Does the idea of speaking in front of an audience make you feel weak in the knees? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, 27 million Americans feel the same way. While it might be easy to think avoiding public speaking is the solution, the repercussions should make you think again.
Statistics show that a fear of public speaking could have the following effects on your career and life:
- 10% impairment on wages earned
- 10% impairment on college graduation rates
- 15% impairment on management promotion
With these numbers alone, it’s easy to see how your social anxiety is holding you back. Luckily, there are a lot of different methods that can help you overcome your shyness.
We’ve found that the most effective solutions are productive without sacrificing on the fun. So, it’s only natural we would recommend signing up for a comedy or improv class to help you gain speaking confidence.
Now we know what you may be thinking. How on earth does standing up on stage with countless eyes focused on me, judging whether or not I’m funny sound fun?
But bear with us. Improv and comedy classes are actually often supportive, helpful environments that can help to bring you out of your shell. In these classes, you’ll learn key principles such as:
Listen to the conversation: If you suffer from anxiety, you’re often stuck in your worried thoughts rather than listening to what the person you are talking to is actually saying. Improv teaches you to quiet those thoughts, and really listen in on what others are saying. This improves your ability to have meaningful conversations in any situation.
Say yes, and…: Almost any improv or comedy class will teach you how to go with the flow. No matter what situation is thrown at you, you learn that accepting it and rolling with it allows you to stay in control of your fears.
It’s okay to make mistakes: Bob Ross wasn’t just talking about painting when he said, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” Improv classes teach you that even if you aren’t perfect, the show goes on just fine. You learn that it’s okay to laugh off the little things.
Ready to sign up for a comedy or improv class? This article is specifically meant for the shy ladies and gentlemen in New York City, NY. Keep reading to find the best comedy and improv classes in the big apple.
The People’s Improv Theatre
Where: 123 E 24th St, New York, NY 10010
When: The next available beginner’s course starts February 2, 2018
Website: The PIT
Price: $185 for 4 weeks of level 0 classes
This award-winning training center is known in New York City for putting the needs of their students first. They offer a variety of classes that gradually build up their student’s ability to perform in an improv group. One google reviewer highlighted the talents of her instructor Jason Specland, noting that “although it’s been over a month, I still remember everything he taught.”
Where: 254 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001
When: The earliest intro class starts January 8th, 2018
Website: Magnet Theatre
Price: $349 for 8 sessions of Intro to Improv
Featuring critically acclaimed improv troupes and comedians that frequently make headlines, the Magnet Theatre is a great spot to start your improv journey. The instructors are known for breaking down the fundamentals of improv and guiding their students through the process using care. Rest assured the instructors are there to help you, as one reviewer said: “the teacher was excellent at putting everyone at ease.”
Sunday Night Improv
Where: 236 W 78th St, New York, NY 10024
When: Drop-in classes are ongoing
Website: Sunday Night Improv
Price: $10 per drop-in class
If you’re looking for a low-commitment way to enter the world of improv, Sunday Night Improv offers ongoing weekly drop-in classes for people of all abilities. They teach you the fundamentals of improv, and how to loosen up no matter the situation. It’s a highly-acclaimed studio that has earned rave reviews from students.
Where: 117 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012
When: Next rounds start February 2018
Website: Comedy Cellar
Price: $450 for six 3-hour sessions
If you are serious about comedy, learn from the best. The Comedy Cellar is the home to many famous comedians known across the country. Sign up and enjoy small class sizes, premium instructors, and all the creative guidance you can handle. “Intimate, excellent comedians, and just a great vibe.” – Google Reviewer
Stand Up NY
Where: 236 W 78th St, New York, NY 10024
When: Next 6-session course starts January 8, 2018
Website: Stand Up NY
Price: $299 for 6 sessions of the beginner’s course
In this intimate stand-up comedy class, you’ll learn everything you need to know from comedy veteran Marion Grodin. She guides her students through the basics of joke writing, delivery, and everything in between. They have tons of positive reviews of their classes and comedians. One reviewer raves, “Everyone should visit this place. I’ve cried myself to tears.”
Manhattan Comedy School
Where: 208 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011
When: The next level 1 course starts January 17th, 2018
Website: Manhattan Comedy School
Price: $450 for 7 sessions
When Jim Gaffigan recommended this comedy school, he said it “has helped countless young comedians get started.” You know you are in for a special treat when you sign up. The Manhattan Comedy School offers a variety of stand up courses perfect for performers of all levels.
The Barrow Group Theatre Company and School
Where: 312 West 36th St, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10018
When: The next improv 1 class starts January 21, 2018
Website: The Barrow Group
Price: $325 for 8 weeks of classes
Have you been bitten by the acting bug? The Barrow Group offers a wide variety of acting and improv classes to try. You’ll learn from experienced instructors who have decades of experience to pull from. One student had this to say about his class: “Stellar standards … supportive, inspiring, and respected reputation always.”
These are some of the best classes New York City has to offer for improv and stand up, but there are countless more to get involved in. Have you taken one of these classes? Do you think we left out a location that’s great for overcoming shyness? Let us know in the comments below.