Infomercial? Reality show? Kyle Cease’s “Comedy Boot Camp”

Kyle Cease "won" the 2009 Comedy Central Stand-Up Showdown, which is a testament to his humor, and/or the amount of time one has on his or her hands to get as many people to vote for him during a limited timeframe (which also is a testament to one's humor/charm). Cease had undergone a lot of self-reflection last year on his MySpace blog, and this year, has decided to turn this into an effort to helping others with their comedy. Seems admirable enough, right? So long as you have the time between your own gigs, I suppose. But something also seemed a little weird. One of Kyle's friends, Chase Roper, wrote this post on Punchline Magazine about Cease's decision to teach stand-up. Neuro-linguistic programming? Something about self-help and "programming" struck an alarm chord, and sure enough, just go ahead and Google NLP and Scientology and you'll find 652,000 results. I'm sure all of this works for plenty of people, and whatever floats your boat and doesn't sink mine is a nice libertarian way to think about life in general, but then, well, just watch this. If you were thinking that Funny People would be the most melodramatic look at comedy this summer, then think again…

This is the official promotional video for what Kyle Cease is doing (his brother, Kevin, put this online), with an "inspirational" assist from Ant. Yes. Ant. And remember when you're watching the people crying and providing testimonials, that this is not a reality show, not an infomercial, not a cult religion, but rather, a COMEDY boot camp:

Please feel free to weigh in with your thoughts, comments, and rebuttals!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →

47 thoughts on “Infomercial? Reality show? Kyle Cease’s “Comedy Boot Camp”

  1. This is by far the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen. If this is a joke, Kyle Cease is my favorite comic ever. If this is real, he MUST be stopped. Bad comedy is like a virus and Kyle Cease is patient zero.

  2. Do you guys see what Cease is doing here? He’s been through a lot of self improvement. The work and effort that he has put in has paid off and instead of being selfish and thinking about himself, he’s decided to go and help other people. He’s found a model that works, and is teaching other people that model so that they may one day achieve great success? What’s so wrong about that?

  3. I’ve talked to a few people who think it’s great that Kyle is not only helping others, but doing so in a way that does not emphasize the wacky element of comedy.
    That said, everyone has said that this video has a weird vibe/tone to it.
    One person asked me if this was a pitch for a TV show, and Chase had suggested as much on Sunday, so I wonder if it changes anyone’s opinions if you look at this as such. Regardless, including Ant as an example of being honest about your comedy just makes people say, “What the what?!” And why is he making his students cry again? Oh, right. Boot camp.
    So my mixed opinion stands. I can see that Kyle wants to do something good with comedy, but something about it (or the presentation of it) seems tonally off.

  4. Saw someone I know in the audience…I’ll have to ask him what his experience was like.
    If he points at me and screeches like Donald Sutherland at the end of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”–then we’ll know something is up.

  5. This is Kyle Cease. Another comedian friend of mine pointed out that this article exists, so I felt the need to discuss. I have no clue why the negative arc on this article and bootcamp is necessary, but I will still respond the best I can to these bizarre accusations.
    Like many comics, I went through a major low in my life and had the hardest time trying to figure out the best way to take care of it. I didn’t want to do drugs, and I am not religious.
    I also did not know what my anxiety was caused by, so I just read some books by numerous authors and doctors and learned how my anxiety was winning. I came out of the anxiety, ended up losing 50 pounds, bought a house, got out of a bad relationship, and had the number one half hour special of 2006. (Not from votes, as your article ignorantly mentions, which I don’t want to take the time to respond to.) I have just honestly been happier because I learned how to be.
    This has nothing to do with scientology. I have never read a book from Hubbard, or been to a scientology church or anything. For you to say “google scientology and NLP and you get a lot of results” is so annoying, because if you google any 2 words you will get results.
    NLP is understanding how we link things together emotionally. It is a psychological assistant in not making you scared of things. Many of the peak performers, politicians, athletes, study it, also many top comedians. (Most of them, not scientologists) I am helping them to LINK the stage to the same feeling they have when they were a kid about to go to a playground. That’s all, that way you will be comfortable on stage. Why does this article have to start with “infomercial? Reality show? Cult?” Are those the only 3 options? How about “different, change, help, growth, opportunity?” Also what would be bad about this being a reality show? Have you just decided that would be bad, so we shouldn’t do it?
    My bootcamp is about being ok with the sh*t in your life and using it on stage. Carlin, Pryor, Cosby, Hicks, are legends because they speak the truth and don’t talk about airplane food like most road hacks. It is about their abuses, struggles, etc. I don’t get how you can see the bad in that. I actually want to teach them to be a good comic and not just teach them setups and punchlines like other people.
    Maybe this is scary to you because its different and you believe that different is bad. These comics all had agents and casting directors out to see them. They performed amazing sets that really broke barriers because they were original and true, unlike many, many comics. Several industry members have discussed with me picking up some of my comics.
    My goal is to fill the clubs again and restart the comedy boom. And yes, I will expect to get paid for my work too.
    We are low on comics encouraging other comics and helping them out. If we support each other and refer each other, every club would be sold out. But when we say the reasons why we can’t do anything, the clubs are empty.
    My students end up on the road with me and many of the other headliners that were there that weekend. Don’t knock it til you tried it. You weren’t there, you saw a 4 minute video. If it looked bad to you, that just shows were your focus is.
    They are getting work and I am the only comic that is offering that. Therefore you think its a cult. As my friend John Heffron said to me today, “You are teaching them to balance before they walk, that’s more effective then teaching them left foot right foot.” Depth is so much more important then the basic ways to tell a joke. Your foundation is the most important part.
    I challenge you to find the good in this and think maybe something new and cool could seriously come of this.
    We could all collaborate and fill the clubs again. Also maybe some great comics will come out of this. Then what?
    I will also use this article to mention I will have another one coming up, do to the success of the last one. I would love to request the presence of the person who wrote this aritcle, to actually come and review the entire event.
    Also many of my comics are opening for me at Irvine Improv this weekend, if anyone wants to come out,

