about the idiot workshop
“Get Into a class with this man! It’s a sincere and refreshing approach to the work.
You’ll find your idiot and never look at comedy the same way.”
~ Jet EVELETH
“John is onto something new and visceral and exciting as hell - in class or in the audience you get drawn into a world that is oh so right and deeply deeply wrong." ~ Virginia SCOTT
"I've never laughed more nor gone farther than in my workshops with Gilkey. He creates an electric apmosphere, a wonderful community and the dumbest shit I've ever seen in the best way possible. These classes remind me that I love what I do, and that I'm an idiot." ~ Lani CLAXTON
"These are not easy classes. If you're looking to get coddled in your comedy career look elsewhere.
The Idiot Workshop breaks through the bullshit other classes will kindly skip past.
You will fail beyond measure in class, move past that, and grow beyond what you thought you were capable of.
A must-take class for any aspiring performer or comedian." ~ Ian ORNSTEIN
“John Gilkey's idiot workshop is so good. I keep coming back to it. It's a great opportunity to be wild and out there and explore and go deep and also has just been super useful for all my creative stuff: standup, improv and most recently creating characters. It's just plain fun though, and attracts good people. I like everything about it." ~ Claire TITELMAN
"I think all genius level folks need to take an idiot class...and all idiots need to realize their potential...what a world that would be!!!" ~ Roger FOJAS
“Go. Now. Get up there. Do a show. Make us laugh. With nothing prepared. Terrifying, yes? But not impossible. I was shown just how possible it is every single session with The King of the Idiots. Not just possible but fun, and sometimes downright cathartic.
Warning: This class does contain some mild to medium shoe throwing. At you." ~ Alex Salem
"The skills that I've learned from The Idiot Workshop are lessons that will be with me forever.
The concepts that resonate throughout the Idiot style of comedy have not only enabled me to book commercials
and television appearances, but also thrive as a human being in this beautiful universe." ~ Mark Royer
"I don't know where this guy came from or how he got to be so damn smart and so damn funny. I can only say that he's like a brilliant madman out in the forest. Leave the busy roads of improv, sketch, stand-up or theater and take a wander with old Gilkey. You'll return to your world and your work with a fresher take on comedy and a lot more freedom on stage. The guy's a flat-out brilliant teacher." ~ Alec Jones-Trujillo
"Each class was like a baptism-by-fire in which you emerged from the other side transformed in some way.
I'm a person who has a certain antipathy for most improv comedy, but this is something altogether different. John seems less interested in jokes per se and more interested in abstract relationships between performers which result in a sort of absurdity that finds the performer in an unclassifiable but delicious state of NOT KNOWING. Like an idiot wielding an axe. Sometimes maddening, always empowering and often very, very funny-You won't be disappointed." ~ Matt Hislope
"The Idiot Workshop and the Wet Hippo Collective work toward a fearless offering of what's within the performer, it's not just comedic training. Most other models for improvisation and comedy give you formulas and strategies to create scenes that are all too often set in realistic realms and rarely do they offer more than an equation that results in parody or satire.
If most comedy is geometry, formulas and theorems that you can arrange and rearrange for comedic effect,
the Idiots are chaos theory, inviting some magical initial spark that causes a chain reaction of seemingly unrelated events,
the results of which are an absurd journey through not only comedy,
but all of the territories found within their performers.” ~ Erin Crites
"With The Idiot Workshops, John Gilkey and his cohorts have created the most unique, daring, and challenging comedy class in L.A.. They push you so far over the ledge that you'll surprise yourself with what you're able to create from the heart of your comedy soul. The Idiot Teachers have a knack for pulling out what is uniquely funny about you as an individual and performer. Equal parts scary and supportive, The Idiot Workshops are beyond Stand-Up, beyond Improv, beyond Clown, and beyond all common sense and decency! This is one class that lives up to the hype." ~ Scott Wainio
"Through the Idiot Workshop, I was finally able to address a note I had gotten for two years in a row while just studying improv: Be Bold. Being bold comes through being generous with the audience, which I've only ever been taught by John Gilkey. That's boldness carries into my scene study acting, and into my life.” ~ Carla Garcia
