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Our course is about giving you the skills to produce great work over the long-term. We aim to help you express as well as possible what is uniquely funny about you.

Suitable for all, from complete beginners to people who’ve already done some gigs. We adapt to each person so everyone welcome.

We will provide a safe environment for our students to perform a short set every week. We don’t think you can learn comedy from a book: you need to learn by doing it and finding out what is uniquely hilarious about you by getting feedback from a good coach.

You will learn how to write hilarious material, and also how to perform it with charisma and skill. Furthermore, you will be given an insider’s view of the circuit to help you find gigs and avoid the common pitfalls of beginners.

Our coach a working professional stand-up. He has been there and done it, and continues to do it most night of the week, so he knows all about the journey from beginner to professional. Thus he has unique insight into what it takes, and what has helped him make the jump.

No previous experience needed, complete beginners are welcome. No previous experience in stand up, writing or comedy is needed to do this course.

An introduction to jokes:

We will look at the nuts and bolts of joke writing, common pitfalls, and basic “rules”. For example:

We will also look at some techniques to help generate material, such as:

Character as one of the crucial parts of good comedy:

Through video and group discussion we will look at great sitcom characters, and also stand-ups with a distinctive “attitude” or “point of view” (which comes to be their character on stage).

Alongside character, we will look at the importance of exaggeration in comedy: through exaggeration comes truth. Comedy is not about being reasonable, being objective, having perspective, taking the rough with the smooth. It’s about the opposite. Our  job is to help the students find the part of their psyche which is unreasonable and help them filter the world through it for material. It’s about putting that part of their personality to the forefront.

The aim of this part of the course is to help the students identify the funniest part of their personality and turn it up to 11.

As a stand-up you’re a cartoon. Through this process the students will build their clown, their own distinctive comic character on the stage. The incongruence that is crucial to a funny joke comes from not just linguistics (the written material) but also through attitude and clowning: the “meta-joke”, as it were. You are exaggerating things, making them huge, you are an architect of the absurd. The jokes are the bullet in the gun, but you are the funny thing.

Finally, we’ll also look at the vital importance of CONVICTION in both the writing and performance of material.

Observation/recognition based material:

There is no one big secret to good comedy, just lots of little ones and a few biggies: recognition is one of these biggies. So we will focus on the laughter of recognition, and the importance of being relatable with your material: passing the “owning up test”.

Through truth you’ll find the funny, specifically your own truth. We will work on the students confessing to their own minutiae as that is what audiences connect most to. We’ll teach you to be “a spy in the house of me”, because talking about yourself unlocks what Eddie Izzard calls “the mother-load”: a huge fountain of potential material.

Performance Skills:

We will analyse videos of great comics for technique before doing specific exercises to build skills. Including:

We’ll look at preachers, legendary front-men and great communicators in general in the process to help students produce a performance of confidence, charisma, energy and presence.

One of the biggest objectives of the course is for the students to build their confidence. I have a special method for achieving this, by helping students to fix what I call “the hole”.


We’ll look at building stories. How to take the cornel of a story and build it into a longer “bit”: full of jokes and amusing imagery. Most people don’t understand that stories are made, not born, and we will focus on the craft of building routines.

Final Preparations for the Performance:

Including mic technique, psychological warm-up planning to help prevent stage-fright, the ordering and linking of material (segues), easy errors to avoid.


The showcase performance we’ll take place at The Miller, 96 Snowsfields Road, London Bridge, SE1 3SS.

“Don’t think it twice, do it! After this course you will learn how to structure ideas, become more creative and a better communicator. I enjoyed every moment of it and gained a lot of confidence thanks to the support and feedback that I received from my hilarious friends and talented teacher. Max is terrific, constantly encourages you and leads by example. He managed to get the best out of everyone in the group, making our final gig a success!”

Susana Martinez Denia, Senior Consultant, Economic and Financial Consulting

"This has been an amazing course and we learnt tons from it. Our showcase was a great success! Good job, guys! Thanks, Max for pushing us to be the best we can!"

Natalia Kozyura

“The best thing was in fact just how much fun the course was. Max was great, my fellow students were great and this all made the end of course performance a blast!”

Niall Urquhart

“Max is not only a brilliant teacher but also a veteran comedian and a current performer himself, so he knows exactly what you’re going through.  Classes are always a lot of fun & entertaining.” Satwant Singh

“The course is fantastically interesting and incredibly fun. Max is a brilliant teacher - very patient and the classes are well structured.”

Louisa Codd

“The course was facilitated by Max (an experienced stand-up himself) in a very relaxed, fun, encouraging way.”

Ian Kaye

"I signed up for the course thinking it would be great to learn some of the basics and then leave halfway through! Not only did I complete the course but I also did a 5min comedy set at the end of the course, which I absolutely loved, I even invited a bunch of mates, which I never thought I was going to do!

All of confidence, funny material and professionalism gained from the course has got to be attributed to Max Dickens, he did an amazing job at teaching something which I once thought was unteachable. “You’re either born funny, or you’re not”… well actually you can learn it, if you do this course!