  6. As a stand up comic who is still making a name for herself, I WISH I could have gone to the boot camp. It obviously made a huge positive impact on all who attended.

  7. Unfortunately ignorance is bliss. Those who are not willing to experience new things or willing to seek out the reasons why they are blocked from moving forward with their goals in life will always see seminars such as this as odd, cult like, weird or a con.
    There are many “comedy teachers” out there who would tell you that they have the key to success and offer it up to you for a price. I know a couple of them based on my own experience.
    Kyle didn’t offer a free pass or promise that once you take his seminar you will instantly jump to the top of the game.
    He, his brother and the other comics including Ant, Brent Ernst, Chris Porter, Steve Wilson and Guy Torrey to name just a few comics as well as managers, comedy store owners gave us newer comics positive inspirational advice on how to connect to yourself to be the best comic you could be and how to succeed in the industry that will rarely give you a second chance if you don’t have it right the first time you are seen by those who count.
    So if you can’t scream, cry, yell or commit to yourself that you really want to do this then as the saying goes “you need not apply”. As one of the speakers said “There is a lot of poison out there in the industry, try to avoid it and be positive”
    As for me I am ready to get my purple Nike’s on and drink the purple coolaid again.
    Thanks Kyle and everyone else at the Bootcamp. After leaving there I went to Seattle at the invite of Kyle and crushed in 6 shows he set me up with. Kyle talks the talk and walks the walk (corny but true).

  8. I googled the comics comic and NLP and got 88,100 results! Are you guys hiding something?
    I also googled “2 google words together” and got 109,000,000 results.
    I also want to say that ANT was incredible and if I were gay we would live in a house together.

  9. if you were not at the Bootcamp, how can you review it? i think that everyone who has written a comment who thinks that this was”hokey or cult-like” should spend an hour with Kyle Cease. i can promise you that you will be inspired. He makes things happen, he doesn’t just sit around thinking what if? he thinks how can i make this happen!!
    I have taken a few comedy classes from different teachers and they all have told me that i have to do this and that. i must memorize my material, you can’t say this, like that cuz that is wrong. you can’t take that mic out of the stand,then you look nervous, you should stand like this. ..well me being me … I am Shawna Whitlock-remember the name!! i don’t speak in complete sentences, i move around like a crazy person, i am nervous and awkward and these are things that i have been told are not funny. but they are!!!
    kyle has been the only teacher who has gotten me to literally toss my material on the floor and just go with what my brain tells me to do or say… and it worked!! it is very brave to do that… it is so easy to memorize something but then the honesty might be lost. before i was just funny, now i am hilarious! kyle has helped me realize that you being you is way more interesting “than here is my joke.”
    thank you to kyle and kevin and all the bootcampers… and my dog cuz i love him:)
    this Kyle Cease Bootcamp was so inspiring and magical and that says a lot cuz i used to work for the MOUSe!!
    i bet all you skeptics are probably skeptical about High School Musical and Hannah Montana, but those movies make me really happy. and maybe instead of writing a not so nice review about something that you did not even attend, you should just turn on some music and DANCE! or you can dance without music, but that is not the norm, so you should probably dance with music.
    nice to meet all of you… have a great day Comics Comic:)

  10. I wasn’t going to comment on this, only because life is too short to watch any video featuring Ant.
    But after reading the comments on this article, I have to say that this sounds completely like a cult. The fact that Kyle Cease discovered this article, and this was immediately followed by his acolytes leaving lengthy denunciations on this site. Ugh. I’m steering clear of all parties involved.

