NYC program breeds young comics

For almost 20 years, Kids ’N Comedy has been cultivating and producing bite-sized comedians across New York City.

The unique program is one of few programs in the city, dedicated to kid comics. Founder Jo Ann Grossman said it all started with a group of smart and talented kids who, even at a young age, had already developed their own stand-up comedy routines. Soon after, she realized there were a lot of kids who just needed a little push to get their own routines down.

“We have had hundreds of kids walk through our doors and through the program and the encouragement we provide and the skills we help them find, we’ve calmed their fears,” Grossman said.

She added that while many kids are naturally funny, many are also too nervous or afraid to get on stage in front of a crowd to let their light shine. It’s something the program’s staff is all too familiar with. Those leaders are a group of writers and comedians who did not have the same opportunities and outlets to pursue comedy as kids and teenagers and wish to do so now.

For a more realistic experience, all Kids ’N Comedy programs and classes are held at the Chelsea-based Gotham City Comedy Club. The program had no problem gaining traction in the city, in its early days, as they had to quickly change their setup as they received more students.

Class are now divided into age groups, one with ages ranging from 10-13 and another with ages ranging from 14-18. Groups are limited to no more than 13 kids each to ensure everyone gets equal attention and time.

Classes span across nine Saturdays for two hours each week. You have to act fast as these classes are only offered three times a year and start in September, when the school year starts. Grossman says the courses are meant for funny kids who love to write. 

Kids ‘N Comedy offers summer camp programs to teach kids comedy (Photo: Kids ‘N Comedy).

“Although these kids develop their self esteem, it is not a place for kids who are looking to find something to make them more outgoing and clever,” she said.

For those extra funny and talented students, workshops are available to those who have excelled in the regular classes. The workshops are all about fine-tuning those introductory skills, as well as exploring with performances, writing, and learning new material.

Workshops are typically held on Sunday afternoons, conveniently to work around your child’s school hours and days, and cost $75 for a two hour session with lunch included.

As demand continued to grow over the years, Kids ’N Comedy added a summer camp program for kids in NYC. The summer programs are perfect if your child has a knack for comedy and would rather not spend their summer days singing kumbayas around the campfire or kayaking down a lake. These programs are divided between three, two week sessions, that take place during the afternoons Monday through Friday.

Summer camp sessions will run you about $1225 per kid. It’s not a bad deal when you consider that it spans across two weeks and the kids stay occupied all day. 

For those students who have really mastered the art of packing a punchline, there are even opportunities for real stage time. Once they get the hang of what it means to do standup comedy and shake those nervous jitters and stage fright away they can see what it’s like to be “big time” (sort of). 

“We have a troupe of kids who are the cream of the crop of kids in our classes and our interns who perform monthly at Gotham for the general public of kids ages 9-18 and their families,” Grossman said.

If your kid is not involved in the program, you can always check out what they’re doing at the Kids ’N Comedy showcase shows. The shows make a great family outing that family members of all ages can enjoy. Stand up comedy for the family is unique and a great way to get out of the house and have some light-hearted fun in the city. These, laid-back shows feature a troupe of their best and brightest teens. You can find out more information on their website, and shows cost about $18 per person and a lunch menu is available for ordering as the shows typically take place in the early afternoon on the weekends. 

If you want your child think you are the parent of the year, check out one of the comedy programs today, But you will need to move fast if you want to sign your child up for one of the Kids ‘N Comedy programs as they sell out quickly due to high demand. Whether it is their kids comedy classes or their popular comedy camp in NYC, you and your child will be happy with the decision.