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Photo Courtesy of Arnie Cuarenta

Laughing the Time Away

By Arnie Cuarenta

Coming from Chicago, I have always loved seeing improv shows and watching sketch comedies. So when the Broward Center for the Performing Arts offered a class on how to write sketch comedies, I jumped at the chance. What an incredible experience! We were led by Julia DiFerdinando, an instructor from Chicago’s Second City.

Since we’re on lockdown, the classes took place over Zoom. That didn’t change how nervous I was, the first day of class meeting new people and not having the ability to hide in the back of the classroom. Julia put all of us at ease with quick ice-breaking questions that not only got us to get to know each other better, but started us on our journey of improvisation.

With the creative juices flowing, Julia led us through the usual structure of a sketch comedy and we were treated like the writing room behind the scenes of Saturday Night Live. Someone would throw out a topic and everyone would contribute to funny anecdotes that could be added to the story. With eight or nine people in each session, there was a lot of material we could use to come up with great sketches.

Over the next eight weeks, we watched videos of different types of sketch comedies, came up with stories from our lives, and helped each other write three different sketches. I’m most proud of My Valentine’s Day story that involved crafting, romance, sex, and a surprise ending. I’m looking forward to selling it to the Hallmark Channel someday.

When you’re stuck at home and you’ve binged all you can binge on TV, it’s nice to connect with other people from all over the country (Julia taught from Vermont) and create something new. We were all isolated, but this class brought us together to laugh the time away.

I’m excited for my next adventure with the Broward Center Education Program, “Adult Broadway Dance.”  I’ll be dusting off my dancing shoes for this one!  

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