  11. Also, can I make a motion that “airplane food” officially be retired as the standard of hack? There are a lot of ways to be a hack, and nobody really talks about airplane food anymore. As examples of hack go, it’s pretty hack.

  12. I’m responding as a headlining stand up comic and someone who teaches stand up comedy and public speaking. I don’t know Kyle and have not attended his training.
    The negative comments and tone of this article I think reflect what I think is a misguided assumption that stand up comedy is an art form that somehow is beyond the realm of any sort of coaching or training. Yet in every other art form – acting, music, writing … – those involved see the value of ongoing teaching, training. Famous actors have acting coaches; musicians learn from and take lessons with better musicians; writers take classes.
    Yet with stand up comedy there’s this old school out dated thinking that this doesn’t apply. Let‚Äôs be clear, taking a stand up comedy course does not magically turn you into a professional stand up comic. That takes intense desire, persistence, and dedication. But, it also takes a willingness to learn and request feedback. Every professional stand up comic has a willingness to learn and use feedback. They had to. For most of us feedback was obtained informally ‚Äì i.e. from more experienced comics; club owners; bookers and most importantly, audiences. And, much of that feedback, especially from bitter veteran comics, may not have been constructive, supportive or accurate.
    Stand up comedy courses taught by those with relevant experience combined with teaching and coaching skills can be used to enhance the other more informal assistance comics receive. And, linking proven methods like NLP to the process of teaching stand up comedy makes a lot of sense.
    Also, these negative comments also reek of this ignorant, hipster backlash against the self help industry. It seems that many comedians think it’s cool to shit on people like Anthony Robbins, Jack Canfield, and books like The Secret. Yet, most people who are shitting on these methods have never tried them and are not really succeeding in their lives to the extent they would like to.
    What Kyle is doing seems like an excellent way to teach stand up comedy. More importantly, it seems like the people who attended got a lot out of Kyle’s course. Bravo.

  13. Thanks for all of your comments. I hope you do realize that my real problem — and the reason I even posted something about this — was with the video.
    I stand by what I said. It’s great that Kyle has decided after a period of self-reflection to help other comedians. But this video, with its melodramatic sweeping musical score, participants standing with eyes closed and wiping back tears, saying unfunny things and getting their “honesty in comedy” cues from Ant, doesn’t do the trick.
    As far as linking NLP and Scientology, well, we can have a completely separate debate on that with the scientific community, who have done that enough times to create all of those Google links. And for the record, typing “comic’s comic” NLP in Google lists only 33 results, many of those thanks to this original post. So I guess I’m also saying someone needs to learn how to Google.

  14. Maybe I’m wrong, but I took Sean’s original post on this to be a reaction to the VIDEO CLIP…which does seem “odd”, from a tonal perspective, to what one might expect from a video advertising a comedy class.
    I’ve met Kyle, worked with Kyle (Hi Kyle!) and I enjoy what he does. I’ve read his blog entries about the craft of comedy. I wouldn’t doubt that if he’s offering a serious approach to sharing the craft of comedy as he knows it that it would be valuable.
    However, I agreed with Sean that the video made it seem more like EST session. It seemed weird, from an outsider’s perspective.
    To question “Wow, what’s up with this?” isn’t unreasonable. To question whether or not it might be a cult is obvious hyperbole drawn to make one’s writing/humor more entertaining.
    I wish Kyle would have responded to this with a chuckle, a wave of his hand and a simple “No, it’s not a cult…silly.” But, obviously this is important to Kyle and he sincerely wants his efforts to be understood and positively reacted to…
    I think all comedians struggle to be taken seriously when they’re being sincere, especially in a video clip…because we’re so trained to assume satire or parody.
    I also think that it’s fair to point out that when one thinks of comedians that really dredge up their inner pain and react honestly in their comedy on the major issues of their lives…that you wouldn’t automatically think of either Kyle or Ant.
    No offense, Kyle…and I hope you know that I’m a fan of your work, but when I think of your comedy efforts, I tend to think of your fun and clever deconstruction of pop cultural relics from our shared youth.
    And I try not to think of Ant…
    THAT SAID–earlier, I mentioned that I recognized someone I know in the audience of this video clip…and I asked him about the Comedy Bootcamp. He spoke positively about his experience…and he said that Ant was surprisingly genuine and inspirational.
    So, in the end, regardless of what any of us have to say about this video clip…it sounds like those who attended got value out of it.
    peter greyy–seattle

