how to freshen up older material by adding in some new tricks to make prepared material new and different every time.