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American Comedy Institute The New Yorker Hotel 481 8th Avenue, Suite 736 New York, NY 10001

(212) 279-6980

The American Comedy Institutes mission is to provide an education to its students in comedy writing and performing that will enable them to pursue careers in acting, stand-up, improvisation, and writing.

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Students are required to take a comprehensive series of courses wherein they write and perform comedy. The entire curriculum is structured so all components work together to achieve the programs stated purpose for comedy and comedy study. ACI prepares students for the professional opportunities in the comedy field by immersing each student in multiple performance and writing units. The goal is to turn out the hyphenated actor-comedian-writer. To this end, each student is required to complete each of the following courses.
Stand Up Comedy Writing and Performing Students learn the art and craft of stand up comedy writing and performing. Students are encouraged to use New Yorks comedy clubs to perform as often as possible. In addition, there are regularly scheduled stand-up performances for One-Year students at Gotham Comedy Club and the Broadway Comedy Club. Class meets once a week for 3 hours for 27 weeks.
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Comedy Writing

Late Night Talk Show Writing


Students learn to write Sketch Comedy, Webisodes, and TV Spec Scripts. There are three live sketch comedy shows. Class meets once a week for 3 hours for 27 weeks.

Students learn to conceive, write, perform, and produce a late night comedy talk show. An episode of the show is taped in front of a live audience. Class meets two times a week for 3 hours for 2 weeks.

Students learn the philosophies of improv as well as its forms and improv games. There are two improv shows. Class meets once a week for 3 hours for 23 weeks.


Acting for the Stage

Students learn the foundation techniques of acting. They learn how to create believable and exciting emotion, behavior, and characters for the stage. There is a monologue recital and a scene night. Class meets once a week for 3 hours for 23 weeks.

Acting for the Camera

Students learn how to apply what they have learned in Acting for the Stage to the spatial and business realities of the screen. Class meets twice a week for 3 hours for 3 weeks.

Time Requirements
Classes for the American Comedy Institute One-Year Program meet Monday through Thursday, 6pm to 9pm. In addition to twelve hours of class time per week, students should allow 24 hours per week to complete their assignments, to research comedy by viewing it on television, film and live on stage, and to perform their own comedy. Additional time of approximately 34 hours is required to perform in the One-Year Program shows which include stand-up, sketch, improv and acting. Thus, an average weekly commitment of at least 38 hours per week for 27 weeks is required to graduate from the program. Graduates perform in the Industry Showcase and are granted a certificate of completion.

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The American Comedy Institute One-Year Program is in its 10th year of operation. Each year the American Comedy Institute accepts 18 students into the program. To apply for the one-year program, please fill out the application located here HYPERLINK There will be an audition and an interview to assess whether the student has the capabilities to work professionally. The audition requires an applicant to perform around two minutes of original comedy material and around two minutes of a monologue from a play or a movie. During the interview with the Director, an applicants maturity and commitment to the field is evaluated and the applicant explains why he or she wishes to enroll in the One-Year Program. The time requirements for the admission interview and audition vary from student to student. On average, five hours of time is needed.


Annual Tuition for the One-Year Program is $7,750.00

Payment Policies: A deposit of $500.00 is due within a month of a student receiving an acceptance letter in order to secure his or her spot in the program. The balance of tuition is due September 1st. Students may opt for a payment plan. The cost of the plan is $150.00 + tuition. Arrangements can be made with the office. American Comedy Institute accepts Visa and Mastercard, checks, money orders, and cash. Refund Policies: A full refund of tuition, less the $500.00 deposit fee is made when a student withdraws from the program before the first class. This request must be put in writing. Once the program begins, tuition is non-refundable.
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Stephen Rosenfield teaches Stand-Up Comedy and Comedy Writing, and is the founding Director of the American Comedy Institute. He coaches and directs performers ranging from beginners to Emmy and Tony Award-winning and Oscar-nominated star talent. His students have appeared on The David Letterman Show, The Conan OBrien Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Centrals Premium Blend, Comedy Central Presents, HBO, A&Es Caroline's Comedy Hour, The Apollo Comedy Hour, MTV and VH-1, The Aspen, Montreal and Toyota Comedy Festivals, and The Edinburgh Festival. His students have made development deals with CBS, ABC, Fox, Paramount, the Henson Co., and Tribune Entertainment to star in their own sitcoms. Stephen Rosenfield has produced, written and directed comedy shows at Caroline's on Broad -way PSNBC, Stand-Up New York, The Comic Strip, Gotham, Don't Tell Mama and The Improv. For three years he produced, directed and wrote for Rubber Feet, the sketch comedy group that appeared regularly at The Comic Strip. He directed and coauthored the Obie Award-winning musical comedy review, The Present Tense. He has directed at the Roundabout Theater, The Ensemble Studio Theater, The Actor's Studio, and Manhattan Class Company. He received the Los Angeles Drama-Logue Award and a Robby nomination for his direction of the musical, Charlie and Algernon. He is Professor of Comedy at William Patterson University and is the Director of the Universitys Comedy Program.

