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Rising Stars: Meet Craig Sorensen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Craig Sorensen.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I learned at a young age you can look/sound/act however you want and people will not care if you’re making them laugh. I was inherently different: chubby, more feminine in nature (due to being raised by my amazing, single mother along with three sisters), plus I have a stark physical disability on my right hand . I was very far from your standard sitcom-esque starboy. But people look past all that if you are delightful. That was (and is still) my goal with almost every human interaction, it brings me joy to see the joy laughter brings. When that’s your very essence, you start to think about comedy as a life path. Improv was the first comedy show I was exposed to in person (Age 17, on a date, with a girl. We’re still friends to this day, despite the fact that I’m suuuuuper gay). I jumped at the chance to take a workshop, learn, and audition to get a spot on stage. Months and many hours of practice later, I was in front of people in a live comedy show! It was magical. Literally magical because I played a fire wizard who was having trouble making ‘fireballs’ that day due to a breakup. And that was the ONLY reason he wasn’t conjuring them at that moment.

From there I became entrenched in the improv world. In hindsight, I think any opportunity to be in front of people would have piqued my interest. It just happened to be improvisation comedy (as opposed to stand-up, theater, podcasting, film, etc.). I craved the applause, attention, and prestige in making large groups–screw individuals–laugh at one time. After performing with my first troupe all over the country and state, I wanted to journey out on my own. This dovetailed well with my exit from Mormonism and my coming out of the closet (age 22, circa 2011, don’t do the math on that, IM YOUNG AND HIP. Yeet, no cap, boomer!).

Crowdsourced Comedy was the product of this journey. After years of catering to a family-friendly audience, I wanted to expand my reach. Salt Lake City was clearly the closest urban area for this to happen. I wanted to perform all types of comedy–from squeaky clean to downright naughty–at my leisure. My closest comedy cohorts came along, and we built this group together.

It took us a while to find a home in SLC, we took any gig we could! 50 West, Club 90, and Wiseguys are some of the places we’ve performed at and called home. Sugar Space Art Warehouse is where we settled with consistency in 2017. Our strength has always been our top-tier improv and our workshops. From our ‘101 Improv Workshop’, we cultivated a new team of like minded comedians/performers. Crowdsourced prides itself on funny, current, and self-aware comedy. We turn a mirror to norms and typical situations and find the funniest aspects to play with, even with the most serious of topics. When lockdown hit in 2020, it impacted us harshly, like it did everyone, It was a rough time to try and continue doing any stagecraft. Online workshops and comedy shows simply don’t hit the same. We were able to keep our vibe going through constant zoom sessions and live-streamed performances.

Since May 2021, the first real instance of coming out of lockdown, we’ve blown up! Our workshops have been selling out, and our shows are full. We’ve made a new home at Why Kiki bar downtown, and plan to open our own comedy-based community theater by the end of 2022. Folks are earnestly following us and love our shows. The owners of the troupe today are Andrew Sproge: currently living and studying comedy in LA to bring back to SLC; Jasmine Faye: a powerhouse woman of color that is a skilled improviser, stand-up comedian, and TikTok content creator; and myself, Craig Sorensen: an LGBTQIA+ man that spearheads the business aspects, and leads the teaching curriculum,of the group.

I make my living in show business. Improv, stand-up, emcee, producer, writer and instructor. Those are the skills I use to keep my dream of making folks giggle going.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Crowdsourced Comedy has had ups and downs. The leaders have had to choose to do this full-time and part-time many times, all while navigating a field that is always scrutinized: comedy. The human experience does not discriminate. I’ve had hardships, breakups, poverty, and social problems like everyone else.

At the end of the day, I remind myself why I do it. That JOY, remember? There is a lot to be stressed or saddened over in the world, and I help our clients/audiences find the things to chuckle at along the journey we call life.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a full-time entertainer and comedian. Self motivation is key, and that can be hard. After this though, I don’t think I can ever go back to having a boss. My biggest strengths are the following in ascending order: stand-up, writer, instructor, producer, improviser, and emcee. Crowdsourced Comedy is one of my production companies, along with The Front Row Film Roast and Equinox Entertainment.

My role is to make sure all our productions–whether that be a public/private show or workshop–runs smoothly. Marketing, contracts, and payments are the boring parts of my job. The fun parts are performing for audiences and collaborating with our team. The friendships we create as a comedy troupe are some of the most rewarding aspects of my life.. We spend a lot of time together as friends and colleagues. Which works out well since need to be connected on a deep level to have palpable on-stage chemistry

Many people are good at business. Many people are good performers. Rarely do they cross paths. I am one of the few that can do both, and I occasionally do it successfully 😉 Any creative organization must have individuals dedicated to the work behind the shows, or it will fail. I am grateful for every email, social media comment, and contract I have to make, because I know it’ll serve delight to an audience down the road. 🙂 This also allows me to perform a lot since I book the gigs. I’m a spoiled little jester.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
When it comes to comedy, having fun yourself is key. The audience might think they want to see someone bomb, but it’s the opposite. They wanna see you feeling yourself. Learn to enjoy the moment and process and find the fun/funny in everything. If you are a great entertainer, gigs/opportunities/money will come your way.

Also, be real and be honest. People can feel the genuineness and will be attracted to that.

There’s a hodgepodge of detailed advice I could give, but the best is this: BE A STAR! Once you really believe it and act accordingly, all people will.

Pricing:

  • Improv 101 Course – $175
  • Stand-up Course – $120
  • Private Show – $500 to $5000
  • Public Show – FREE to $15
  • Private Coaching – $75 a session

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Crowdsourced LLC

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