So you think you’re funny? |

So you think you’re funny?

by Sharlene Irete

Three students earned diplomas earlier this month by getting on stage in front of a live audience and performing standup comedy acts.

Kat Simmons has taught a standup comedy class at the Carson Valley Inn for 12 years where students attend a six-week workshop and graduate from comedy class after performing in front of an audience, mostly made up of family and friends, on stage in the Shannon Ballroom at the CVI.

Most of Simmons’ students have never been on stage before and take her class not only as a way to learn standup comedy, but as a way to get over a fear of public speaking.

“It is not just for people who think they are funny, it is also for those people who just want to make an announcement on a microphone without breaking into a cold sweat,” Simmons said. “They were on stage during class four times before tonight. For the performance, I tell them, ‘Be yourself.'”

The comedy class started with nine students but by performance time, there were only three left.

Will Jensen, 37, a Douglas County School District employee who describes himself as “not a shy guy.”

“I love comedy,” said Jensen. “I wanted to see if I could do it so I’m giving it a shot.”

Jernsen’s standup act about a search for marital aids sent a mother from the audience scurrying from the room with two small children in tow.

Betty Pinder, 80, performed again after already earning her diploma in one of Simmons’ previous comedy classes.

“This is the second go-around for me,” said Pinder. “I’m a storyteller. I’ll take the class over again and become a real standup comic.”

Pinder talked about the TV show “Dancing with the Stars” in her act.

“They called from ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and said they could use me,” she said. “I told them I wanted a famous partner, like Newt Gingrich, but I meant Wayne Newton.”

Pinder left her audience with words of wisdom.

“Stuff will happen but the 10 Commandments are not multiple choice.”

The youngest performer was Dustin Cole, 16, who stared out at the audience with a deadpan expression and delivered his routine with dry, dramatic pauses. Most of the pauses may have been because he couldn’t remember the next subject.

“I suck at this,” Cole said as he consulted notes written on his palm to refresh his memory.

Simmons will teach another “So You Think You’re Funny” class in spring.

“We didn’t know if we were going to have a show but things really progressed in the last week. This was an amazing class and I’m so proud to have them,” Simmons said.

For more information, call Kat Simmons at 265-7647.