How to Write Funny

WRIT S4810Q - Session 2: July 6–August 14 - 3 points
5:30pm - 8:40pm
mon wed
Summer 2020
Patricia Marx

This class tends to fill early, but spots can open up as students' plans change. Interested students who cannot register because the course is at capacity should visit Student Services Online (SSOL) regularly to check for new availabilities.


This course is only offered in the summer.


A workshop for funny people who want to write funnier,  un-funny people who want to write funny, and everyone else.  We will read, listen to, and watch comedic samples from well-known and semi-known humorists, including Mark Twain, James Thurber, S.J. Perelman, Dorothy Parker, Charles Portis, Ian Frazier, Paul Rudnick, Steve Martin, Woody Allen, Nora Ephron, Roz Chast, David Rakoff, Fran Lebowitz, Bruce Jay Friedman, Calvin Trillin, Dave Barry, Sloane Crosley, George Saunders, Donald Barthelme, Maria Semple, Monty Python, Key and Peele, Mitchell and Webb, French and Saunders, Nichols and May, Saturday Night Live (to name a few!)  Despite E.B. White’s analysis of humor analysis (“…like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it”), we will try to figure out why these works—and yours—succeed or fail to make us laugh.  There will be in-class exercises and weekly writing assignments.  Students already working on projects are welcome to develop them here.


All courses subject to change.


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Current Columbia students can review tuition and fees here.
Visiting students can review tuition and fees here.




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 or 212-854-9666. With questions about specific course content, please contact Writing Departmental Representative Dorothea Lasky at