Laughs, Movies and Getting into College
Newsday
On tap this week
February 3, 2008

By Meredith Daniels

You won't earn a bachelor's degree in laughology from Governor's Comedy College, but you may work up the courage to perform onstage in front of a roomful of strangers.

The "college" is actually an eight-week workshop in stand-up comedy that's taught by a professional comic at Governor's Comedy Club in Levittown. For the next session, which begins tomorrow and costs $200, instructor Carrie Karavas (a comic with more than 20 years of experience) will take students through the process of writing jokes and performing on stage during three-hour sessions held at the club on Tuesday nights. She'll critique their cache of one-liners, counsel on timing and even teach them the proper way to hold a microphone.

To get a feel for performing in a true comedy club setting, students will get up on stage each week for short stand-ups and improv sessions. Fellow classmates - typically eight to 12 people - serve as the audience (and yes, heckling is encouraged).

"I'm like the 'Van Wilder' of the comedy class," jokes Terry McNealy of Farmingville, who has taken the course six times. But seriously: "You really learn a lot and your fellow students are so helpful. ... I went in there the first time and I had not one single joke and now I can do up to 20 minutes of time just by taking all those classes and getting the feedback."

The course culminates with a "graduation" of sorts - students perform their polished stand-ups for an audience of their friends and family at a class show hosted at Governor's. From there, some decide to work the local circuit of open-mic nights or pursue work as professional comedians.

"I met some working comics who were teaching the class and now take me on the road with them where I can watch them doing their job," says McNealy, 35. He's even got an occasional guest performer spot on Karavas' shows at Governor's.

Not bad for a guy who's still learning how to be funny.

WHEN & WHERE Governor's Comedy College, 7-10 p.m. Tuesdays through March 25; 90 Division Ave., Levittown. Fee is $200. Bring pen, paper and recording device. Call 516-731-3358 for more information.

MONDAY

Ticket to Rock
Funny man Chris Rock is returning to Madison Square Garden's WaMu Theater this spring with three shows scheduled at 8 p.m. April 30 to May 2. Tickets, $49.50 to $79.50, go on sale at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster locations, online at livenation.com or by phone, 866-448-7849; available at the Madison Square Garden box office beginning Tuesday.

Get a clue about social networking
Wikis, YouTube, blogs, MySpace ... if it all sounds foreign to you, help is on the way. South Country Library in Bellport (22 Station Rd.) is hosting a free lecture and demo from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to teach you all you need to know about social networking, including how to post photos, share videos and use instant-messaging programs. Call 631-286-0818 to register.

TUESDAY

You think you can learn how to dance?
You, too, can learn to dance just like the stars. The Ward Melville Heritage Organization is hosting weekly beginner lessons in salsa, swing and hustle each Tuesday night in February from 8-9:30 p.m. at the Educational & Cultural Center in Stony Brook (97-P Main St.). Classes, taught by competitive ballroom dancer Christina Davies, cost $20 per person ($18 each if you pre-pay for four) and are open to couples or singles. Call 631-689-5888 to register.

WEDNESDAY

'It's a real film, Jack'
Amateur filmmakers can pick up tips from the pros at a free seminar, "Final Cut: Movie Editing in the Digital Age," from 7-9 p.m. at Hofstra University's Mack Student Center Theater (South Campus, off Hempstead Turnpike, 516-463-7200). Movie industry experts will discuss several aspects of the digital moviemaking process, from scripting and directing to post-production and distribution. Particular attention will be paid to the tools and techniques that make for a successful film. Visit ccepa.hofstra.edu for more details.

Designs on the prize
Selden native Jillian Lewis had a close call on the last new episode of "Project Runway" (a wince-inducing denim jacket design nearly sent her home). The show returns at 10 p.m. on Bravo with a fresh challenge - creating an outfit suitable for a professional female wrestler.

THURSDAY

How to get into college
Got a high school senior with sights set on a certain college next year? Admissions expert Steven Goodman will share practical tips and answer questions from the crowd at 8 p.m. at Book Revue in Huntington (313 New York Ave., 631-271-1442). Goodman and psychologist Andrea Leiman recently published "College Admissions Together: It Takes A Family" ($17.95, Capital), which, among other things, focuses on how to keep the peace at home during the emotionally charged college application process.

THE WEEKEND

A Pete Rose sighting
Pete Rose, the controversial former Cincinnati Reds star who is Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader but is banned from the Hall of Fame for betting on baseball, is making a rare appearance on Long Island Saturday. From noon-1:30 p.m., he'll be signing autographs on photos and other memorabilia at Last Licks Ice Cream in Massapequa (4960 Merrick Rd., 516-541-6326). His fees range from $10 to $125. Go to lastlicksicecream.com for more information.

Hearts and cookies
Valentine's Day is coming, and Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay (20 W. Main St.) is helping little ones create their own treats. Saturday at 11 a.m., kids ages 4-10 are invited to the historic Raynam Hall Museum to bake and decorate Valentine's Day cookies. It costs $12 and today, Feb. 4, is the last day to make reservations. Call 516-922-6808.

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