Great American Comedy Festival Returns

By: Great American Comedy Festival Email
By: Great American Comedy Festival Email

Last year, the Great American Comedy Festival offered a “Laugh & Learn” session on magic for children. In almost no time, the sessions filled up.

So, when it came time to planning this summer’s educational sessions, there wasn’t need for much discussion on whether magic classes again should be offered.

Of course they’ll be offered.

But there’s a new “Laugh & Learn” session planned for adults, too, designed to be fun and help them in the public speaking aspects of their jobs and careers.

For those who find themselves needing to lead a meeting, serve as the master of ceremonies at an event, give a brief speech or lead a workshop, the ability to effectively use humor in those situations can be valuable.

That’s what Eddie Brill, the festival’s artistic director and longtime comedian and instructor, plans to help participants.

The magic classes for children and the effective use of humor class for adults make up this year’s “Laugh & Learn” educational sessions that are part of the annual festival, which is presented by Nucor Steel.

Registration for any of the sessions is available by going to the festival’s website at and clicking on the buy tickets button. There is a $25 fee for each of the sessions. Registrations also can be taken at Insurance Associates, 1900 W. Pasewalk Ave.

The magic sessions will be led by Norfolk magician John Laskowski. Each of the children registered for the sessions will receive a “Melissa & Doug’s Incredible Illusions Magic Set” that they can take home with them after being instructed on how to do some of the tricks at the class.

The magic classes are for children ages 9-13. Two sessions are planned, both on Wednesday, June 11, at the Elkhorn Valley Museum in Norfolk. The first will run from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and the second session is set for 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The sessions will be identical.

If travel schedules allow, a visit during the sessions will be arranged from some of the professional magicians who will perform at the Johnny Carson Theatre that evening for a festival performance.

The “Laugh & Learn” session for adults is set for Thursday, June 12, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Norfolk city council chambers.

Participants will learn from Brill, who served as David Letterman’s warm-up comic for more than 15 years, and has been a frequent workshop and seminar instructor on effective use of humor.
The goal of the session is to help participants become more comfortable interjecting humor into public speaking or leadership situations — learning what kind of humor works best, how to be most effective, proper vocal inflection and timing.

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