  15. Hi Sean,
    I guess any commercial on TV seems pretty ridiculous when you break it down. They’re so self promotional and sometimes overly dramatizing. Especially for unscripted dramas like Big Brother and The Amazing Race. An announcer will share about much these perfect strangers’ lives will be changed, etc. So sure, the video commercial for this event (be it a possible TV pitch or DVD box set) could be put in that box.
    I still don’t understand why you connected NLP and Scientology and why you would suggest readers to go google those two words if they want to get a better understanding of what this boot camp might be about. I think that’s a big jump to make and sort of insinuates that Kyle is attempting to form his own religion and rip people off.
    I am not a self-help kind of guy really and I have never been to or watched a Tony Robbins seminar, but before my I wrote up the interview you linked to, I learned that Tony refers to his technique as Neuro-Linguistic Conditioning instead of Programming. Apparently, he feels the same about the Controlling connotations that the word Programming has and thinks that what he is really doing is helping people condition their own minds and take better control of themselves.
    Lastly, I wanted to add that I will be holding my own Blogging workshop in Olympia, WA and all anyone needs to sign up is $45, a laptop computer, stop all communication from your friends and family, and purchase one of my patented portable E-Meter devices. Blogging is tough if you’re surrounded by thetans!

  16. I get that the main focus of the original article was the video. Perhaps it was my own bias that read into it being about teaching stand up comedy in general.
    That said, I love poking a stick in the hornet’s nest of comedians who immediately dismiss the concept that coaching or training can be effective.
    Even Michael Jordan credited Phil Jackson with being an effective coach. If you want to improve at anything, the right kind of coaching and training can help.
    End of sermon.
    I watched the video again and will say that the musical score has a Merchant/Ivory tone to it that initially makes me wonder whether the video is a parody or not. I kept expecting Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson to give a testimonial.
    Still, I think Kyle is on to something really good and obviously people are happy with the results.
    Good work on the blog by the way. Daily reader.

  17. I would think that the only meaningful criteria to measure the success of a comedy class would be how funny the students are, yeah? I mean, I’m all for chasing down your inner demons, but if at the end of the day, you’re not funny, then the coaching wasn’t successful. If the video had included some, you know, funny stuff, I’d be more willing to believe the boot camp is a productive thing.
    I mean, I’m sure it was a profound experience in a lot of ways. Baring your soul to a room of strangers and doing a lot of those exercises could lead to a lot of personal breakthoughs. But if at the end of the day, the jokes aren’t funny, then it’s not really a very good comedy class, is it?

  18. A question about the teaching of standup, or of any art, or sport for that matter, since the comparison has been brought up.
    Obviously if Michael Jordan takes some basketball coaching and the coaching is good, he’s going to be a better basketball player afterwards.
    And if the comedy equivalent of Michael Jordan takes a standup class, very likely if the teacher is good, that person will be a better standup.
    (Both the basketball player and the comedian could likely have improved on their own as well, but maybe the coaching sped things along, which is great.)
    But what about the people without as much (if any) natural ability?
    Could Michael Jordan’s coach make a good basketball player out of a horribly uncoordinated, physically clumsy, awkward human who just loves basketball and really wants to be good at it?
    Even if the coach is great, isn’t there only so much they could do, if the natural talent isn’t there?
    Michael Jordan can be coached, great musicians can be coached, great actors can be coached, and they can all improve.
    But not everyone taking a comedy class necessarily has the corresponding innate comedy ability that would make them able to get the most out of even a great comedy coach’s teachings, no?
    Isn’t some of the backlash against the idea of teaching comedy actually positively motivated to protect such people from wasting their money?
    That’s honestly why I would recommend against someone taking a comedy class; not that I’m a comedy snob, not even because classes might not help, but because people can do it without classes, without that extra expenditure, and because every great comedian who I’ve ever heard give advice to those starting out has just said basically “Get out there and do it.”
    That IS the great thing about the art form, is you don’t need special skills or training.
    (To play the violin, it’s important to start with a teacher who tells you how to hold it properly, but it’s considerably simpler to learn the posture of holding a microphone on one’s own.)
    And then, like has been said, one does learn mostly from audiences. And also your peers and colleagues who become friends, ideally constructive and honest people you can exchange positive and realistic assessments with.
    I’m not saying that people shouldn’t take this class, or any class, and I’m not saying there aren’t people who can help some people become better comedians, but sincerely, if a standup teacher claims that they can make ANYONE into a great standup, I would find that claim suspect. (Just as I would if Michael Jordan’s coach claimed he could turn anyone into a great basketball player.)

