Course Code: cwr
You'll start the course with a capsule review of comedy's roots. From ancient Egyptian graffiti to slapstick Viking sagas, humor has been a part of the world since humans first walked erect and realized that their hands were now free to applaud Ogg, that funny guy in the 9th cave.
"It's funny because it's true." Honing your powers of observation is the first step toward sharpening your wit. This lesson will help you understand some of the secrets of the great observational comics like Steven Wright, and Jerry Seinfeld. Bring a notebook, a pair of eyes, and a willingness to use them.
Now that you've observed reality, you need to learn to look at the world sideways and apply that knowledge. Clever wordplay can be a fast-track to a laugh. In this lesson, you'll learn how to construct a joke, write a pun, twist a cliché, use the unexpected, and begin to dazzle with your humor.
In this lesson, you'll look at absurdity and exaggeration—two time-tested and wonderful sources of comedy. Absurdity is about finding your inner strangeness. Exaggeration is a major source of comedy. Really. It's HUGE.
Low humor, mean humor, sexual innuendo, bathroom humor—face it, they're all really easy. But do you need these crutches? Heck yeah. This lesson also includes a discussion of mean humor and gallows humor. What do they all have in common? The ability to offend people. In this lesson, you'll learn how to walk that line without stepping over it.
This lesson is all about Pop Culture, or "If I See One More Brady Bunch Reference, I'm Going to Throw a Football At Your Nose." Pop culture is a humorist's best friend. From television and movies, to music and consumables, to politics and social trends, you'll find a wealth of material to aid you in your quest for amusement.
Good slapstick or sight gags are tougher than you'd think. It's important to learn how to communicate without words. Few things are as memorable or as funny as a perfectly executed piece of visual humor. In this lesson, you'll learn by looking at examples from the comedians of the silent screen to Lucille Ball and beyond.
Why think up original material when there's so much stuff out there you can just make fun of? Making fun of TV shows, movies, songs, social habits, or politicians can help you tap into brand new pockets of humor within you. Whatever your interests, there are opportunities for you to turn your wit toward the object of your admiration. This lesson will guide you in that quest.
Nothing hones your wit and pumps up those comic reflexes like improvisation. It's the perfect workout regime for the budding humorist. In this lesson, you'll learn the rules you need to follow to perform improvisational comedy—rules that can help you sharpen your wit and quicken your comebacks.
There are countless ways to use humor every day. This lesson will guide you through using your newly honed sense of humor in business and social situations. You'll find out the remarkable benefits laughter has on your health.
You know how to be funny, now it's time to apply it. In this lesson, you'll explore comedy writing. Using the example of writing a script for television, you'll learn the blow-by-blow process of how to write and sell a script.
Now that you're a comic genius, you have an opportunity to cash in! In this final lesson, you'll explore some of the many markets open to you as a comedy writer: greeting cards, t-shirts, bumper stickers, comic books, comic strips and panels, gag writing, speech writing, advertising, print humor, and websites.
Joanna Sandsmark is a voice actress who has appeared in numerous projects, including the popular animated television series, "Rugrats." She is also a seasoned writer, having worked as a staff writer on the television show "Weird Science" and as a contributor to DC Comics. She has taught both writing and voice-over in various formats and is a member of the Writer's Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Sandsmark graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a degree in Communication Arts.
Wallace Wang is the author of over 40 computer books including "Microsoft Office 2019 For Dummies." In addition to writing computer books, he has also co-authored "Breaking Into Acting for Dummies" and ghost written several books about investing in real estate, day trading stocks, and becoming an entrepreneur. Some of his past jobs have included teaching computer science courses at the University of Zimbabwe, performing stand-up comedy, and appearing on a weekly radio show.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
Instructor-Led: A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.
Self-Paced: You can start this course at any time your schedule permits.
Instructor-Led: Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Self-Paced: You have three-month access to the course. After enrolling, you can learn and complete the course at your own pace, within the allotted access period.
Instructor-Led: The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you're encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
Self-Paced: There is no time limit to complete each lesson, other than completing all lessons before your three-month access.
Instructor-Led: The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Self-Paced: Because this course is self-paced, no extensions will be granted after the start of your enrollment.
As a university professor, I have designed and taught online courses myself, so I wanted to see what it was like to be an online student. I have very much enjoyed the course and I have greatly appreciated Joanna's teaching style, her support, feedback and constant encouragement. As a result I have learned a lot, more than I expected to, about many different areas of life, connected by humour. Thank you very much, Joanna."
In all the years I've been in show business, no one ever would share these valuable secrets and tools. Comedy is something you can work at and get better at, just like singing or playing. I really appreciate learning this from Joanna. She is a quite gifted writer and teacher."
Joanna has helped me to hone my natural sense of humor by allowing me to put names to certain techniques. In this way, I feel like I have more control over being funny--that it is somewhat of a science instead of purely an art. This makes comedy seem less mysterious to me. I have been inspired to pursue humor and comedy writing thanks to this course. Thank you!"
It was a pleasure taking this course from an instructor who obviously cares about her profession. Her writing style is as good as any I've ever read and she has an amazing ability to be able to explain herself and her subject matter in a clear and enjoyable way. Her critique of my homework assignments were well thought out and authoritative, I would be happy to learn more from Joanna."
I must confess that I was initially reluctant to enroll in this course primarily due to my age. I had used various forms of humor as a type of coping mechanism throughout my life, but I was not confident that I could keep pace with the coursework or the sharp, younger students in this class. With the encouragement of a twenty-something friend, I decided to enroll and am truly glad I did. This course was definitely worth every penny I invested in it and was a ton of fun! The light-hearted humor that you incorporated into each lesson chapter made the reading assignments all that more enjoyable."
Thank you, Joanna! This course was a wonderful surprise and far more than I expected. The assignments were tough, but a joy to complete. I did fall a little behind, but Joanna is very encouraging and never let me feel at a loss. A brilliant class that I have already raved about to others!"
The Get Funny! course delivered much more than was promised and more than I expected. Joanna is an expert in several fields where creating and applying humor are paramount. I learned where comedians and humorists find their material and how they create and apply humor. I now have the skills to generate humorous inputs for various publications and other applications. I also learned ways to incorporate humor into my life, at home, at play, at work, and in almost any situation. Joanna shared her invaluable knowledge in her lessons and reviews of our assignments, both of which were punctuated with her delightful humor. The course was so much fun, I'm not sure it's legal. Waiting for each lesson was like waiting for Christmas, as each lesson was a gift from Joanna. I got up early every lesson day and peeked at the lesson. I couldn't wait to read the lesson and work on the assignment. Joanna spent a great deal of time carefully reviewing our work and constructing thoughtful and helpful comments."
I love this course and I am sorry to see it end. In addition to humor, there are so many valuable skills taught in this class - observational skills, thinking outside the box and brainstorming skills. I am able to apply these skills in all areas of my life. I highly recommend this course! Also, I really appreciated the instructor, she gave wonderful feedback and was very encouraging! She made the course fun - it was challenging but, so much fun!"
I really enjoyed this course, Joanna. I'm a recently retired geophysicist with not a lot of background in writing, so it was quite challenging for me. You have an amazing amount of information in this course--I did not expect to learn so muc!! Plus, it was presented in such a charming way! I sincerely hope to use information from this course in my daily activities. Thanks so much for enriching my life!"
I absolutely loved this class!! It was refreshing and so funny! I don't think I have laughed so much or worked to understand the comedy legends like Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin. I loved this class and would recommend it to everyone I know! Thank you and now I can put more humor in my life and others as well."