Joannie Mackenzie teaches acting. On Broadway, her students have been featured in Cabaret, Fossie, Love, Valour and Compassion, The Pajama Game and on television in the Guiding Light and One Life to Live. Her acting process provides students the opportunity to investigate their individuality as a performer. It gives them the chance to explore their own uniqueness as an actor. Ms. Mackenzie is also a working actress. Most recently she appeared as The Servant in Howard Barker's Judith at the Kraine Theatre in Manhattan. She has also performed at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Seattle Repertory Company, Asolo Repertory Company and in summer stock, television and independent films. Ms. Mackenzie's directing credits include sketch comedy performances at Carolines and the Gotham Comedy Club as well as staged readings of Suzanne Mernyk's Fortune Cookies at the Neighborhood Playhouse and Edna O'Brien's Virginia for the Shakespeare's Sister Company.

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Randy Pearlstein was a regular on the series Chappelle's Show and is now a cast member on the new Comedy Central show Michael and Michael Have Issues. He teaches writing at Rutgers University, The PIT and at colleges across the country. Randy's writing credits include the Lionsgate film Cabin Fever

Debora Rabbai teaches Improvisation. She is a native New Yorker who's been acting, singing and improvising professionally for the last sixteen years. She's a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and trained improvisationally at Chicago City Limits. She's a former member of Freestyle Repertory Theatre and performed and taught with them for nine years. She's a co-creator and performer in the MAC nominated and critically acclaimed show "The Next Big Broadway Musical" an improvised musical comedy. She's an accomplished voice over artist who has done voice overs for products you love in addition to creating the voice for "Shenfa" in the SEGA Dreamcast game "Shenmue". She is well known as a voice actress among Japanimation/anime fans having voiced 25 anime films. She has led workshops on "Teamwork and Creative Thinking" and "Teamwork Under Pressure" to corporate executives in companies such as Revlon, Western Union, Oxygen Network & Merck. She has helped create programs which teach curriculum through improvisation and has taught improvisation to children in the New York, New Jersey & Connecticut public schools.
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Ted Greenberg teaches late night talk show writing. He is an Emmy Award winning comedy writer formally a staff writer for Late Night with David Letterman. He also was an editor for the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine. Mr. Greenberg is a stand-up comic and the star of the hit offBroadway show, THE COMPLETE PERFORMER. It has played weekly at the Soho Playhouse since August of 2008 and is co-written and directed by Stephen Rosenfield.

Mary Ann Conk very much enjoys the Commercial part of her 26 year career, having appeared in National and Cable television and radio spots for products from Airwick to Ziploc. She was Helga Long, the Delta Dental Lady for many years and recurring campaigns. She has appeared on stage in over 2000 performances of Shear Madness at The Kennedy Center, in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and St Louis. While in Boston, she was an original member of the Mixed Meters Comedy TV Show, along with Steven Wright. This past year, Mary Ann returned to the theatre in Steve Martin's The Underpants at Geva, Moonlight and Magnolias at Capital Rep and Guilty Off-Broadway at The Acorn. Currently Mary Ann is recording Car Talk, PBS' first prime time animate. Her philosophy of teaching and this business is a realistic one, based upon integrating training with the actors' uniqueness. Learning basic commercial audition technique and bringing yourself to the party. Mary Ann is a graduate of Emerson College and she has studied with Michael Shurtleff and Richard Hilty. Mary Ann is a proud member of AEA, AFTRA, and SAG.

Lexi Cullen-Baker is a native New Yorker whose been performing since the age of twelve. Since then she has had the privilege of working with Lewis Black at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and regularly performs at clubs and colleges all over the country. She also is a professor of comedy at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

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Classes are held at ACIs suite in the New Yorker Hotel and at NOLA Rehearsal Studios.

NOLA Rehearsal Studios 244 W. 54th St. New York, NY 10019 212-582-1417 Established in 1969, Nola Rehearsal Studios is a privately owned performance and music recording venue located in the Theater District of Manhattan. It is clean, air conditioned, and offers different sized studios for several different purposes. NOLA holds thousands of auditions, rehearsals, classes, industrials, and castings every year. It is open seven days per week. 8am 10pm Monday through Friday and 10am 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.

