Fall 2018


Finding Your Funny: Discover Standup Comedy (55+)

Standup comedy is considered one of the most difficult performance art forms. Yet getting a laugh can be the most exhilarating of feelings. You’ll participate in this course by telling parts of your life story and adding the punchlines in the right places. You’ll learn to be your authentic self and to get smiles and downright belly laughs. And don’t worry; you get to pick the parts of your life story you want to share.

We will discuss comedy’s role in our lives and how nearly every subject can be developed into a comedy bit. We’ll work collaboratively to generate jokes and develop our performance style. A showcase of our comedy will be featured in the final class.

Note: Back by popular demand, from fall 2017.

Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

What will I learn?

Week 1: Styles and Genres of Stand-up Comedy

Using examples from a wide range of comics, we explore the different comedy styles of comics who are famous or emerging, local or international. These styles range from ‘character’ through ‘one-line’ to ‘alternative’ comics. We tell each other why we’re interested in comedy and what brought us here, in a very informal introduction circle.

Week 2: Writing for the Stand-Up Comedy Stage

There’s a world of difference between making your friends laugh over a cool one and doing stand-up comedy. There is a writing formula, easy to describe and hard to do, but we can succeed together.  We share our comedy ideas, apply the formula to them and learn how to get the laugh.

Week 3: Which Comic Style is Yours?

Each person reflects on their writing to determine their comedy persona, and shares that with the group. Finding your uniqueness is encouraged because new voices are an exciting part of comedy. Comedy writing is always a group process, and we share constructive feedback from everyone.

Week 4: Improv and Other Performance Skills

We examine the next level of the comedy formula; the set of three, callbacks and punchline placement. We also have a brief introduction to improv and act-outs, and their benefits to your stand-up act. Working in small groups or the whole class, we do some re-structuring of our increasingly funny material, making it tighter, better paced and genuinely funny.

Week 5:  Openers, Closers and Set Order

Now we’re really getting ready for show time! Putting the YOU in to your comedy to make the jokes come to life before your eyes. We strengthen our openers, our closers, and learn additional microphone techniques.

Week 6: Showtime - Staging, Lights and Set Order

We put all of the jokes into a 4-5 minute set, ready to be performed. Everyone who wants to showcase their material gets a chance to perform for all of us, and also family and friends; a showcase will be scheduled. It will be a day to remember.

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Discussion (may vary from class to class)
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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