Directing and Workshops

What is Naked Comedy?

Naked Comedy does not mean taking your clothes off. No one has ever taken their clothes off in a Naked Comedy class. Okay, one person, once. But seriously that’s it.

Naked Comedy takes inspiration from clown, bouffon, improvisation, physical theater, vulnerability training and the subtle politics and psychologies of audience engagement, to create a workshop which seeks to explode and hone the comedy star inside of you.

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Some Key Naked Comedy Concepts:

YOU ARE FUNNIER NAKED (metaphorically speaking).

You do have to take your metaphorical clothes off in this work. You have to know that you can stand in front of an audience with absolutely nothing, and nonetheless connect, be fascinating, be alive and watchable. And once you know that you can do that, you can do anything.

You have to be vulnerable. You have to be willing to let an audience in on the stuff about you that you may think is shameful. It is not, of course, shameful. It is human. And your bravery in being human with us will move us. Yes, you have to go that deep to be that funny.

We will pay close attention to your body, your comedic instrument. We will study the unique ways you move, with an eye toward expanding and honing your physical vocabulary. We will do some breathwork and muscular release, as well as planks and wall-sits and jumping jacks. Not too many. But we need to get you going. And going you will go.


Audiences go nuts for a performer who has deeply considered the intricate subtleties, politics and psychologies of audience engagement. They think you are magic; they want to be your best friend and they do not know why. In Naked Comedy, we delve into what it means to have an ongoing, non-text-based relationship with the audience, and how you can best elevate every single audience member’s sense of connection to you, to each other and to the spontaneous community you’re all a part of.

Working without the 4th wall is also an amazing training ground for characters and sketches. We develop our characters and sketches with the audience, not at them. And when a performer finds a character or premise with an audience, it feels entirely different than a bit a performer has made up on their own. It feels bigger than the performer. It feels epic. You deserve that kind of epic comedy in your life.



Via Negativa doesn’t work for everyone. It doesn’t work for me. A comedy teacher does not have to scare you to get you to be free or vulnerable or brave. That said, a comedy teacher should not let you get away with crap.

You deserve to be challenged in a nice way.


The role you were born to play is not given to you by a casting director or playwright. It comes out of you, from your own impulses and your unique physicality. It is your alter ego, the you that exists in dreams. You can create the role meant for you. You can build a 5-minute piece, a show, a screenplay.


Your naked self is already a star.




Deanna, I love your style of teaching. Hard lessons, big risks with a soft landing. In your workshop I felt encouraged to push my own boundaries, fears, judgements and personal taboos to the forefront so that they could be celebrated, acknowledged and transformed into laughter. It’s refreshing to have direct feedback which does not pamper the ego and gets directly to the point. There’s a swivel point where our suffering can become our joy, where our failures and dis-eases becomes the elixir of hilarity. I felt you constantly bringing us to meet that place, to explore it and bring light to it and gather deeper, juicier material from it. I felt encouraged and celebrated by you as well as pushed towards deeper and more satisfying performative moments.

Charlie Walker, Vancouver, BC


Before I worked with Deanna, my show received applause. After working with Deanna, I received standing ovations. She lends a dramaturgical strength, playfulness and keen eye to my creation process that has taken me to the next level.

Eric Davis, Red Bastard


I found it amazing how effortlessly Deanna could guide to students to find the best versions of themselves. She managed to even pull the most stubborn performers into choices that they would have never found on their own and they were all the happier for it.

Asaf Ronen, artistic director, Institution Theater


I am deeply impressed with Deanna’s ability to balance professionalism and organized classes with complete fluidity and a go-with-the flow atmosphere necessary for such intimate and personal explorational work. I just can’t say enough good things. She has an uncanny ability to support each individual’s personal work and journey in whatever way they need in the moment. No one student gets the exact same teaching – even when we have the same homework our interpretations are vastly different and Deanna is able to work with each student wherever they’re at. Perhaps, more than anything, I’ve learned a shit ton by watching Deanna and how she teaches and works with people. This class blew my mind! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Paul Sprangers, LA, CA

Deanna has a marvelous ability to lead you to the edge and then support you there – a place of full commitment to yourself while opening to and connecting to others. When you don’t run away from this place, but hold firm and stay present, amazing, funny, heart­–expanding experiences abound. Deanna is a strong, compassionate and gifted teacher. I highly recommend her workshops to anyone interested in challenging themselves, and playing with authenticity, freedom and joy!