The New Yorker Hotel 481 8th Ave. New York, NY 10001 Built in 1929 and opening its doors on January 2nd, 1930, The New Yorker hotel was a marvel of its day. It was the largest hotel in New York City, with 2,500 rooms, several grand ballrooms, ten private dining "salons," and five restaurants employing 35 master cooks. With the arrival of the Big Bands, the stage was set for the "heyday" of the New Yorker Hotel. The famous bands of the day played at the New Yorker, including Benny Goodman, both of the Dorsey's and Woody Herman. This atmosphere not only drew in business travelers and tourists, but also attracted the elite of society as well as political figures and business leaders. The Brooklyn Dodgers, with Manager Leo Durocher, headquartered here for the 1941 World Series, and Joe DiMaggio lived here when the Yankees were in town. The New Yorker Hotel was renovated in 2007 to create the beautiful modern building we see today, which maintains the charm of the 30s.
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Board of Directors:

DONOVAN LYTLE In addition to his role on the ACI Board of Directors, Donovan Lytle is Vice President of Business Development at the university academic software company, Wimba. Lytle joined Wimba in 2001, and developed the US higher education, K-12 and publishing markets, helping establish Wimba as a major player in the US education space. In 2010, Winma was bought by Blackboard, an online classroom database. Prior to joining Wimba, Lytle was Director of Development at the English Language Institute at the University of Montana where he taught English as a Second Language and directed the institutes growth within the Linguistics program. Lytle holds an MA in Linguistics from the University of Montana.

Rock Albers is a contract attorney in New York where he also pursues a career in entertainment. Albers received a B.A. in political science, history and economics as well as a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma, an M.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California and an M.A. in political science from Georgetown University. He has studied acting with legendary acting teacher Lee Strasberg, played the piano before two U.S. Presidents, and developed an award-winning comedy act described by the New York Post as audaciously original. Twice the recipient of the MAC Award for Best Male Stand-up Comedian, Albers has performed at the major comedy clubs in New York including Carolines and Gotham Comedy Club. Since 2000 he has produced and performed six one-person shows in New York. He is a graduate of the One-Year Program at the American Comedy Institute in New York, NY.

LIZ STROPPEL Elizabeth C. Stroppel, Ph.D., M.A. is an Associate Professor in the Communication Department of William Paterson University. She is also Assistant Chair of the Communication Department, and the Producer of University Theatre. She coordinates the Theatre & Comedy major, teaches, directs, and dramaturgs. This November she directed Antigone by Jean Anouilh, translated by Jeremy Sams, on the WPU campus. Dr. Stroppel has coauthored a text on the late acting teaching legend Sonia Moore, whose NYC studio she trained and taught at before pursuing her advanced degrees, and published articles on acting and feminism.

BEN ROSENFIELD Ben Rosenfield is a professional actor. He most recently starred in the award winning film The Virgins. He currently studies theater at the Barrow Group. Ben is the former Vice President of the School of Visual and Performing Arts in Montclair New Jersey. His writing and directing credits include the films We've Made it Big and Ugly Anyway.

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Retention Policies: Attendance:

Retention policy requires that students attend all classes. If a student is sick or has some other reason that they need to either be absent from class or leave class early or come late, they are required to email the staff prior to the class and receive an OK to do so. In the event that a faculty member feels a students absences are undermining the faculty members ability to impart the coursework to the student, the faculty member notifies the Director. The Director will call the student in for a meeting. At this meeting the student is put on notice that they are required to attend classes in order to graduate from the program, appear in the industry showcase, and receive their certificate of completion. If the student does not comply, they do not perform or graduate.

Students are required to comport themselves in a professional manner which accords respect to their instructors and peers. This is good practice for the world of comedy, a world where collaborative work is one of the keys to success. Please see Rules and Regulations for Conduct. In the case of infractions of the Rules and Regulations for Conduct, students will receive a verbal warning from faculty or staff. A second incident will result in a meeting with faculty and the Director to discuss the issue. At this point the student will be put on written notice that their behavior is disruptive and unacceptable. The student will be given a chance to modify their behavior. A third incident will result in the student being expelled from the program. There will be no refund of tuition in cases of expulsion.