“Since starting classes with the Idiot Workshop, I've found myself taking bigger risks on stage as well as in auditions. Not only do we break the 4th wall and connect to the audience, we break rules within ourselves and push beyond our own limitations. A discovery and understanding what we are capable of expressing both physically and verbally. I'm proud to be a part of this community of Idiots who are supportive of each other and thrive in the child-like energy of play.” ~ Marilyn Mineo
“I was directed to the Idiot Workshop by the director of Absinthe in Las Vegas. I'm now on my 7th session. John's classes have cracked me open in profoundand unexpected ways that no other class I've ever taken has. Because of this class, I've started performing stand up & acting after a 6 year hiatus. This class has given me a new-found freedom and fearlessness on stage that is exhilarating. If I can point to one life-changing gift (there are many) this class has given me; it is to get out of my head and to not be afraid to fail (okay, that's 2 things). I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that THIS IS THE CLASS (its all in caps, so you know I'm super serious) you've been waiting for. If you allow it, this is the class that will euthanize the creativity-killing critic in your brain. I recommend it for ALL levels of performers.” ~ Julie Perkins
“John's classes help you defeat your defense ‘mechanisms’ in order to free an inside voice which is truthful, unique, stubbornly disobedient and beautiful. The learning environment is nothing but kindness and pushes you to go beyond self-conciousness. The act of playing becomes life as the audience (all fellow students and in rapid time, friends) supports and follows you along. You'll survive the class, for sure -- and you also never want to go back to your old self. Suited for all curious people, ages 0.7 to 77777.” ~ Greg Sadetsky
"Guys and gals, this class is absolutely amazing. I came to John after being recommended by a former professor and I'm so glad I did. John is a brilliant teacher who really works at trying to free you up to being your most playful and honest you. He is a clown master, but the class is so much more than that. Check it out or you're missing out." ~ Jake Pino
"Improvisors! Take this class! When you learn that utter and honest failure can be hilarious,
there's nothing left to fear. Why we do what we do." ~ Don Colliver
"John is simply the best teacher you can have. Period. I didn't have any experience in clowning, so I was a bit nervous to take his workshop. But John was so great that I felt safe to be ridiculous as well as challenged by him. Perfect mix. I recommend his workshop to anyone who is a human being. Or something else." ~ Geneviève Albert
“With background in acting, music, and improv, I can say that IDIOT WORK IS WHAT I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR ALL ALONG! I feel like everything I've ever done ever has come to play in this workshop; there is just no way to know where it's going to take you. I'm fully addicted and so excited every time to find out what is going to come out of me. If you want to develop as a comedian, performer, or just a person, get into this world!” ~ Meggan Kaiser
“I have been doing improv for years and there are times when it's awesome and there are are times when it sucks ass. Out of nowhere you can have a bad show that has your performances coming from a place of fear: self judgement, critical of other players, worrying if you're doing it "right"... John will slap that shit out of you. He is an incredibly present instructor. He will get you to express yourself - raw, naked, vulnerable, and goofy as hell! There is never a dull moment. TAKE THIS CLASS. It changed how I approach performing entirely. It is seriously fucking amazing." ~ Jonny Cruz
“The Idiot Workshop is the best damn class in Los Angeles. I never was an honest clown before I had John let me connect with other humans. I recommend this class for everyone who ever wants to perform anything.” ~ Caitlin Bower
“I finally found a craft of comedy that clicked with me after struggling with the rules of traditional improv for 9 years. Idiot Workshop allows so much freedom that there are no rules except one: be funny ya dummy!!” ~ John Wyatt
“Idiot is so awesome. The class combines acting, dancing, and improvising, as well as singing, spasming, and speaking in tongues (or whatever else you may end up channeling). Guided by playful and intelligent teachers, I’ve learned to let go and drop into my own particular way of idioting/being free on stage. Crucially, the idiot curriculum also encourages students to add silence, stillness, and vulnerability to their work— elements that lend profundity and depth to this joyful and chaotic form.” ~ Miriam Katz
“The most profound acting class I have ever taken.