  19. Good post Myq. I agree with some of what you posted. Just to clarify.
    My position is that coaching and training can improve your skills at anything if you choose to use it and do the work required. If a qualified stand up comedy coach (i.e. not just in terms of having been a pro for certain years, but also has some coaching/training skills) claims that he can “turn anyone into a pro comic”, that is not true. If he claims that he can help anyone improve who has the desire to improve, that is true.
    Let’s go back to my Michael Jordan/Phil Jackson analogy. Let’s say you took MJ and me in my physical prime (assuming I ever had one). Both of us get coached by Phil for a year. And (here’s the big “and”) both of us do the work required – i.e. take advice; utilize what we have been taught; practice, etc.
    At the end of that year Michael Jordan will be Michael Jordan. I will be me. No where near as good as Michael Jordan. In fact, no where near good enough to even play in the NBA.
    However, I bet you anything that at the end of that year with the Zen master I have improved my game enough that I could go to the local Y on the weekend and smoke you and your buddies in a game of pick up basketball. If my goal was to improve my game – mission accomplished. If my goal was to be as good as Michael Jordan – delusional goal.
    Also, Phil Jackson would have never guaranteed I’d be as good as Michael Jordan – simply that if I put in the work, I would vastly improve my game.
    I take issue with the “some got it, some don’t” argument because it discounts the amount of work it takes to excel at any endeavor. Yes, everyone has different levels of natural ability in every field. However, success really is what you do with that ability.
    If you’re a pro comic I guarantee you can name some open mic comics you met along the way who were really funny but are no longer doing comedy. Why? Didn’t want it enough. Didn’t want to put in the work.
    It’s insulting to me as a pro comic with over 15 years experience when someone discounts where I got to with “you’re just funny”. Sure, but I also worked my ass off doing sh*t gigs and perfecting my writing and performing ability. And, I used feedback and was willing to change what wasn’t working.
    If you are a pro comic, give yourself more credit. You aren’t just a “funny guy”, you’re a funny guy who had the persistence, drive, and willingness to learn and rebound from rejection it takes to get to the level of pro comic.
    Harold Minor had pretty much the same physical gifts as Michael Jordan according to basketball experts. But if you know basketball, you know MJ worked harder and practiced harder than anyone.
    One last thing. You also assume that most people who take a stand up class do so because they all want to be pro comics. In my experience, that’s not the case. People have a variety of reasons but it mostly comes down to wanting to improve their skills at something. Becoming a pro comic is a choice that takes desire, commitment and persistence.

  20. Whatever the reason people want to take a class, that’s fine, my only point is that most (if not all) learning in standup comedy CAN be accomplished for free on the job, at open mikes, in the field, however you want to put it.
    Certainly, anyone is free to spend their money however they like, and I don’t disagree that most people can improve from knowledgeable, caring, and positively motivated guidance, but it’s likely that most people will improve simply by doing, as well.
    Because of the nature of standup, I think this is actually more true for this art/craft than it is for many other endeavors (like sports, or musical instruments that involve more specific craftsmanship and technique). I don’t think it’s an anti-standup class bias, I think it’s a pro-doing standup view of standup, that’s all.
    PS I like Kyle, and this seems like a positive experience for people taking the class, as long as people are getting out of it what they expect to get out of it. Enjoy!

  21. But we’re not talking about “training”. Training is getting out there, and writing jokes, and performing them. And every comic does that, and if they don’t, they’re not worthy of the name.
    What we’re talking about here is a man making extravagant claims, and crediting those claims to “neuro-linguistic programming”. Now, that’s not solely a Scientology technique. But it is a technique used by Scientology. It’s also used by a number of other cult and quasi-cult organizations, from the Landmark Forum to est to Tony Robbins. And… that’s about it. You won’t really find legitimate, respected sources promoting it — pretty much what you’ll find is some guy who wants you to pay 800 bucks for a “seminar” in a hotel conference room down by the airport.
    I mean, I don’t care — distance yourself from the word cult if you really want. It’s an emotionally charged word, and it implies a lot of things, some of which probably aren’t accurate in this case. But that much having been said, there’s just about a one-to-one correspondence between “people and groups talking about ‘neuro-linguistic programming'” and “people and groups who make a lot of money off desperate, vulnerable people.”
    So if you’re using the language and techniques commonly associated with these kinds of fraudulent and exploitative gurus, you’d better have a pretty good explanation for what makes you NOT a fraudulent and exploitative guru. All this Cease guy seems willing to offer is “no, it’s good! Trust me!” Pardon me if I’m not convinced.

  22. And because I clearly have nothing better to do today … a response to Timmy Mac’s comment!
    ‚ÄúI would think that the only meaningful criteria to measure the success of a comedy class would be how funny the students are, yeah? I mean, I’m all for chasing down your inner demons, but if at the end of the day, you’re not funny, then the coaching wasn’t successful. If the video had included some, you know, funny stuff, I’d be more willing to believe the boot camp is a productive thing.‚Äù
    I‚Äôm not debating whether the clips were funny or not, or the inner demon chasing, or the NLP stuff. Here’s the thing. The video showed very little actual stand up. And it was also in the context of a workshop. Not to get all math geek here, but the sample we saw is not statistically valid. In order to judge the effectiveness in terms of your criteria (are the students funny) we‚Äôd have to:
    • See every student’s entire sets. Coming into the course and exiting and compare the two.
    • Get all of their bios – i.e. how much experience does each student have. Can’t judge a first timer and someone with a few years experience the same way.
    • Most importantly РMeasure their improvement over time. Another basketball analogy (I love my b-ball despite being Canadian!). If someone came in Friday to teach Shaq how to shoot free throws at better than 50%, would you expect him to consistently be a 98% free throw shooter Monday morning? I wouldn’t. Most coaches wouldn’t either. I’d hope by the end of the season he could get up to maybe 75%. Same with comedy students. Will they be funnier a year from the course, with practice, real experience, hard work etc. then when they walked into the course? That’s a valid measurement.
    • Adjust for the fact that comedy is subjective. Your opinion was the clips weren’t funny. Perhaps someone else might disagree.