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Rules and Regulations for Conduct:

Attendance: Students must attend all classes. If a student is ill, or has another pressing reason to be absent, he or she must notify his or her teacher at the earliest opportunity. Repeated unexcused absences will result in a student not graduating from the program. Academic Conduct: Students are required to conduct themselves in a way that furthers the goals of the curriculum of the One-Year Program. Such conduct includes but is not limited to: Whole-hearted and good-natured participation in all classroom activities. Respectful critique of peers work. Students shall refrain from using humor as a weapon against their peers or instru tors, or from using degrading, belittling or hurtful comments while speaking to or about students and faculty Class assignments must be turned in on the due date. Students writing must be original. Students shall not attempt to claim credit for work that is the work of fellow students either inside or outside of the classroom. Common-sense respect and courtesy must be exercised for ones instructors, fellow students, and the staff of ACI. Prohibited Conduct: Instances of prohibited conduct may result in verbal or written warnings, suspension, and, in extreme cases, expulsion. Disciplinary action by American Comedy Institute will be in addition to any penalty imposed by any off-campus authority. Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to: - Physical abuse. Any attempt to cause injury or inflict pain; or causing injury or inflicting pain. Also causing physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative. It is not a defense that the person (or group) against whom the physical abuse was directed consented to, or acquiesced to, the physical abuse. - Harassment. Conduct (physical, verbal, graphic, written, or electronic) that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to threaten an individual or limit the ability of an individual to work, study or participate in the activities of the program. - Illegal drugs and controlled substances. Manufacturing, possessing, having under control, selling, transmitting, using or being party thereto any dangerous drug, controlled substance or drug paraphernalia on ACI premises or at ACI-sponsored activities. (continued)
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Rules and Regulations for Conduct, continued:

Prohibited conduct, continued: Alcohol: Drinking or having in possession any alcoholic beverage in public areas of ACI premises not approved for such activity Theft: Unauthorized removal or stealing of property on ACI premises or at ACI-sponsored activities. This includes knowingly possessing such stolen property. Destroying, damaging or littering of any property: Behavior that destroys, damages, or litters any property of ACI, or of another person, on ACI premises or at ACI-sponsored activities. Disorderly conduct: Conduct that is disorderly, lewd, indecent or a breach of peace on ACI premises or at ACI-sponsored activities. Disruptive activity: Participation in disruptive activity that interferes with teaching, administration, disciplinary proceedings, or other ACI processes.

Grievance Procedures:
Informal Resolution Prior to invoking the procedures described below, the student is strongly encouraged, but is not required, to discuss his or her grievance with the person alleged to have caused the grievance. The discussion should be held as soon as the student first becomes aware of the act or condition that is the basis of the grievance. Additionally or in the alternative, the student may wish to present his or her grievance in writing to the person alleged to have caused the grievance. In either case, the person alleged to have caused the grievance must respond to the student promptly, either orally or in writing. Initial Review If a student decides not to present his or her grievance to the person alleged to have caused the grievance or if the student is not satisfied with the response, he or she may present the grievance in writing to the Director. Any such written grievance must be received by the Director not later than thirty calendar days after the student first became aware of the facts which gave rise to the grievance. (If the grievance is against the Director, the student should address his or her grievance to the Board of Directors.) The Director should conduct an informal investigation as warranted to resolve any factual disputes. Upon the students request, the Director shall appoint an impartial fact-finding panel of no more than three persons (continued)
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Grievance Procedures, continued:

Initial Review, continued: to conduct an investigation. The Director must state the terms and conditions of the investigation in a memorandum appointing the fact-finding panel. A fact-finding panel appointed hereunder shall have no authority to make recommendations or impose final action. The panels conclusions shall be limited to determining and presenting facts to the Director in a written report. Based upon the report of the fact-finding panel if any, the Director shall make a determination and submit his decision in writing to the student and to the person alleged to have caused the grievance within ten calendar days of receipt of the panels report. The written determination shall include the reasons for the decision, shall indicate the remedial action to be taken if any, and shall inform the student of the right to seek review by the Board of Directors. Appeal Procedures Within ten calendar days of receipt of the Directors decision, a student who is not satisfied with the response of the Director after the initial review may seek further review by submitting the written grievance, together with the Directors written decision, to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors actions will be limited to a review of the basis for the Directors decision and need not involve a de novo factual investigation. The Board of Directors may, but are not required to, direct that further facts be gathered or that additional remedial action be taken. Within 15 calendar days of receipt of the request for review, the Board of Directors shall submit their decision in writing to the student and to the person alleged to have caused the grievance. The written disposition shall include the reasons for the decision, and it shall direct a remedy for the aggrieved student if any.

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