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MIDTOWN, Manhattan-  The stage. the lights. the audience. it’s never easy performing for the first time. 

“I’m ready and I’m really excited,” Sumi Vatsa said.

 “I feel a little sick. I’m excited, but it’s a flood,” Paul Lutvak said. 

These New Yorkers took the jump into the world of jokes, but before they can bring the laughs on the big stage, they go through lessons at Manhattan Comedy School

When we asked Vatsa why she’s doing this, she admitted its “crazy.”

“Well I must be a little bit crazy, but it’s just such a high,” she said.

The school offers a six-week program that meets once a week to help you write, rehearse and refine your material.

“I write my stuff, and I’ve been taking notes for years, just things I observe, things that seem kind of funny to me,” Lutvak said. “Now that I’m in the class, I’ve started going back to my notes.”

Andy Engel founded the school and has helped students reach their goals. 

“We get people who are maybe never going to quit their days job and people who are deadly serious about it,” Engel said.

“Some of our students have appeared on Letterman, Seth Meyers, and Showtime,” he added.

While the class focuses on telling jokes it helps you with much more. 

“It’s an unbelievable confidence builder,” he described. “It changes your ability to speak in public, pitch at meetings. It helps you with life.” 

“We don’t know each other and just from the very beginning, I think Karen has a way of drawing us close, drawing us together and has us rooting for each other,” Lutvak said of the class camaraderie.

It all leads to the final performance at Gotham Comedy Club in front of family, friends and strangers.