Making a Comedy Connection

By Christina Elston

fun ideas for kids

L.A. Connection Comedy Theatre founder Kent Skov, at far left, works with a group of his young students. PHOTO COURTESY KENT SKOV

Kent Skov knows a thing or two about comedy and fun ideas for kids. He founded the L.A. Connection Comedy Theatre in 1977, and has trained actors Matthew Perry and Will Ferrell, among others.

The hilarious and venerable institution moved this summer from Sherman Oaks to a new location in Burbank, but will offer the same schedule of performances and classes – including Comedy Improv for Kids and Teens classes for ages 5 and up. Skov, father of three, offers these tips for joke-telling kids:

Tell your joke like a story. All comedy comes from experiences, so pretend what you are telling happened to you or to someone you know. “That pulls people in,” says Skov. If you tell people you’re going to tell them a joke, they’re just waiting for the punchline. “If they don’t see it coming, it’s funnier,” Skov says.

Add characters and voices. Give the people in your stories funny accents or distinctive voices to make the story more interesting.

Keep it clean and respectful. Doing an accent is one thing, but making fun of racial or other stereotypes is not OK. Skov says it’s possible to poke fun at people without being offensive. You want your jokes to make people laugh and feel good, not uncomfortable.

Practice, practice, practice. “The more you tell that joke, the better you’ll get at telling it,” Skov says. “The storytelling will get better the more you do it.”

A class at L.A. Connection might also help. Their birthday parties (for ages 4 and up) and trial classes are a great way to give comedy a try. Learn more at www.laconnectioncomedy.com. You and your kids just might get some laughs in together.

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