  23. I have been thinking about the feedback that I have been given from everyone. The original intention was to create a pitch for something, not to sell the actual bootcamp. Many great things came out of the bootcamp. As I look at this trailer more and more, I take in the notes from this blog and see how it doesn’t show enough of the processes that caused these people to go through these changes, and how that links to standup. In the process of helping people find their voices, they had their own self discoveries, but when you don’t see that connection, its different. Therefore all you see is me talking, then people crying with dramatic music playing over it. Which can look good and bad depending on the person watching. I think one thing that can be really helpful for people is to be open to feedback, which is why I would like to take this video down and put up a new trailer that more accurately represents what happened. I want to thank Sean and all comments made for helping me see this from the perspective of someone who wasn’t there. Great things happened, I felt good, so I wanted to show that. New trailer coming soon.

  24. ECN,
    the fact that cults may employ a version of NLP on their victims does not mean that NLP is in itself directly correlated to cults. That argument suggests that if the majority of Scientologists speak English, then English must be a cult language.
    I just cannot emphasize enough how much this was NOT at all related to anything that even resembles Scientology.

  25. That much having been said, if EVERYBODY employing NLP is either a cult or, at best, a shady “self-help” organization (the Landmark Forum, Est, Tony Robbins, etc.) widely known known for manipulating vulnerable people into giving them large sums of money… well, that fact does speak to the validity of NLP, and it does automatically call into question any new organization which employs it.
    And as I said, I’m not saying this is a cult — cults are larger, more all-encompassing. I get that. I’m not even saying this is NECESSARILY an organization designed to fleece the desperate. But between the NLP, the extravagant and unverified claims of success, the manipulation of people into emotional breakdowns on stage… I mean, come on. You show me any reputable organization that does all that stuff and ISN’T fleecing the desperate. Heck, you show me any reputable organization that’s selling NLP to people as though it were a legitimate thing. That’s my point. THERE ISN’T ONE.

  26. I am going to keep myself anonymous so that this guy doesn’t write a negative article about me.
    To all of the people attacking NLP…. ECN, this article etc. I am a comic who used NLP right before a late night appearance and had one of the best spots of my life. I had been nervous before, then I was trained to see how to fix it. I had total control and recieved many more appearances on that show.
    I think that people who are against this are truly ignorant and fall into the category of people who dont know anything about this.
    Obviously Kyle is not at all a cult and what he is doing seems incredible. He is doing something positive and helping people who want to be comics do it also.
    Also, from what I heard, he was offering for people to see and meet casting directors, agents, club owners, and other comics, then perform in front of them at a club in So Cal. That is worth thousands of dollars. The connections people could make at that could be endless. But the problem for him is he has to swim upstream against this kind of crap to help out.
    Most headliners could give a crap about opening comics and only think of themselves. For this article to come out as a possible negative is so sad.
    Many top performers have been through NLP. Most people who were ranked at the top like Mike Tyson, Bill Clinton, Nelson Madella, Princess Diana, Quincy Jones and thousands of others had studied with Tony Robbins. Any type of Hypnosis, is NLP. Learning why you have fears is NLP.
    You go through NLP everyday, you just dont know about it. You program links to yourself every second. Kyle is only making you aware of that. It is how acting coaches teach, it is how everyone teaches who wants results.
    For ECN to just say stupid stuff about Tony Robbins and others when he clearly hasn’t experienced it is ridiculous. Tony Robbins might be known as a joke to some people (usually much less successful ones) but did you know that many people have become happier from what they learned? Did you know that this is ok? Did you know that he is recommended as one of the top 500 business intellectuals in the world? He doesn’t do anything that is dangerous, he makes people perform at their ultimate best.
    I have heard many comedians say that what Kyle Cease is doing is incredible. They think that it is smart and very helpful to people. He is giving them opportunities that no one else is.
    I used to like this publication more. I think it is sad that this article came out with this slant.