Max is not only a brilliant teacher but also a veteran comedian and a current performer himself, so he knows exactly what you’re going through, to help you overcome any sticking points.  He’s also just an all-round good guy, so classes are always a lot of fun and entertaining. From covering the exact formula on being confident all the way to speaking and holding the attention of an audience, this course leaves you with lots of different skills that help you outside of being a stand up too." Satwant Singh

“Really enjoying the course. Max is great!” Sukie Shinn

“The eight week course with Hoopla for Stand Up comedy was great, full of fun, games and laughter like being with old friends but they were new friends. Max Dickins leading the course is a lovely guy, brilliant communicator , and professional comedian . He gave everyone his time, encouragement and very insightful one to one feedback on their work at the end of each session. We each effectively did a 4min gig every week .I learnt so much about the whole stand up business and we laughed and laughed.... although doing comedy is serious. Don’t, whatever you do, hesitate to sign up for the course.”

Colin Failes

“Everyone who attended couldn't be more positive, everyone loved your energy and style!”

Chelsea Parsons, Media Arts Lab (Apple’s internal ad agency)

“A smash hit. The feedback has been really amazing.”

Natalie Broom, AMV/BBDO

“Inspiring, hilarious and richly rewarding. The workshop brightened up everyone's morning, it got everyone out of their comfort zone and into a place where we were interacting and chatting in ways we had never done before, but everyone found tremendously engaging. The whole experience was a true pleasure and hugely helpful.” James Honda-Pinder, Apple

“A smash hit. The feedback has been really amazing.”

Natalie Broom, AMV/BBDO

This course is now fully booked. Please contact us to be put on the waiting list for future dates.

“The supportive atmosphere ensures that even complete beginners Will have the confidence to grow their skills” Time out

Stand Up Comedy Course

This is an 8 week course on writing and performing stand up comedy, culminating in a live showcase performance in front of a friendly audience at our comedy club.

No previous experience needed, complete beginners are welcome. No previous experience in stand up, writing or comedy are needed to do this course.


Every Tuesday for 8 weeks from Tuesday 25th September 2018. Show on Wed 21st November. FULLY BOOKED.

Every Tuesday for 8 weeks from Tuesday 29th May 2018. Performance on Monday 23rd July. FULLY BOOKED.

Time: 7pm - 9:30pm.

Price: £230. Either payable all at once or with an initial payment of £100 followed by the remaining £130 at the start of the course.

Teacher: Max Dickins.

Workshop Location:  Theatre Delicatessen Studios, 1st Floor, 2 Finsbury Avenue (off Whitecross Place), London, EC2M 2PP.

Tube: Liverpool Street or Moorgate.

Show Location: Hoopla at The Miller, 96 Snowsfields Road, London Bridge, SE1 3SS.

Tube: London Bridge.

This course is now fully booked. Please contact us to be put on the waiting list for future dates.


Further Testimonials

His most recent Edinburgh show "My Groupon Adventure" featured him doing every single deal that came up on Groupon for a year, and was a sell-out smash at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival. It has since been published as a book and is available in Waterstones later this year.

Max was twice a finalist in Chortle Student Comedian of The Year, and was named by The Sun newspaper as one of their “2011 Comedy Picks”. He has appeared at the prestigious Edinburgh stand-up showcase “The Lunchtime Club”, and also appearing at another, “AAA” in the Pleasance Courtyard. He performed his debut solo show “This Will Only Take A Moment” in Edinburgh in 2012, and “Dear Ray” in 2013.

Max is also part of double-act sketch show “Dregs”, with comedian Mark Smith. They took their debut Edinburgh show to the fringe in 2011, having already written and appeared in sketches for Channel 4 (‘This Just In’) and BBC2 (‘Dick and Dom’s Funny Business’). At Edinburgh they enjoyed a sell-out run at The Underbelly, and the show was recommended by The Independent as one of the “Top Ten Comedy Shows To See At The Fringe”.

Dregs was also recommended by The Guardian and Time Out. They also do a fortnightly comedy podcast, which was recently nominated for European Podcast of the Year.

Max has a radio format optioned by NBC/Universal, a format in development with the BBC New Comedy Department, and sitcoms with Zeppotron and Bwark.

Max also runs Imakebrandsfunny.com and has worked with a variety of brands and agencies on branded content, freelance copywriting and creative strategy.

Press for Max Dickins:

“Buckets of energy” The Daily Telegraph

“Mining previously untouched seams of surrealism and hilarity...Surreal, original and frequently surprising, Dregs are a cut above the average comedy duo...” Fest Mag

“There are some wonderfully deranged ideas lurking in the minds of Max Dickins and Mark Smith” The Scotsman

“Rib-tickling” Bruce Dessau-The Evening Standard

“Razor sharp”, Fest Mag

“Momentous” Broadway Baby

Max Dickins is an award-winning comedian who has written for and performed on television in both the UK and USA.

Max started his career as a Sony Radio Award nominated radio presenter for Absolute Radio, spending 2 years behind the microphone. Max has gone on to be an in-demand stand-up and sketch/character comedian. He has starred in three sold-out runs at the Edinburgh festival.

Teacher: Max Dickins