I was a student in some of the first Comedy Playground classes and now I’m thrilled to be a teaching assistant/intern and help out whenever possible (Teenagers aren’t normally the most open or expressive people and it’s so gratifying to watch/help them realize they’re free to express their opinions and feelings and learn turn those thoughts into something creative and funny.)
Comedy Playground has afforded me the opportunity of a lifetime. I truly believe that if I hadn’t found Comedy Playground as a kid, I’d be a very different person today. As a teen I was sullen and miserable (which is really unique, I know.) I felt, as many do, that nobody cared to listen to what I had to say and that I had nothing of value to offer people. Comedy Playground has changed all of that and helped me realize my creative potential (and not just in comedy either!) There were times in high school where CP classes were the only thing that made me feel truly happy, and I’m so grateful for that.
– Hana Michels
“I have been a part of comedy playground for 5 years now, and I can honestly say that this program has helped me to find my voice in stand up comedy and improv more than anything else has in those 5 years. Susanna and Kate are both amazing teachers who have a comprehensive understanding of stand up and improv comedy and really know how to convey that understanding to their students.”
Student 4 years, T/A
“So much of my life is memorizing patterns. Remember this date, this formula, this rule, this social convention… I feel like my entire education is trying to squish me into a socially acceptable mould from which creativity cannot escape. Comedy Playground allows me to throw off the shackles of decorous behavior and act freely on my instincts. The improv encourages breaking the rules, letting go, daring to experiment with different perspectives. It doesn’t merely teach you how to think outside the box, but rather how to turn the box into a rocket ship and blast off into space to visit your Martian grandmother. At the same time, the stand up provides the most perfect outlet for expressing your opinions and venting your frustrations. When something bad happens, it doesn’t suck; it’s new material. Additionally, Susanna is a wonderful and experienced teacher who can coax the humor out of anyone, and Katey is equal parts ludicrous and loving. You should seriously take this class.”
~Morgan, comedy playground student of 4 years
“Comedy Playground is an outstanding program offering both Stand-up and Improvisational comedy instruction taught by amazing, professional teachers who give 100% of themselves to the teens.
My daughter started with Comedy Playground when she was 13. She is 16 now and it has become a big part of her life. Comedy Playground provides a supportive environment to learn Stand-up, and it has given her confidence speaking in front of a large group, and this has translated into top grades for presentations at school. The improvisation portion of the class has trained her to think on her feet and work well in a group. My husband and I feel these are invaluable skills that will serve her well for whatever profession she ultimately chooses. She has also had the opportunity to perform at various charity events, and she takes real pride in being a part of something larger than herself.”
– Jodi, Santa Monica, Mother
“I am so grateful for Susanna Spies and the Comedy Playground. As tragic as the trauma of Hurricane Katrina was, your program was a big part of the healing process for all of us. Seeing the first comedy showcase Binkki performed in after taking your workshop, creating material, and performing it brought joy and tears to my friends and family. Laughter is medicine for the soul, and definitely makes the heart merry. Maybe a program such as this could be used to redirect the delinquent youth in our juvenile system! Keep up the good work! Your workshops have truly blessed Binkki in her healing process.
Mother, Hurricane Katrina Survivor
“We love you and feel josh is so lucky to have you as a teacher. Josh has grown so much from your workshops. We think the experience you provide is . . . how does the commercial go?
susanna’s workshop… priceless.”
– Father, son age 16
“Kudos to you for the important work you do.”
– Suzan, Editor Larchmont Chronicle
“I can’t think of anything in any of the performing arts that is braver than standing up there alone and doing comedy,as yourself. Thanks again for providing a place for josh to learn all this,for what you’ve given josh personally, and for what you’ve give all the kids.
We are very appreciative, and we know that what you do in this world is special and unique, both in your teaching and in your own professional work. This is what shines out of those kids, the spirit you bring through your own love of the work, of the art itself.”
Father, son age 16
“Thank you again for everything and your continued support. Thanks also for being you, we love you dearly and I am grateful for the laughter, confidence joy and support you have given. He is really blessed to have someone so special to draw inspiration from.”
Mother, son age 15
“Comedy Playground has provided a secure, fun, and challenging environment for our daughter to develop her talent as a stand-up comic and to learn the technical aspects of comedy and improvisational performance. We have watched her, over the course of several shows, grow from a shy introverted teen to an ambitious, confident and excited go getter. She has evolved as , an in-experienced and nervous performer on stage, to a confident and very funny presence who understands the process of writing original material.
We have seen how this work, under the guidance of the talented and supportive Susanna Spies, has brought new-found self-esteem and purpose to our daughter as well as to other Comedy Playground participants. We feel grateful to have discovered Comedy Playground”
Tony Magnemi – Business Owner
“This is such a wonderful opportunity and great experience for kids, Susanna is incredible and my kids (daughter 13, and son 11), have had so much fun, have learned an incredible amount and how opened up avenues they never would have dreamed of. My son was shy, but now has really opened up.
It has really helped them in school, giving oral reports and (they) have had much better test scores using a much faster thought process. I could go on and on about the benefits of this program. At first you think comedy, is that really something I want my kids to start? But it is not just comedy; it’s a quick wit, improvisational thinking, public speaking and much more.”
Grand Parent Testimonial : Edwin D. Trellue, Vice President For Institutional Advancement New Orleans, Louisiana
“Thank you for your efforts with the children in the California community. Your program and “you” in particular have improved their pre-teen and teen, self-esteem, their confidence, speaking ability and their interest in the arts! Your program has unleashed their connection with their inner feelings and made them more aware or others irregardless of age! They both now seemed to be more focused on school and other people’s feelings!
As an educator and an individual who is responsible on the college level for the advancement of a solid curriculum for our student body, I applaud your program and wish you could package it for grammar school, middle school, high school and the college and university levels. Again you have created a program that is as the kids say, “awesome”. Thanks for all that you do for our children and grandchildren.”
– Production Manager, Director Chris M.
“I watched your showcase while digitizing into my system. I’m extremely impressed. You are doing such a service to those kids and the world with your project, and should feel so, so proud. I truly wish there had been a program like yours when I was 15!”
“Just wanted you to know that my always negative daughter came home and said she “loved it”. I’m thrilled. Thank you!”