15 Top Online Comedy Writing Classes
Writing comedy whether for short stories, novels, poetry, essays, memoirs, articles, or live performance through stand-up can be a very daunting craft for many.
If you are not one of these people, and you want to give comedy a go, but do not know where to start, perhaps a comedy workshop is just what you need.
There are many online comedy writing classes, often headed by professional comedians, sharing their wisdom from the stage.
Online comedy courses are a convenient way of learning the fundamentals of writing and performing comedy, and they will give you a basis to be more confident in your material.
Comedy courses – as is the case with any course – will not automatically make you good at the craft. They may, however, provide you with or help you improve upon the skills required to write and perform humorously.
Below is a list of 15 top online comedy writing classes available:
If you are looking to learn the tips and tricks of the trade from an established comedic figure, you cannot get much bigger than legendary American comic Steve Martin.
Using the MasterClass platform, this one-off $95 package gives you access to 5+ hours of video lessons from the man himself.
Martin has curated the lessons, and he gives students his advice from an extremely accomplished life in comedy. He covers subjects such as finding your comedic voice, developing a comedic persona and working on delivery.
Accompanying the video lessons is a downloadable workbook, to help you keep track of lessons and have access to supplemental materials.
The video lessons are viewable at any time, and can be paused, re-winded, fast-forwarded or re-watched as many times as you would like. While the classes are not live, there are occasional live opportunities to connect with your classmates.
The Second City is one of the most renowned comedy organisations in the world, for all sorts of comedy. Whether you are interested in sketches, improv, satirical writing, comedic playwriting or any other kind, The Second City has something to offer.
With notable alumni such as Bill Murray, Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris (and many, many more), The Second City has helped nurture some of the greatest comedic minds we have ever seen since it opened its doors in Chicago in 1959.
Thankfully, you can now access their courses from anywhere in the world, using the online options available.
There is plenty to choose from – For example, if you want to take part in “Online Sketch Writing 1”, which costs $299, the course takes place through email and online correspondence with a writing instructor.
It is worth investigating to see if what you are looking for is available in online form (Course prices and lengths vary, so it is worth taking some time to look into them also).
This comedic writing class aims to give you the tools to be able to recognize where to find humour, and then put in into words. The class’s main goal is to provide you with a solid foundation for your humor writing future.
Humor Writing 101 comprises of 12 lessons, each focusing on a different element of nurturing your ability to write humorous material. These lessons inform and test in a number of ways – there are video lessons; articles to review; polls; and assignments and quizzes.
The course is self-paced and can be undertaken for either $65 or $90 (the main difference between the pricings is the awarding of certification of completion). You can enrol at any time and will be given an assessment of your work by the course instructors.
If you are looking for a cheap comedy writing class that offers plenty of content for your money, perhaps Udemy’s “Humor Writing: How to Think, Write, Speak and Be Funnier!” could be right for you.
Suiting both aspiring stand-up comedians, public speakers and writers in general, instructor Dave Fox’s writing course is intensive for its low-price of £15.
With a selection of 59 lectures – content ranging from writings, to videos, to referenced e-books – spread across 6 different areas – such as set-ups and punchlines and tightening and pacing- the course has all of the components to help you improve your comedy writing ability.
You can access the course from any browser and upon completion; you will receive a certificate from Udemy.
Gotham Writer’s Humor Writing Class can be taken both online and in-class in New York City. The intensive course aims to help would-be humorous fiction or non-fiction writers to turn their sentences into smiles.
The class takes a structured approach to breaking down writing, so that you get a better understanding of the basics and learn how to build material from scratch for yourself.
Focusing more so on literary writing, the workshop takes place over the course of a 10-week period, and tuition costs $399 to enrol online. Over the course of the ten weeks, you will become familiar with various types of prose humour, as well as comedic techniques and how to market your work.
This course aims to help you cultivate an understanding of a skill that not many people have, yet wish they did – being able to come up with jokes or witticisms on the fly, and being able to create material to perform in front of an audience.
Getting instruction from an experienced comedy writer, by taking the class you will be guided through a number of comedic sources. These will teach you invaluable skills and traits, such as the ability to write a one-liner, how to use physical humor and how to find the funny in everyday events.
Over the course of what promises to be an entertaining and informative six weeks, you will develop a style of your own and learn how to connect with an audience. You will have to complete a final examination to receive certification upon completing the course.
The six-week course (class on Wednesdays and Fridays) costs $129.99 to enrol.
In ten weeks, this class aims to help you learn how to take your thoughts, experiences, and observations about life and blend them with your unique sense of humor to produce top-quality stand-up comedy.
Boasting plenty of famous alumni (such as writers on shows such as Friends, Ellen and Reno 911), testimonials for this class describe it as fun, supportive and inspirational. The classes can be taken either in Los Angeles or online.
