“I never thought I could do this. I never thought I was funny.”
For Metro instructor Paul Sveen, helping his students learn that everyone is funny is one of the most rewarding parts of his job. Since 1995 Paul has been teaching with Metro, starting at our downtown location and now moving all over the city. What keeps him going all these years?
“If you want to learn something, teach it.”
Through his class, Stand-Up Comedy, Paul has found that interacting with people who have never done stand-up before allows him to learn more and more about the craft. Over the course of five weeks, students learn that stand-up comedy is about the courage to be yourself – kill that voice in your head that says “you can’t.”
“Everyone has a place where they’re the best comic in the world. With their pet, their mirror, their spouse… When students take the class, they realize that comedy is not just ‘street jokes’ – average authorless jokes that are told at home, work, or social gatherings – it’s about being yourself and letting others feel good about themselves.”
Paul sees students from all walks of life. Past students have included current stand-up comics who achieve a whole new perspective on the medium as students and instructor alike learn from each other. “They have something to learn and I have something to learn from them,” says Paul. Surgeons, military, parents, people that have been in accidents learning to go about daily life again, seniors and caregivers, newcomers to Canada looking to improve their English speaking skills have graced Paul’s classroom over the years. All are taught to be as honest as they can to tell their story to the audience. Paul encourages this because he believes the audience connects strongest with those comics who are real and genuine; the most riveting material comes from within your personal experience.
In addition to letting go of inhibitions, students are encouraged to share their secrets! For Paul, every student has a story to share and this allows them to discover that their humour is important.
“When we nurture our humour, we nurture the life we want.”
Often, students will be unsure of themselves and want to stay in their comfort zone, but stand-up comedy allows them to open new doors, both inside themselves and around their peers. The humour that is discovered not only helps the students, but those around them – humour attracts opportunity!
Humour also attracts community. Following the class, students have gone on to do national comedy tours, treat caregiver stress and even use their skills in the medical field. The power of humour seems limitless.
Year after year, Paul’s students continue with breakthroughs and achievements beyond expectation.
“I am so honoured to be a part of my students' lives, to be a part of someone believing that they couldn’t do something and then actually going out there and doing it. It’s all about the laughter.”
Stand-Up Comedy with Paul starts April 19th, at Amiskwaciy Academy.