Paul E. Reese, Sam Kap and I started Off Mic Comedy School in August of 2020 in the middle of the hardest year in our lifetimes. Our original goal was just to fill the gap left by brick-and-mortar comedy schools/classes that weren’t operating at the time, but it quickly turned into a bigger initiative–and a way to bring accessible, affordable comedy education to people from all over.
By the end of our first semester, we had offered virtual classes to over 55 students from all around the country and the world. And by May 2021, the close of our spring semester, we had seen nearly 200 youth and adult students come through our Zoom-based classrooms. As one of the founders and a standup comedian myself, offering people the opportunity to learn and improve their standup, improv, sketch and other skills was incredibly meaningful.
That said, a business must also be financially self-sustaining to survive. While our instructors and staff were well compensated and we distributed over $5,000 worth of financial aid to students, we were not able to make Off Mic a sustainable long-term business. Paying fair wages for the work performed has always been important to me, and as a result, we paid out much more than we took in. I invested much of my personal savings into the business, and I ultimately prioritized supporting others over profitability. As of June 4, 2021, we will be permanently closing our virtual doors.
I am so proud of the instructors and staff who worked hard to make this a reality and brought so much energy and talent to their students. Thank you, Sam K, Paul, Allison, Susan, Jake, LaTice, Dan, Lamarr, Sam B, Erica, Spark, Cynthia, Cassandra, Jay, Steve, Christina, and Briyana. Even bigger thanks to all of the amazing students who kicked ass and made my pandemic just a bit more joyful. If you are looking for comedy classes in the future, please consider supporting local businesses over corporate clubs. An even better option would be to hire your favorite instructor directly for 1-on-1 support and guidance.
See you on Zoom and IRL –