  27. Okay… do you realize that what you have spit back at me here is ridiculous propaganda, distributed by Tony Robbins and his ilk?
    Do you realize that it’s riddled with unsourced and unsourceable statements?
    Do you realize that the line “he is recommended as one of the top 500 business intellectuals in the world” is utterly hilarious, and instantly negates any credibility you might have had? (I mean, even aside from the notion of “business intellectuals”, what exactly do you think the business community is doing? Do you think they are sitting around compiling some vague, twisted variation on the Billboard pop charts? For PEOPLE?
    Or do you think that Tony Robbins, veteran scam artist and confidence guru that he is, has affixed a bunch of vague and meaningless verbiage to his name, and you are buying it wholesale? Because if you haven’t thought of the latter, you should probably think again.)
    Basically, what I’m saying is that your utter naivete here — or your utter feigned naivete; I honestly don’t know — could not be more evident.
    One more thing. You say that “(Cease) was offering for people to see and meet casting directors, agents, club owners, and other comics, then perform in front of them at a club in So Cal. That is worth thousands of dollars. The connections people could make at that could be endless.” Surely it’s clear to you that that’s a much less esoteric kind of scam, right? I mean, it must be, right? I mean, I know people fall for this bullshit, but I always sort of assumed they realized how stupid an idea it was after a while. Go realize.

  28. Cult?! Tony Robbins running a cult?!
    Poppycock! I’m in the Robbins compound right now and I can tell you that it is no way a cult. Want me to prove it Mr. Skeptic ECN (if that’s your real name)?
    • Cult members are not allowed to come and go as they please. I can leave this electric fenced in compound any time I damn well please. As long as I leave my wallet and shoes at the compound. And be accompanied by an elder.
    • Cult leaders perform “false miracles”. Here’s what our glorious leader did just last week – front row tickets to Jersey Boys! That’s a f*cking real miracle!
    • Members are deliberately put into psychologically distressing situations. Preposterous! Glorious leader Robbins and I had a great laugh about this just yesterday night as I was watching him fornicate with my wife while I was tied to a chair.
    • Cult members get a new identity from the group. Nonsense. I’m still me – good old Vishna Prima Shanti number 29.
    • Cults have an underlying militaristic agenda. 500 crossbows and a few hundred canisters of nerve gas? Please! We’d be lucky to take over a casino full of old people with this crap.
    Oh and by the way – lighten up everybody! It’s a f*cking comedy site!!!

  29. Nice job ducking the argument at hand. Haven’t I repeatedly said “cult” was an exaggeration to describe both Tony Robbins’ scam and this scam? Or did you not read that? Oh, of course you did, you just want to keep defending this fraud and his fraudulent money-making scheme, and straw-man arguments are the most convenient way.
    I mean, I’m pretty much done here. The fact is, “neuro-linguistic programming” is a bunch of pseudoscientific nonsense, touted solely by con artists. That’s a fact. Every legitimate study done by unbiased investigators has shown that it does nothing; it has no support in the psychological/psychiatric community. (You can carry on and say “the doctors are saying it’s not real because they’re AFRAID of it,” or what have you, if you like. That’s always my favorite part of any argument with a lunatic — the part where they ignore both basic human nature and the nature of the academic community. Fun, fun, fun!)
    I mean, there’s probably a placebo effect — maybe you’re going to go to a thing like this, feel like you need to justify the expense in your mind, and get some writing done or whatever. Seems like an awfully expensive placebo to me, but there you go.
    And some parts of the description I’ve read sound a lot like a regular comedy class, which… well, you can say what you want about those, but maybe the advice would be helpful to some people?
    But yeah, anyone willing to do even the most cursory research about the history of NLP should realize what a load of garbage it is. And if they don’t, well, it’s not going to help them for me to tell them any further.

  30. “Every legitimate study done by unbiased investigators has shown that it does nothing. . .”
    Unbiased investigators are clearly very biased due their own strongly driven need to be so UNbiased.
    A true unbiased investigator – a kitten.
    Also, I don’t know if ECN is a person, an organization, or a heel wrestling federation team.

  31. When you find a kitten that can conduct a proper double-blind experiment, send him to me. Until then, I’ll be over here in the reality-based community.

  32. Cool, everyone’s reality is different. Maybe we can use different references to see what reality we have. For instance, what is a reality to extremely successful people is completely different then what is reality to non successful people. It depends on the references we choose to focus on.
    People who study Obama’s presidential run, a run that originally could have been looked at as not realistic (no matter what your political opinion is, you know that originally, the reality was “A black person will not be president.”
    People who have thought out of the box and made themselves successful have a completely different reference then people who study non-successful people, hang around people who say “You can’t do that.”, or “You shouldn’t do that.” and then create their own “reality” .
    A fat person’s reality is a diet is too much work. Someone who lost a ton of weight has a reality of anything is possible.
    People who make progress and are around major successful people start to see that as their reality, so they make different decisions to make that reality possible.
    Everyone is different, the cool thing is after a while your reality can change.
    ECN’s reality is “This stuff isn’t real.”, or “It’s a scam.” So for him, this isn’t possible.
    For others it is.
    You are both right.

