Class clown takes his show on the road

LAUGH RIOT: Seventh grader Carson Coan uses comedy club to refine his humor and improve his confidence in public speaking. Photo courtesy of Coan

Seventh grader Carson Coan is known as a class clown by his teachers and fellow classmates at Brevard Academy. Yet, despite the recognition, it took him nearly a year and a half to join the school’s comedy club.

“This year, one of my friends recommended me … and I decided to go through with it,” Coan says. 

The Brevard Academy Comedy Club is led by faculty member Tim Arem, who is also the founder and chief humor officer of the Asheville School of Comedy, a local organization offering after-school classes and weeklong summer camps for students ages 11-15.

Every Thursday after school, Coan and about a half-dozen fellow club members convene to practice new routines. 

“Every once in a while you get to go perform for people,” Coan says. “That’s really cool. We performed at Halloweenfest in Brevard in October.”

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Xpress: How do you get inspired for jokes?

Carson: [It’s] my personal interests or a topic I find funny. I like to tell jokes about something that’s happened to me. 

Do you do more one-liners or story jokes?

I tend more toward story jokes. 

What are you learning in comedy club?

One good thing that [the club] teaches you is to be more social — how to get over stage fright. The teacher also helps you write jokes. First of all, you want to think about a main topic and then you want to figure out more of a punchline and then you refine it before you tell it. You look over it and look for things that could be more funny in a way. We practice our delivery before a show.

Was it hard to get in front of a group?

Yes, especially when we would go in a class to talk because those were people I knew. If it’s random people, I don’t really care. But if it’s people I know that could judge me or something, [that’s different].

Are you the funniest in the comedy club?

I wouldn’t consider myself that, but it would be cool to be the funniest.

What’s your favorite subject in school?

History. Because it’s the easiest. It’s just memorization. Napoleonic wars and World War II are interesting. 

How does comedy help you in school?

The main part is presenting a project. I’m not nervous or stuttering as much. 

What do you see yourself doing in the future with comedy?

Maybe join the comedy club in high school. I don’t think it would be a career path, though. I think there are people that are funnier than I am. I really don’t think comedy is a reliable source of income. 


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