In this class we will consider the various forms and functions of humor in written prose, discussing techniques and approaches to humor writing. Students will write their own humorous stories and essays which we will read and discuss in class, focusing not only on what is or isn’t funny, but on how humor can be advantageously used to increase the power of an overall piece. The class will also break down stories, novels, and essays from a variety of authors—Bill Hicks’ political satire; the darkly comedic fiction of Barry Hannah and Paul Beatty; the absurd humor of Tina Fey and Baratunde Thurston; Anthony Lane’s charming British snarkiness; Spy Magazine’s sharply parodic voice; Woody Allen’s one-liners; Lena Dunham’s zeitgeist comedy—in an effort to better understand what makes their humor work. Students will be asked to write stories inspired and influenced by these authors. As we critique each other's work, we will investigate strategies related to the craft of humor writing, including self-deprecation, political satire, humor and the other, going blue, dark comedy, schtick, humor as a means vs. humor as an end, crossing the line, and how to write funny without sacrificing substance.
Tuition & Fees
The 2016 Columbia summer tuition rate will be published in February. The 2015 rate was $1570 per credit, and we anticipate a 5% increase for 2016.
Materials Fee: $20
For questions about School of the Arts summer courses, including those concerning admissions, registration, and billing, please contact the School of Professional Studies summer team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 212-854-9666. With questions about specific course content, please contact Writing Departmental Representative Dorothea Lasky at email@example.com.