Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gulf High students laugh it up in newly formed comedy club

NEW PORT RICHEY — One minute Gray Bigler plays Scooter, a 1950s-era character who revels in his own lack of social consciousness. The next minute he's mugging it up as a charmer who wears Starbucks-scented coffee cologne.

Bigler is a student comic and co-founder of the newly formed Comedy Club at Gulf High School.

"Comedy makes people feel good," he said. "And in this club we hope to identify comedic abilities in students."

Members meet each Thursday afternoon in English teacher Jan Ledman's classroom. There, they practice standup routines and techniques. Recently they received some valuable instruction from Pasco-based comic Sharon Nolan, a two-time finalist in the Florida's Funniest Person Contest who has been featured on PBS' The Young Comedians Tour and HSN. She appears at area clubs and is a member of the Got Jokes Improv Troupe in Tampa.

Nolan recently visited the club to give the kids pointers about the fine art of comedy performance. She advised them to maintain eye contact with the audience and to watch classic comedy movies to hone their craft. She also laughed along as Bigler and Christopher Tapp delivered standup routines.

Ledman also hosts poetry coffee houses and Poetry Out Loud events in her classroom. She sees the comedy club as another venue for students to express their creativity.

"In this club, the students show off their creative sides," said Ledman. "To be a good comedian, you have to learn to play with words … and that's what they learn here."

Officially formed in December, the club's origins can be found in the lighthearted friendships shared among the founders.

"It all started with Gray and me telling each other jokes," said co-founding member and Gulf High senior Alex Giannakaris. "And we were wondering why no one else had a comedy club."

"We decided to start one up," added senior Stephen Benner, the current president.

Benner credits the Gulf High IB program with influencing him to coordinate the club. And even if they don't end up becoming professional standup comics, Benner feels that participants can learn much from their involvement in the club.

"They can learn about everything from public speaking to delivering and writing jokes," he said.

Gulf High students laugh it up in newly formed comedy club 02/06/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 7, 2014 2:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Wing Jonathan Drouin could be the only piece that Tampa Bay has to acquire a badly needed top-tier defenseman.
  2. Ryan Hunter-Reay running strong as he seeks a second Indianapolis 500 title

    Auto racing

    Ryan Hunter-Reay isn't a big jewelry fan.

    Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won Indy in 2014, is a contender for a second title in today’s 101st running. He qualified 10th, had the third-fastest practice lap and his team is looking strong.
  3. As Trump's overseas trip ends, crisis grows at home (w/video)

    Politics

    President Donald Trump headed home Saturday to confront a growing political and legal threat, as his top aides tried to contain the fallout from reports that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is a focus of investigations into possible collusion between Russia and the president's campaign and transition teams.

    President Donald Trump waves as he exits Marine One on Saturday at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy. After a nine-day trip overseas, the president is returning to Washington.
  4. Tributes pour in for Zbigniew Brzezinski, an 'influential voice' in politics (w/video)

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Well before he went to the White House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was impressed by the views of foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski. That Carter immediately liked the Polish-born academic advising his campaign was a plus.

    Foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski died Friday.
  5. One year after deaths, Sunset Music Festival kicks off with emphasis on water and security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Before the beat drops, or even builds, you hear Steve-O.

    "If you don't get water you're lame!"

    "Hey! Free water! Come on!"

    Steve "Steve-O" Raymond motions to guests making the line to grab free water bottle at the entrance of the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. ( LUIS SANTANA   |   Times)