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The Hidden Tools of Comedy with Steve Kaplan

Today on the show we have comedy legend, author, and writer Steve Kaplan. For years, Steve Kaplan has been the industry’s most sought-after expert on comedy. In addition to having taught at UCLA, NYU, Yale and other top universities, Steve created the HBO Workspace, the HBO New Writers Program and was co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre. He has consulted and taught workshops at companies such as HBO, DreamWorks, Disney, Aardman Animation, Sony Pictures Network India, Globo Brazil, and others.

In New York, Steve was co-founder and Artistic Director of Manhattan Punch Line Theatre, where he developed writers such as Peter Tolan(Analyze This, The Larry Sanders Show), writer and producer David Crane(Friends, Episodes), writer/producer Tracy Poust (Ugly Betty, Will & Grace), Michael Patrick King(Sex and The City, Will & Grace), David Ives(Venus in Fur),  Howard Korder (Boardwalk Empire), David Fury(The Tick, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer), Lisa Loomer (The Waiting Room), Tom Donaghy (The Mentalist), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)and Mark O’Donnell (Hairspray) and introduced such performers as Lewis Black, Mercedes Ruehl, Oliver Platt, Helen Slater, Fisher Stevens, Veanne Cox, Sam McMurray, Vickie Lewis, and Illeana Douglas.

In Los Angeles, he created the HBO New Writers Project, discovering HBO Pictures screenwriter Will Scheffer(Big Love), and performer/writer Sandra Tsing Loh(Aliens in America),; and the HBO Workspace, a developmental workshop in Hollywood that introduced and presented performers such as Jack Black and Tenacious D, Kathy Griffin, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross(Mr. Show), Josh Malina and Paul F. Tompkins. At the Workspace, he was Executive Producer for the award-winning HBO Original Programming documentary DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. Steve has directed in regional theaters and Off-Broadway (including Sandra Tsing Loh’s ALIENS IN AMERICAat Second Stage).

In addition to private coaching and one-on-one consultations, Steve has taught his Comedy Intensive workshops to thousands of students in the United States and countries around the world, including London, Toronto, Galway, Athens, Paris, Tel Aviv, Sydney, Melbourne, Rio, Munich, New Zealand, and Singapore. This year, he will be presenting seminars and workshops in Los Angeles, Brussels, London, and via Skype, Sweden.

His new book The Comic Hero’s Journey: Serious Story Structure for Fabulously Funny Films. I can’t recommend it enough.

A comic hero or heroine also goes on a journey, but for the comic hero, it’s often quite, quite different. The hero decides to go on the adventure; the comic hero often has no choice. The hero has a wise old man; the comic hero often meets an idiot who inadvertently says something that can teach him a thing or two. Steve Kaplan will show you the diverse paths that comedy takes in The Comic Hero’s Journey.

This interview is EPIC! If you want to learn how to create “funny” in your screenplays or projects this episode is for you.

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