In 2016, Venice Theatre advertised a “Stand-Up For Laughs” class with comedian and actor Ashley Strand. Seven people enrolled. Two dropped out after two classes. One died in a tragic accident. Another was told her husband would divorce her if she performed in public.
Three survived and made it through the class show. One was Kathy McSteen, who took the class after two people in one week asked, “Do you do stand-up?” After the first laugh on stage, McSteen was hooked, tried some open mics, and within a couple of months, had her first paid gig. Since then, Kathy's applied her passion for the people and craft of comedy and her business experience to create opportunities for others to shine, perform in their own Florida communities, and learn from seasoned professionals.
McSteen explains, “We're not competing with our wonderful area comedy clubs who bring in top-notch touring entertainers year round. But, a lot of local talent likes to play in their own backyard. And, Florida abounds with clubhouses, groups, and small venues looking for reasonably priced, fun entertainment that can come to them.
"Florida Comedy Network LLC tries to serve that population and help talent achieve their personal goals, whether that's to experience the joy of performing, become the best they can be, or graduate to a club contract or their own show. We also network with established performers and groups to offer audiences the best in Florida talent.
McSteen explains, “My goal is to convert Florida Comedy Network LLC to a non profit that uses show proceeds to sponsor youth workshops to build confidence and mental health, retirement community classes to stimulate memory and achy funny bones, and provide affordable and fun ways for folks of any age to make others laugh, once or for a lifetime. Whether you're delivering the funny or taking it in, humans thrive on humor!"