  33. No, the nature of reality isn’t “different” for different people. In the immortal words of Daniel Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” And the facts are that NLP does not work. It doesn’t hold together or even make sense on a theoretical level, and whenever anyone has bothered to really look at it in a scientific environment, it has been shown to produce nothing of value.
    Those are the facts.
    You can’t turn around and say say “well, okay, those are YOUR facts, here are my ‘facts’.” Well, you know, unless you HAVE facts. Which you don’t — you have ill-considered and internally inconsistent propaganda.
    That’s the thing about reality — you can toss around as much verbiage as you like, reality is what’s actually there. And what’s actually there is a con artist trying to bilk desperate and gullible people out of their money with extravagant promises and emotional manipulation. In my opinion, that is the lowest thing anyone can do — not only commit fraud, but commit it upon vulnerable people, people who don’t have the money to give. And I hate, hate, hate the idea that any of this fraudulent garbage could be done in the name of comedy.

  34. How is it a fact that NLP doesn’t work when you have proof that it helped other people all over the place? That is proof that it does work too, that is why everyone’s reality is different.
    Obviously if you went in to it doubting it, you would get no results and your ego would be right. Maybe you would rather be right then happy.
    But sometimes going with it and being open to it makes you have different results.
    You can sit here and doubt all day, but you aren’t doing anything useful taking away these peoples’ dreams, and stopping them from going after them.
    What if you doubted we could land on the moon in the 60’s and you told everyone and they believed you? They wouldn’t have even tried.
    Sometimes stuff like The Secret and stuff is just deciding to see things with a positive outcome to force you to go after stuff you wouldn’t have other wise.
    Negative people point out the placebo pill is a sugar pill, so it’s BS. Positive people say “So the person’s beliefs were still curing the illness, then our beliefs are able to do a lot more then we think.”
    Some of the people who go to these things get real results. Allow them to do that.
    You just said “reality is what is actually there.” One thing that is right in front of you is people are saying it worked for them. Maybe it is the NLP, or the placebo effect of it or whatever, but the fact is doing that helped them be better performers, stop smoking and lose weight and get out of anxiety.
    Make sure you reference everything, not just your fact that you have decided is the official and only fact. Maybe you are a little blind too man. There are other facts right in front of you. I’m done.
    Respond all you want and keep “proving us wrong.” I’m going to go write.

  35. Well, we’ll see, I suppose. I don’t have any real power to stop this guy from doing what he’s doing, or to stop people from believing him. I wish I did — this dude is going to get a lot of cash from a lot of people for telling them a lot of nonsense, and that’s not right. That’s my main concern — the whole gouging money from desperate people aspect of it. But, you know, it’s not my money, and it’s not on my conscience. So there’s no use in me getting upset about it.
    But I will say this much: when I’ve got subjective anecdotes pitted against systematically gathered data, I’ll always go for the latter. It’s fine for you to choose the former — call it “your reality” if you like. I’d mostly call it an unwise bet.

  36. So you are saying, it’s not a fact that people said that NLP worked for them? Is it not a fact that people have stated that they had anxieties, did NLP and then stopped having them? Is it not a fact that people have done NLP and then got better at performing?
    Is it not a fact that people have said they went to Kyle Cease’s thing and learned a ton of stuff, got stage time, made contacts and really enjoyed themselves?
    There isn’t a person on here who went to it and felt ripped off, so how can you say blindly it’s a scam, when you have nothing but positive reviews from the people who went there?
    How can you not call those facts? You have people saying that they went through experiences that you obviously haven’t gone through so you just don’t understand.
    Unless everyone is lying, these are all facts too. Period.

  37. Yes. Your subjective anecdotes are “factual,” in the way that all subjective anecdotes are factual. A lot of people really do believe a lot of things out there.

  38. wow. just finally got caught up on all this.
    a note to anyone in the video: you have been seen by your peers, the industry, and anyone who was COOL enough to have it forwarded to them… especially if you got the first version with ‘crying’ ‘cancer’ ‘in and out of jail’ lines… the second version is watered down (although still incred and laughable) BE READY TO BE TALKED ABOUT ALOT. any comic with the right mind would be laughing the whole way through this video. some comics even have the first version saved on their computer. ripped! looking forward to the remixes and slo-motion uploads…
    all in all. kyle – thanks for making this. it is something fun to laugh at with all my friends. comics and non-comics a like. they all think it is beyond funny/unreal/gotta be fake/please let this guy be joking/oh my god this is real/fwd it to me, i wanna send it to my friends/family/co-workers…
    please make more. PLEASE! inlcude the crying next time. let us see what happens in the trenches at boot camp. we all know, any comic who has made something of themselves, started in boot camp.
    wouldn’t you love to know

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