At the end of the class, instructor Gerry Katzman promises to give you a basic, usable tool-kit for creating your own well-received stand-up comedy routines.
The price of the class is $700 (which can be paid flexibly through a payment plan). Once the class is completed, participants perform in a comedy club. All level of performers are welcome to take part in the class.
Not all comedy takes place on a stage. This workshop is aimed primarily at nurturing your ability to write for a TV comedy program.
Taking place in a real writer’s room, class instructor Jerry Perzigan is a professional showrunner, who previously worked on successful half-hour comedy shows like “Frasier” and “The Golden Girls”.
Classes take place in New York City but you can also participate online as long as you have a computer, a headset and a high-speed internet connection. You can then take-part as if you were in the room.
The class does not come cheap at $1200 but you can make use of a payment plan. For this, you get 10-weeks of classes and can avail of one-on-one mentorship.
His second time appearing on this list, Dave Fox’s Globejotting hopes to give potential writer’s and speakers a chance to learn some of the elements that makes humor work.
Boasting proven tricks to create or strengthen the way you go about constructing material, Fox’s class wants to give you the tools so that you can get the maximum impact from your jokes. This means stretching your humor and tightening your phrasing so your punchlines don’t get swallowed up by over wording.
The basic course is relatively cheap at $20-$35, and you can get critique packages separately. These will cost $50 for first critique, then $85 for each critique after or $195 ($65 each) for a package of three.
Professional comedian Jerry Corley’s Stand-up Comedy Clinic caters for both aspiring stand-up performers and those who already have some experience.
The classes are aimed at teaching students how to write comedically, but also work well for those who may want to be able to find the funny in everyday life.
Corley’s approach to learning begins with a blank page and turns into comedy material that works. The classes take place in LA, but Corley also offers online classes, that take place over Skype.
Classes are $125 and can be recorded so that they can be accessed again. All you have to do is email Corley and arrange a date; you can buy a 1-hour session with him through PayPal. You will have to opportunity to learn, but also to ask any questions may have.
The Killer Stand-Up online course consists of eight Core Training Modules comprised of 28 lessons, which hope to give you the skills to perform headline level stand-up comedy.
The course is designed to show how, once the basics are learned, it can be easy to recognize and apply structure to your material so that it will go down well on stage.
The Killer Stand-Up Course has five modules, the first of which is available to access free. In module one, students will get a feel for what to expect from the rest of the course, as it provides introductions to a number of key aspects.
Comedian and instructor Steve Roye presents each module, and you can access his stand-up lessons (and much more) by registering on the site for $99.95.
This cheap guide by Phillipe Schafer, which offers an introduction to performing comedy, is a good place to start for those looking for a comedy course.
Helping in relation to overcoming fear of public speaking, making your stories funnier and finding your target audience (among more), the guide aims to instil a good grounding for those looking to pursue or perform comedy.
By signing up to the course, you will have access to 37 lectures, which combine workshop material with videos and quizzes. The price for the course is £10 and can be accessed through Udemy.
This stand-up comedy class offers three different packages to suit your budget and need. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or have some experience, there are elements of these packages that will appeal to you.
The Silver Package is ideal for beginners and gives access for 90 days, comes with a 114-page companion workbook and costs $97.77. The Gold and Diamond Packages are ideal for those with some stage experience, but feel they could be doing better, and entitles the student to more benefits, such as one on one phone calls with instructor Rik Roberts. These phone calls can also be scheduled separately for $75 per hour.
The testimonials for Robert’s classes shine the course in a good light, with students suggesting that it helped improve their material.
This comedy writing course sets out with the goal of its students being able to write their own comedy monologues, sketches and interviews upon completion.
The target audience of this package is anyone who wants to learn more about comedy and wants to make people laugh, in whatever form.
Robert Mills, the course instructor, explains everything from the history of comedy to the anatomy of a joke across 109 lectures. These lectures are split into a number of separate modules (Monologues, sketches, interviews, etc.).
The content of the lessons varies between video, audio and written documents. You can gain access to them for £15 through Udemy.
The one major difference between all of the classes written in this article and John Roy’s Online Comedy class is that this one is TOTALLY free.
That is not to say that it’s not intensive – professional comedian John Roy’s lessons cover all bases. He posted up his lessons for would-be comics in 2013, and they are still available to access on his Tumblr account.
The class comprises of 12 lessons, and aims to give those reading the basic fundamentals for stand-up comedy. Roy does not attest to telling his readers what to talk about while on-stage, but just wants to give the reader the tools they may need, so that they will be able to formulate their own material in whatever style they please.
The way in which the lessons are laid out leaves a lot of “homework”, and is meant to take place over the course of twelve weeks.
As Roy puts it, even if it does not help, it will have cost you absolutely nothing to try it.