WHY Carolyn won Kenan Thompson’s Young Comic competition at Caroline’s

Nine of our students were invited to perform. Nine of the sixteen comics were from our school. I would put EVERY one of our students against anyone one else in the city. What was it that set Carolyn apart?

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First of all, the reason our students do so well is because of how we structure our classes. Meaning, we get out of the way of the amazing creative power of the young mind. We create a fun safe space for all to open up and discover themselves. We try to inspire hard work, focus and listening. Improv training is amazing to develop self confidence and communication skills. We use it to teach corporate groups team, leadership, sales and service.  In a place to total psychological safety, the most insecure can find self confidence in very short order. The second we remove ego and insecurity form the equation, we tap into a deeper place. The subconscious mind works without the interference of the judgmental conscious voice. Not every student of mine is destined to be a professional comic. But all are changed by the discovery and power of creativity and critical thinking discovered through Improv Comedy.

QUICK NOTE!!!! No one that performed last Sunday – or were unable to perform – should feel less than. It is natural for all of us to feel jealous of the attention one us is getting.  But here is thing, that dark space will potentially ruin your shot. When on of my colleagues get cast on a TV show it benefits EVERY one in our cast. One, it helps sells tickets to our show with creates work for all. TWO it puts attention on our company. It makes our shows on ones resume mean more. And in many cases, someone coming to see me, because I will be on Billions next month, might discover one of my colleagues. It is quite possible that the attention Carolyn is getting via press and industry will bring agents, managers, press, casting, directors, writers and producers to our door. If you take one second to focus on the negative, you might not be at your best in that one moment.


Here is the ultimate secret to success –

Any given second might be the right place/right time. 

I tell my students to treat EVERY moment on stage, in warm-ups, in rehearsal, in class, or any show like it is the most important moment of your life. LEave the ego and fear that might go with that off stage, ,but bring your A-GAME every time.

  1. You really never know who is the room. You never get a second chance for a first impression.
  2. If you practice doing your best, doing your best becomes your goto place. When Lorne Michaels is finally in the crowd you will automatically be ready to impress naturally, without gimmick, without cheese.

TWO THINGS why I think Carolyn walked with the big prize last week!


FROM NY POST ARTICLE – According to “Saturday Night Live” star Thompson, Carolyn won the showcase because “she is very firm in her identity and what she thought was funny, and that resonated with the audience. I can definitely see her running her own variety show one day.”

“she is very firm in her identity and what she thought was funny,..” How many artists still struggle with this in the twilight of their careers?

We know exactly who she is? So in very short order we understand her perspective on things, even if you are meeting her for the first time.

Many of my students are capable of showing this. Most in fact. But it was Carolyn that displayed it best on April 14, 2019.


Carolyn is one of the hardest workers I have met since I started performing, never mind teaching.

I have known 1000s of comics. I have worked with 100s of them. I can count on one hand the ones I know – that are not big stars -that have a work ethic I respect.

The hardest job of a working comic is developing new material. The process of brainstorming ideas, working in front of a crowd, sitting down to rewrite etc can be quite tedious. The ones that exceed don’t wait for inspiration. They find/learn a process that is allows a professional to create.

When other students are playing video games on personal devices or watching youtube, Carolyn is writing. She LOVES writing.

Full disclosure, I HATE WRITING. There is a reason I do mostly Improv comedy; Not for lack of talent in Stand-up or writing but lack of my own discipline.

But Carolyn loves all the things one needs to do to be a professional comic. She comes into almost every class with 5 new minutes every week.

Want to know a secret. MOST of the routine Carolyn performed at Caroline was NEVER performed on stage before.

I have known 1000s of artists. Carolyn is one of the hardest working performer I have ever know, including many in their retirement and sadly, beyond.

A few weeks ago I talked about Amy Shumer in class. Amy Shumer will admit, she is not Hollywood’s first choice. But Amy is a major star because she works so hard she cannot be ignored.

There are too  many talented folks to impressed with one’s own talent.

For every working comic I know, I have met dozens of arguably more talented artists that have since quit the business. But the ones working put in the time. They spent the time writing. They spent HOURS every week in the clubs fighting for stage time. They delivered on the right night when a manager, agent, club booker or casting director were in the room.



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