#NCCAF Comedy Workshops

Saturday Workshop Package classes will run on Saturday, Feb. 8 and Saturday Feb. 15 and details will be sent to those festival students by Monday, Feb. 3. NCCAF Workshop Package Faculty include: Rick Andrews (Magnet TourCo), Chet Siegel (Magnet TourCo), Alan Fessenden (Magnet TourCo), Peter McNerney (Magnet TourCo), Corey Brown (UCBT NY), Eric Hunicutt (iO West, Steppenwolf), Zach Ward (DSI Comedy), and many other incredible coaches and teachers.

Please Note: Festival participants who elected to register for the Saturday Workshop Package receive a discount on Master Class Workshops below. Refunds are not given if you elect to register for a Master Class scheduled during your package workshops. Email festival@nccomedyarts.com if you have any questions.

Master Classes

#NCCAF offers public Master Classes that focus on advanced improv technique and diagnostics, comedy writing and acting skills.

Master Classes with Late Show Comic Eddie Brill

$195 Limited to 10 students

Eddie Brill will instruct you in the key elements towards gaining the insight and understanding necessary in developing and retooling your show, from a live stage performance to a smart and hilarious television experience.

Each workshop participant receives individual coaching on the spot from Eddie, and from fellow classmates; allowing for a unique student-teacher perspective in the process of building a firm foundation for you to truly understand who you are on stage. Make no mistake; this rare opportunity for comics to be completely honest with themselves and each other is for the seriously minded only. So leave your egos at the door, and get ready for a hardworking day you will never forget.

Workshop available to all working comics.

New Frontiers in Laughter with Laughologist Albert Nerenberg

$30 Limited to 24 students

Learn new techniques a laugh in ways you never thought possible. Hypno Laughter, Speed Laughter, Competitive Laughter. It all sounds insane. And maybe it is.

Acclaimed Laughologist, Albert Nerenberg, director Laughology and founder of the American Laughing Championships does a live workshop and demonstration of the amazing new ways to laugh.

“One of the 100 most influential people in health and happiness.”


Check out the North Carolina Laughter Championship on Friday, Feb. 7.

Master Classes with Improv Nerd Jimmy Carrane

$50-65 Limited to 16 students

Jimmy Carrane is the host of Improv Nerd and co-author of Improvising Better: A Guide to the Working Improviser.

He is the former host of Studio 312 on Chicago Public Radio. He has taught at The Second City, IO-Chicago, The Annoyance and Victory Gardens. He was an original member of The Annoyance Theater, Armando at The IO-Chicago and was a member of Carl and The Passions and Burning Desires. He has performed in some of Chicago most innovative and ground-breaking long-form improv shows, such as “Jazz Freddy” and “Naked” (a two-person one-hour improvised scene with MAD TV’s Stephanie Weir.)

Check out the Improv Nerd Podcast with Rick Andrew on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Master Classes in Solo Comedy with Paul Thomas

$65 Limited to 10 students

Create great solo pieces that maximize your comedic abilities and keep audiences wanting more of you.

For the experienced and not-so-experienced, this class will help you build momentum with your writing goals and help make you a more effective overall performer. This class focuses on crafting structurally sound scenes, creating multi-faceted characters, and performing with confidence.

A character-creating craftsman, Paul Thomas has performed his critically acclaimed solo sketch show Comedogenic at the New York Sketch Comedy Festival, Chicago Sketchfest, SketchfestNYC, the Public House Theater, iO Theaters Chicago & LA, and the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival.

In October he made his network TV debut as Big John on Chicago Fire on NBC. His epic web series Ped Crossing, based on one of his solo sketches, was featured in The Onion AV Club. Some of other his work has screened at the Just for Laughs Festivals in Montreal and Chicago, the L.A. Comedy Shorts Festival, and the Chicago Comedy Film Festival, amongst others. Paul is also a stand-up comic, and is a cast member of Chicago Underground Comedy. On the music front, Paul, Jeff Madden, and Cork Kangas comprise Lola Balatro, the post-grunge acoustic com-rock band that is scorching the earth with hits like "I Got 2 Black Friends" and "Questionable Beef."

“When it comes to portraying a smorgasbord of freaks, perverts and social pariahs, nobody does it better than Paul Thomas, the man behind Paul Thomas: Comedogenic. His laser-like attention to character work results in compelling scenework that is hilarious (and kinda disturbing).“

Jason Heidemann, Time Out Chicago

Musical Improv Comedy with Michael Descoteaux

$50-60 Limited to 14 students

Mike Descoteaux is the Artistic Director of ImprovBoston. Mike has served as head and creator of the Music Program at The Second City Training Center and music director of the Second City ETC stage in Chicago.

Named one of the top young songwriters in the country by the Johnny Mercer/AMTP association, he has had the privilege of working with Tony Award-winning artists such as Jason Robert Brown, William Finn, Mark Hollmann and James LaPine. His work has been seen on NBC, A&E, WGN and stages across the country. He has “composed” and “conducted” over 1,000 completely improvised musicals with Baby Wants Candy, Musical! the musical, I Eat Pandas, One Night Only Off-Broadway and many others. In addition to teaching at institutions like the Second City, ImprovBoston, Northwestern University, and Columbia College, Mike has lead workshops in music improv around the world.

MadSkillz, Freestyle Rap + Improv with Rene Duquesnoy

$50 Limited to 16 students

Sure, you can setup and payoff, but can you take your skillz to the next Level? MadSkillz teaches how to rap for an improv show.

You will learn freestyling techniques, review short-form rap games and learn the different effects used in the hit show THE BEATBOX. Learn how to enhance a scene by adding quick hiphop tricks. This class will help the longform and shortform improvisor alike. No previous rap experience required.

Rene Duquesnoy has been involved in improv comedy for over a decade. Current partner in ComedySportz Chicago, Rene has taught workshops across North America, and has toured the festival circuit with DSI’s THE BEATBOX, Road Trip, and Fritter Kings. Rene co-created the hiphop improv show THE BEATBOX in 2002 with Zach Ward, and wrote the MadSkillz curriculum in 2008. He was also a DJ in a hip-hop group. This verifies that he loves Rap. Rene believes in playing fast, playing hard, and... Rene may be a Cylon, So Say We All.