Andrew Essex
September 24, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In Tinseltown, they’re even hotter than kabbalah seminars. That’s right, nimrod, we’re talking about anger-management classes. Sean ”Puffy” Combs was sentenced Sept. 8 to a mandatory day of anger-management class for a tussle back in April. He joins such ill-tempered alums as Tommy Lee, Shannen Doherty, Gary Coleman, and Courtney Love. But what exactly are these seething stars getting taught? To find out, we asked our own angry young man, staff writer Andrew Essex, to take a six-hour class in the heart of Hollywood.

9:15 A.M. We gather in a hotel conference room. The crowd is mostly male, mostly large, and conspicuously celebrity-free. Our instructor — a parole officer during the week — tells us we have to raise our hands to use the bathroom. Now down to business: ”What is anger?” he asks. My female neighbor shouts: ”PMS!”

11:00 A.M. We talk about why we’re here. ”I socked some guy in the jaw not knowing he was an undercover cop.” Another fellow tried to run over a business rival. One classmate snaps: ”I’m not here for story time. Why don’t you break out some books and teach us something?”

1 P.M. We read from The Anger Workbook. Apparently, anger is a normal feeling. ”What can we do to relieve that feeling?” queries the instructor. ”Sex!” shouts my neighbor. Another attendee offers: ”There’s not enough ass-whooping anymore.” He doesn’t get a gold star.

2 P.M. We compare ”normal” anger with ”problem” anger. ”Problem” anger is the kind that finds a person using his Buick as a weapon. The cure? ”Letting go,” explains the instructor. We practice deep breathing. ”What is this…?” someone grumbles, ”…yoga?”

2:30 P.M. While discussing causes of anger, the air conditioner breaks. We get angry. ”Figures,” grouses one student.

3 P.M. We turn in personal essays and promise to change. ”You’re not the nicest people around,” the instructor says, ”but I think you’re learning.” Class dismissed.

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