Christine O’Leary always felt she was funny. But, it wasn’t until she won a stand up contest in Maine that she quit her day job to pursue a career in comedy. O’Leary is now an award-winning stand up comedian, professional host, corporate consultant, and coach to budding adult and teen comics and improv enthusiasts enrolled in her classes at The Ridgefield Playhouse.

Her advanced stand up students will take center stage — via Zoom — at Christine O’Leary & Friends: Virtually LIVE! on Wednesday, July 22 at 7:30. O’Leary will host from the Ridgefield Playhouse, while her team delivers comedy sets from home, to an online audience. Tickets, at $20, may purchased by calling 203-438-5795 or online: https://ridgefieldplayhouse.org/event/christine-oleary-friends/.

Ticket purchasers will be e-mailed a Zoom show link and given instructions the day of the show.

At check out, attendees also have the opportunity to donate to The Leir Foundation Arts for Everyone program, which helps make performing arts shows at the Ridgefield Playhouse and other venues available to economically disadvantaged area residents.

O’Leary has taught over 50 comedy classes, with 182 graduates, at the Playhouse. Students take an eight-week program to develop a five-minute set —the first increment of time given to new stand-ups at comedy clubs. The students bring weekly material to “rip and read” in class to determine winning content, then video conference one-on-one with O’Leary to finalize their material. After two months, they’re ready for an audience.

This semester, O’Leary continued classes for nearly three months past the original schedule. Knowing the Zoom sessions provided connection during an uncertain time, she checked in with quarantined students — not only about comedy — but also about their well-being.

“Comedy is a way to tell the truth, solve a problem and sell the material with a feeling. I love and live to share with people the greatest ‘high’ and joy I know — standing up and getting paid in laughs! Anyone can do this; there’s enough for everyone,” said O’Leary, the founder of Team Green Light Comedy.

O’Leary’s stand up classes have been offered at The Ridgefield Playhouse since 2013. The July 22 lineup includes comedians: Eileen Fickes, Dimitri Giatrakis, Laura Isler, Laurie Newkirk, Judy Eckert, Frankie Fuhrman, Stefanie Rosenberg, Jerry Kuyper, Michael Mast, Micky Pasquarella, Bill Green, Laura Von Stein, Barbara Miller, Lee Scharfstein, and Aline Weiller. The group includes sales people, writers, designers, electrical engineers, creative marketers, insurance brokers, social workers, actors, teachers and others.

“You’ll never see anything like it ... they’ll be born as comics before your eyes,” O’Leary said.

The evening will feature visits by celebrities and a door prize to complement the timely Zoom format.

For details regarding Christine O’Leary & Friends: Virtually LIVE! tickets and comedy classes, visit https://ridgefieldplayhouse.org/event/christine-oleary-friends/.