LAS VEGAS - JUNE 29: Actor/comedian Brad Garrett appears outside the newly-opened Brad Garrett's Comedy Club at the Tropicana Las Vegas June 29, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for The Globe and Mail)

MAIN STREET — When students enter comedian Brad Garrett’s “Sitcom Intensive” class, the first question they ask shouldn’t be about attracting an agent or manager.

Garrett, best known as the goofy brother from “Everybody Loves Raymond,” said that it’s common for his pupils to sign up for his class hoping that some of his industry knowledge will rub off on them.

Sure, Garrett, an Emmy-award winner, can help with that, but the reason he leads the series of classes at the Edgemar Center for the Arts on Main Street is to help people find their comedic voice.

“I don’t think you can teach someone to be funny,” Garrett said. “What I do believe what we can teach is where the jokes are — the time and pace of working with a partner.”

This will be the fourth time he’s led the six-week course at Edgemar. He does it to give something back to others who are trying to find their funny. He realized that not many acting schools focus on the art of the sitcom, let alone led by somebody with Garrett’s chops and time in the business. Garrett is trying to impart some of the teachings he received as a young comic that don’t come so easily.

Having served as both an actor and producer during his time on TV, it gives him a unique perspective that he’s eager to pass on.

“I’ve seen how both sides of the industry work,” he said. “I’ve had a real cold wake up call to all the ends of the business.”

Once students realize that Garrett isn’t going to line them up with an agent, Garrett digs in.

His primary teaching tool: Fearless freedom finds funny.

Being relaxed is key for any aspiring comic who hopes to be fearless.

“It’s the only way to get through a scene comedically,” Garrett said. “What we teach is the ability for people to be vulnerable and authentic in any comedy scene.”

The course itself is broken up into six parts. The first three, four-hour sessions are spent working on scene study and character development. The second half of the course sees the student actors working together with partners or in a group on a final comedic scene or monologue of their choice.

The final class is a showcase before a panel of industry professionals who are expected to give candid critiques to Garrett’s students.

Garrett selects people he hopes will be kind, but he isn’t afraid to let his pupils have it if they just aren’t hitting their marks.

“You have to be honest,” he said. “Not everybody is Lucille Ball or John Candy.”

As not to crush anybody’s dreams of comedic stardom, Garrett and the Edgemar staff weed out applicants before they ever step foot in his class.

“They have to have a background,” said Michelle Danner, Edgemar’s artistic director. “We review each student before we admit them into the class.”

For Garrett, he’s just excited about spreading his knowledge of comedy and the hard knocks it takes to get ahead in what is obviously a tough business.

“I tell these new actors, ‘if you blow an audition, you aren’t going to go out again,’” he said. “The best way to be discovered is to kick-ass in an audition.”

The class, which has already been filled, begins July 26 and runs through Aug. 30.

daniela@www.smdp.com

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