Compering and Improv for Stand-up Workshop

Sunday 8th May 

12:00 – 16:00


Whether you’re an open mic comic wanting to learn the basics of compering or a more seasoned pro keen to extend your skill set, join accomplished compere Ben Van der Velde for this four hour workshop focusing on the skills of hosting and crowd work.

In this workshop we’ll cover:

* How to unlock your creativity and natural improvisational skills
* Persona and status
* How to get at least 5 laughs from each audience member
* Asking better questions to mine better information and create better riffs
* Endowing audience members to create fantasy worlds to play with
* Performing one man scenes
* How to create a story of the night by weaving together different audience interaction

We’ll also look at useful shortcuts for effective crowdwork, how to deal with hecklers and how to host non-comedy events. All abilities/levels of experience welcome.


Ben Van der Velde is a stand-up comedian, actor, improviser and presenter who, over the past few years has spread joy and nonsense to all four corners of the British Isles, as well as Greece, Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Norway.

He is a regular host and act for respected British comedy clubs such as The Stand, Komedia, , Covent Garden Comedy Club, Outside the Box and The Comedy Café, as well as hosting stages for Bestival, Festival No.6, End of the Road and Sunday Papers Live. He also has experience of performing at RAF Bases, large corporate events, hosting comedy workshops and doing audience warm-up for Deal Or No Deal.

Ben is a regular performer at the Edinburgh Festival, where he has performed four critically-acclaimed shows: Chain Letter, Strudelhead, Barbarians and Sidekick for which he has received 5 and 4 star reviews, whilst several of jokes made it into lists of ‘Best Joke at the Fringe’ compiled by The Scotsman, i-News and The Huffington Post.


“Whipsharp…with an air of mischievous mayhem…his hit rate is impressive, while his in-the-moment style creates a buzz of excitement in the room…a life-giving compere.” Chortle

“Highly promising…an accomplished comic.” Time Out

“Wonderfully improvised riffs showcasing his impressive spontaneity and sharp tongue.” Edinburgh Festivals Magazine


“I have been doing stand up for two decades but Ben’s workshop taught me things I still hadn’t learned. He’s encouraged me to bust out of my scripted straitjacket and be more playful on stage. Would recommend this workshop to any comic no matter what their level.” Andy White

Ben’s experience and engaging style of teaching genuinely helped me to understand what it is to actually be a compere. Took to the stage the next day and already felt better at talking to the audience. And he’s rather funny. Recommended x a million.” Joe Hobbs, Amused Moose Breakthrough Award Winner

“I found Ben’s workshop to be really useful as there is a lot of practical work during the sessions and lots of useful feedback. It’s not only useful for developing your MC skills, but also your regular act as well.” Kathryn Mather, Beat the Frog World Series Champion