How to Write Funny

Course Fee: $20
WRIT S4810
Summer 2017
Patricia Marx

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.

For course schedule and location, please visit the School of Professional Studies summer site here.



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