By CLAUDIA LOZANO
The Comedy Bar on Danforth Avenue recently launched its CBPro classes.
While starting dates for the classes will vary, registrations have closed for the first set of sessions.
The aim of CBPro is to close the gap between people who had taken comedy classes and/or workshops as amateurs, and are now looking to take the next step to becoming professional comedians.
“When we started to look at the landscape for comedy training, it felt like a lot of the time you’d finish your program and then don’t know where to start,” said Gary Rideout Jr. of the Comedy Bar, which is located at 2800 Danforth Ave.
He said the studios in the basement of the Comedy Bar, which first opened on Danforth Avenue in late 2021, were always intended to be used for classes and workshops.
After seeing the struggle students had not knowing where or how to start their professional careers, the Comedy Bar decided to build a program to address that need.
The CBPro classes are meant for those with some training beforehand. For some of the pro series classes, interested participants will be required to have some experience, and to submit a resume and writing samples.
“Our pro series is for people who have already been doing it for a little bit and want to get serious about it. We want to start with the people that have already graduated and don’t know where to go,” said Rideout Jr.
There are 12 CBPro classes to choose from including New Format: Improv class which is a nine-week course to create an improv show.
“Collectively we might come up with a new way of storytelling your improv show, and what that creative art and structure of the show is. Ideally, something that no one has seen before,” said Rideout Jr. of the course.
The pro series will offer its students an up-close look at the comedy industry. Each class will be taught by professionals allowing networking opportunities and exclusive access. As well as access, participants will real-life opportunities to get themselves in a play or pitch their improv show for example.
“With writing, the hardest thing is writing anything at all. And so, if you have this weekly deadline that you have to meet by going to class, it’s going to help you do that work every week; to make sure you come in,” said Rideout Jr.
“At the end of it you’ll have your finished script in your hand. So I’m excited about the work that can come out of those programs.”
CBPro classes are still a working project, and new classes can be expected at the beginning of 2024. The Comedy Bar wants to hear from people, get them to reach out and know what they want to learn with the pro series.
Also, the Comedy Bar offers plenty of courses for beginners or those who just want to learn a bit more about comedy and have some fun while doing so.
Specialty classes will include Acting For Improvisers taught by Aurora Browne from the CBC show Baroness Von Sketch. This course is open to anyone who is either new to comedy or experienced, and it “focuses on bringing a depth of theatrical acting to your scenic improv,” according to the course description.
One of the Comedy Bar’s goals in opening its location on Danforth Avenue, east of Dawes Road, was to spread the opportunities and exposure for young comedians, and those wanting to learn about comedy, to beyond the centre of the city. There is also a Comedy Bar location at 945 Bloor St. W.
“So much of this has been limited to the downtown core, and I feel as if the East End has been underserved with this kind of training,” said Rideout Jr.
But the Comedy Bar is more than just a place were people go to watch comedy shows or learn about the art of comedy, he stressed. There’s a full bar and kitchen menu at the location.
It’s also a neighbourhood spot where customers can grab a quick bite and enjoy Detroit-style pizzas which have been a major success, according to Rideout Jr.
For more information on the Comedy Bar, including its CBPro and other classes, please go to https://comedybar.ca/