It strips away the bullshit and leaves you standing up there with your soul on your sleeve.” ~ Grayson Morris
“If you are an improvisor John's class will help you up your game. The class teaches you to push your boundaries so you can really affect the audience. I learned to push myself to places I didn't know I could reach. It's zany, fun, and a little scary. Highly recommended." ~ Dave Cook
"One of the most rewarding classes I've ever experienced. Some of the most challenging stuff I've ever done, in a very fun and supportive atmosphere. The best!!" ~ Michelle Sargent
"I really really think the work you have us do is really starting to open up my instrument in ways that it never has before and I can't wait to see what else can be uncovered! Also, I'm scared to go up every time. That's exactly why the work is so important. It also will help me tremendously in my acting and improv. Love it! All comedians and improv actors should take this workshop! Thx John!" ~ Cory Jacob
“John's classes are a gift to the performers that want to push their limits towards greatness. With him you learn how to flirt with the danger of potential failure, and come out alive, enriched, funny, and original. I'm addicted to his classes, and right now, I'm mad as I write this because I'm in Vancouver and can't come to the damn class!!! Merde!” ~ Jean-Louis Darville
"John Gilkey is an intuitive teacher who can push you to those wonderfully awful boundaries where the clown lives." ~ Ilana Turner
"Hey John, thanks for the great times in class, my jaw was sore after every class because I was smiling so much! Every actor or performer should take this class to see how vital a sense of play and irreverence can free you on stage!" ~ Chris Silcox
"This class is AMAZING!!! John is a genius at finding the natural comedy and idiocy that is the human being. You'll learn to be aware of your foolishness and love yourself and others for it. Good place for actors, comedians and improvisers!" ~ Adrian Elizondo
"I HIGHLY recommend if you are a performer of any sort to check out one of my favorite teachers, John Gilkey. Cirque du Soleil clown extraordinaire. I have been studying with him the past few months and it has taught me so much... about being present, connecting with your audience, discovering the honesty in the absurd, the joy of fucking up. Take this class and you will take it to the next level...you will learn so much about yourself. Enjoy" ~ Maggie Lally
“The Idiot Workshop is terrifyingly fun! The skills that I acquired there apply to
all types of live performances and have helped me connect
meaningfully to audiences.” ~ Michael Dias
“As a non-actor, the Idiot Workshop helped me get over the nervousness of being on stage. John's techniques are fun, crazy and challenging all at the same time." ~ Dan Goodsell
“It’s hard to describe this class or put into words what brought me in initially. I wasn't sure what I was seeing the first time I saw Wet The Hippo perform, all I knew was I wanted in. I like that I can't quite define what this is. It forces you to the surface both mentally and physically. Get ready to find the delight in facing both the best and worst parts about yourself.” ~ Lauren Newman
“For me, The idiot class has been a safe and funny place to push beyond my normal boundaries of comfort and find I am capable of far more than I ever expected. And it's hilarious. I'm addicted. I gotta keep coming back.” ~ Helene Udy
“As an idiot French I should say that these gang opened the door for me as a new comer, it was a huge scary challenging and loving experience. I went out of my comfort zone and tried to be as stupid as i usually am. This man knows everything about stupid behavior. Trust me, nuts, stupid and so loving person. Go for it.” ~ Fabrice Boutique
“I'm always terrified before I go to Gilkey's class. But I make myself go because I know when I leave, I'll have pushed myself past whatever fear or inhibitions I'm feeling and discover something stupid or silly or maybe even profound about myself. I may fail or I may approach genius, but no matter what, I leave feeling brave and weird and changed. So don't be dumb and don't be a wimp: take his class.” ~ Kate Huffman
"Any comedian, improviser, actor, musician or performer in general MUST take this class. It stripped everything away that I hid behind, everything that was false and brought forth my true self as an artist and human being. This class changed my life for ever. If you want to be more bold, honest, engaging and heartfelt in whatever work you do, TAKE THIS CLASS DAMMIT!!!” ~ Paul Levenhagen
“I took these classes at a time when I was a little stuck and unable to tap into my own instincts as a comedic person. To kick that shit in the head I found that John's teachings were able to get me to a place where I was really able to open up and have fun on stage again. Like, lots and lots of fun. His genuine and no bullshit communication, comedic knowledge and seemingly experimental approach made me feel excited to perform. Every class I would leave knowing that whatever had happened on stage would satisfy me for the whole week. Tyler is also very inspiring as a teacher and coach. I am able to look at writing character bits in a whole new light. These are classes I hope to take again!” ~ Jillian Dunn
"I have been more prolific in the past 3 months than…since I was coming out of film school. He put me out of school box.” ~ Adam Petke
"You will learn kinesthetic awareness, primal intelligence.
How do fishes, flocks of birds move together? That’s what we’re doing here."
~ Travis Guba
about idiot shows
“Spontaneous theater of the absurd...Lascivious, blasphemous and potentially dangerous...This could be LA’s craziest improv show."
"TOP TEN PICK. The Simple Simples is nuts, and I love it. Director John Gilkey trains performers in his aptly named Idiot Workshops, and the characters’ mix of sincerity and stupidity transcends comedy to reveal some very basic, brutal truths about human nature. This is the kind of comedy we don’t get enough of, and so apropos for Fringe – the show strips each actor on stage of their walls and defenses, allowing us to laugh at the vulnerable character we see mirrored in each of our hearts."
"This show should simply not be missed ...transcendent ...absolutely hilarious ...beautiful ...the whole thing feels like a jazz symphony made up on the spot by Duke, Miles, Coltrane and Fitzgerald. Yes, the members of Wet The Hippo are that good."
L.A. BITTER LEMONS.
“Somehow, Gilkey has managed to assemble the most unassuming yet mesmerizing group of people you’ve seen in Los Angeles. I left feeling more confused, inspired, fulfilled, curious and stunned then any live performance I’ve seen in a while.”
WE MAKE MOVIES
"Beautiful timing that stays ahead of the audience with quick changes and surprises, weaving an absurd logic of its own. The hour flies by."
"Aiming for a comedy that is so far past stupid, that it becomes nonsensically compelling."