Zoe Kimball, Portland


I made breakthroughs when Deanna directed me. She has ways of tapping the intelligence of the body and helping you find inspiration in physicality.

Mark Grenier, improviser and teacher at Magnet Theater, NY, NY


Deanna was such a joy to work with. She is so present and passionate about making you a better performer; her notes vary from general physicality to very small eye or facial movements, and she has an uncanny ability to push and encourage you to the best of your ability while maintaining a very safe and supportive environment. She helped me get out of my head while challenging me. She is great and anyone who is interested in creating a piece or even further cementing their voice should take her workshop!

Willa Song, LA, CA


Deanna is an expert at fostering a sense of play in the rehearsal room. She has a special ability to find what is unique and exciting in an actor’s persona and bring that to the forefront in their work . With her guidance we organically created comedic characters that fit us like a glove which have been enormously successful.

Joe Kolbow and Johnnie Niel, The Donovan Ensemble


I came to Deanna because I was looking to be more physical as an improviser. What I discovered was her workshop build countless other muscles that conventional classes overlook: harnessing the power of failure and vulnerability; creating stage pictures and silent emotional connections with scene partners; and learning how to let go of agendas and be truly free on-stage. I can’t recommend her enough.

Chad Damiani, LA, CA


Deanna created such a safe and playful environment in this workshop, which enabled us all to explore and create wonderful clowning moments. It was so special to witness the transformations of others and feel the joy and sadness in this workshop.  Deanna was so skillful as she gently, yet firmly coached was through the process of discovering our “naked selves.” Her challenges to drop our schtick was fantastic as so often in impro we don’t get called out for these behaviours, but rewarded with laughter. After playing with high and low status, I realised I loved the low status more – which is in contrast to the characters I normally play- so I can’t wait to work on this more in future shows. I think this workshop would be so valuable for a troupe or an ensemble to complete – team bonding galore!

Anna Renzenbrink, Austin, TX


Deanna teaches WAY out of the box. She is tough and demanding – you’ll leave rehearsals wiped out because she pushes you to work hard and try new things. She’s fun and funny and loves what she does.

T.J. Mannix, teacher at Magnet Theater, NY, NY


Of the several clown workshops I’ve taken, Deanna’s strips down the performer and wall with the audience on the most visceral, yet natural and freeing way. Her methods and deft coaching brought every performer repeatedly to moments of total visibility. I left thinking and feeling that I understood what clown was, I have since applied it to skills such as rap, hosting, and storytelling. Thank you, Deanna, and I can’t wait to see your show.

Clint Vrazel, artistic director, OK Theater


Deanna Fleysher’s Naked Comedy workshop focused a powerful lens on the performer’s inner and outer world, the audience’s emotional response, and the strange, often unspoken interplay between them.  She is a tough, smart, inspiring teacher, and I’d strongly recommend studying with her while you still can.

Alex Baia, Austin, TX


I loved Deanna’s class. We got immediately into the toughest stuff you
can do in front of an audience: be vulnerable. Nothing can expose your
blocks and bad habits quicker than being your real self on stage. This
workshop helped me get re-acquainted with myself as an actor.

Bill Stahl, San Francisco, CA


Deanna was uncanny at drawing genuineness and comedy out of every single person in the workshop. The class was engaging from beginning to end and her way of explaining the work was wonderfully precise and effective.

Andy Crouch, workshop participant and education director at Hideout Theater


I think one of the mistakes I made about clowning and physical comedy was this idea that simple/obvious comes down to simpleminded/stupid. Big mistake. Strip off the the words, you get into a lot of deep water. I like deep water.  Deanna Fleysher’s workshop allowed me to see translucent naked shining vulnerability of the clown in myself and in all of us, and showed a way to reveal that self to the self by sharing it with others and seeing what is reflected back.  I thought it would be a fun day.  It turned out to be profound.

Content Love Knowles, Austin, TX


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