BARRY WEISENBERG COMEDY INSTRUCTOR BIO
Barry Weisenberg has been teaching stand-up comedy at West Los Angeles Community College for over 10 years. He is also a comedy instructor at the DePietro Performance Center in Orange County, California. He has released a CD entitled ‘Extreme Comedy’ and he also writes comedy material for many comedians who are performing in Southern California.
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Barry has been doing standup comedy since December 1991, after taking a beginning comedy class from Steve Klasky, who was Will Ferrell’s first comedy coach.
Barry’s many accomplishments include his first place win of the 2006 Las Vegas Comedy Festival and a second place finish (only one point behind first place) at the 2011 Orange County’s Funniest Person Competition. He was also in the finals of the Rickies One Liner Contest at the Comedy Store Hollywood in October of 2011, 2006 & 2005. Barry finished in second place at the Comedy Idol competition at the Ontario Mills Improv.
Barry performs at numerous comedy clubs, benefits, corporate shows, and colleges. He regularly appears at the Downtown Comedy Club originally founded by Garrett Morris, and at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in Universal Citywalk.
Howard Flaer is an accomplished Los Angeles based freelance film editor and recently directed and produced his first documentary “Earth Needs More Comedians”.
Howard descended on Southern California from Miami, Florida, where he first took an interest in filmmaking during a middle school experimental English class based on screening contemporary films instead of reading traditional novels. Howard’s other early interests included electronics and journalism, which led to an internship in the newsroom of Post-Newsweek. But it was filmmaking that eventually won out when he attended San Diego State University.
After college, Howard honed his talent as a film editor, having realized the power and effect an editor can have on a film, selecting the best takes, setting the tone and pace, and maximizing the quality of the finished product. However, while working long hours in dark rooms behind computer monitors, it was the negative effects of “solitary confinement” that prompted Howard to seek a more enlightening path to apply his creative energies between freelance jobs.
To balance his life, Howard pushed hard to counter the isolation of film editing and found himself drawn to stand-up with help from comedy classes taught by his documentary’s catalyst, Barry Weisenberg. Like most people, Howard never thought he could go up in front of a room full of people and perform comedy (or anything), but with the supportive environment and the push from Mr. Weisenberg, it slowly began to happen.
Reflecting on the transformation Howard underwent, the change in his personality from an introvert (as often mandated by work) to an outgoing, attention-getting comedian, he explains: “I was compelled to make a documentary about regular people becoming comedians. I hear it all the time; ‘I could never go up on stage,’ ‘I’m too horrified to stand in front of an audience; ‘I could never tell a joke or be funny. I used to believe that, but Barry and his students say you can do it. Indeed the class is not competitive, but supportive, as everyone learns something about themselves and others. Many discover it’s a bit therapeutic to do standup, giving yourself a challenging obstacle to overcome with rewarding results. Along the way, Howard realized that in today’s world often dominated by unpleasant news, isolating computer jobs, video games and texting, comedy is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
This newfound appreciation for standup led Howard to produce and direct “Earth Needs More Comedians,” with the hope of not only entertaining, but providing a peek into a world that a majority of people have never seen. What pushes a person to subject themselves to possible embarrassment, the potential of failure, and the fear of going up in front of an audience and not just talking but performing with the purpose of eliciting laughs? Life changes after this kind of fascinating experience.