Online Class: Humor Writing 101

During this course you'll not only be given advice on how to write, but what not to write, how to market your material in a way that gives you the best possible chance of establishing a continuing comedy writing career and some tips you can utilize to assist you in writing good humor.

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  • 12
  • 25
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  • 1,302
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  • 11
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  • 1.1

Course Description

Laughing- the salve of the soul.  When we feel at our lowest sometimes the only thing that can turn our mood around and lift us up is a good hearty laugh.  The comedy capers of some people can at times save our sanity.  We envy those who can readily laugh and even more so those people that can make others laugh.

This course will help you join this group, by covering things such as the advantages of keeping your humor in flow, how to guarantee laughs, the power of shock value, the importance of preparation and humor as a group effort -- and that's all just for starters!

Writing- when we think back to the things that have moved us deeply, that have stirred us emotionally, many of those have been pieces of writing.  It takes skill to create a piece of writing, one word after another, one sentence after another and put it together in such a way that people really want to read it. 

During this course you'll not only be given advice on how to write, but what not to write, how to market your material in a way that gives you the best possible chance of establishing a continuing comedy writing career and some tips you can utilize to assist you in writing good humor.

This course is not like many others, in that it is not exercise after exercise and so-called hot tips guaranteeing to give you instant writing success, there is no such thing.  What it will do for you is give you the best possible advice on how to build a solid foundation for your humor writing future, i.e. a career in writing that lasts! 


Course Motivation

We are all familiar with the notion of 'Before' and 'After' shots and the big changes that can take place between one and the other! You are now going to apply the theory behind this concept to your writing. If you plant the 'seed' and water and feed it with your creativity, passion and determination, you can be guaranteed a great crop of writing.
You may already have written a funny skit or story. Or you may now have to turn your mind to creating one, well whatever it is -- just start writing! Let's limit it to no more than 2 or 3 pages.

When you have finished writing your skit or story put it aside, i.e. put it out of your mind, and don't keep revisiting it as you proceed through this course. Promise me now?

It is at the end of the course that we will be asking you to rewrite the same story and compare it to your first script --BUT NOT UNTIL THEN.

Don't think about it!

Don't consciously think about what you put down on the paper -- word by word or line by line -- just allow the words to pour out as they will onto the paper (or not as the case may be). 

Don't sanitize your thoughts or words. Don't worry about whether they are relevant or not, and most certainly, don't assess whether they are funny enough or funny at all, for that matter – not at this stage anyway.



After having put your script aside for a few hours or a day, reread what you wrote, put it aside and write the same story again.


And again

And Rewrite again!

Just one last time, after having a break of a day or two – rewrite the story again. There is a point to this which we shall go into later. Please, just rewrite (it's for the second last time!)

Basic Humor Exercises

Now I know you may be feeling a bit sick of writing by this stage, but sometimes, as a writer that's exactly how you might feel, and you have to write anyway.

Let me tell you that there are very few writers in the world who enjoy every single minute of their craft, there are even fewer who only sit down to write when they feel that wonderful instinctive urge and feeling of enlightenment. It's not like that.

Most of the time writing is just hard work!

Now that we've settled that, let's apply ourselves to a few fun writing exercises that may stretch you a little bit but, at the very least, will give you some preliminary ideas and concepts.

Laugh at yourself first -- whether we feel embarrassed or not about the situations that have happened to us, we should make ourselves the first target of our humor. Not only is it safer that way but people really warm to those that they see can have a laugh at themselves. When people warm to you, the battle is half won! 

Think, what's funny about you or something you do or have done in the past? Do you do impressions for example? Can you do funny drawings or possibly even do something as simple as lifting your eyebrow or wiggling your ears. If you can't think of something, ask your friends and family – that's if you can take it!

All jokes aside, its amazing what gets a laugh and you only need something small to start with, not an epic masterpiece. 

So the exercise now is to write a short story about this funny side of yourself. If it helps, write the story as if it is actually happening to someone else. Possibly read it out loud to a friend or partner and ask their opinion (but only if you feel they will be constructive and not overly picky and/or critical).

Laugh at someone or something else (possibly a pet) -- Funny pets or friends are real assets to a comedy writer. Friends of mine have always been fortunate in this regard, as every single pet (usually dogs) has a hilarious, human-like personality. One dog when put to bed in their garage could actually open the tilt-a-door from the inside, trot to the front door and, giving a low warning sound, would alert the kids to let him in so he could then sleep on one of their beds for the night. Another friend had a budgie that became overly fond of beer and mixed his words up hysterically when intoxicated.

The trick if you have a funny friend is not to appear as if you are putting them down or making fun of them but rather to actually be having fun with them. Show appreciation for their funny side and praise them by saying that you going to use their story in one of your skits.

Now the exercise is to put together a very short humorous talk about one of your pets or friends (no more than one or two paragraphs).

Concentrate for a week on only watching comedy programs on TV, YouTube, Amazon or on DVD -- possibly invest money in boosting your comedy library and don't limit yourself to comedy from your own background or country. Try old Abbott & Costello films, the Fawlty Towers series, The Castle (great Australian film), Patch Adams, a Fish called Wanda and so on.

The exercise here is for you to really carefully consider what has actually amused you and pick from each film or series episode, one topic that you could use in your own writings (not exactly, of course, but to model your joke after). 

 Listen, listen and listen some more – (you can never have too much) to comedy on CD and/or tape -- the exercise is in the doing, i.e. the listening and enjoying!
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.6 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(1,009 votes)

Lesson 1: Let It Flow!

You may already have written a funny skit or story or you may have one in mind. Just start writing! 36 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Humor Writing Course; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 Quiz

Lesson 2: Yes - You Can Learn to Write Humor

Everybody tells jokes and, let's face it, wisecracks are common; you can find humor and funny lines just about everywhere and everyplace you go. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Quiz

Lesson 3: Exactly What is Humor?

Humor, or a joke, is anything that makes people laugh. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Quiz

Lesson 4: The Skills You'll Need

A sense of humor involves the capacity to appreciate incongruity, absurdity, an unexpected future, a pleasant surprise, being startled, or possibly even the recall of an issue of emotional chaos. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Quiz

Lesson 5: Getting Ready to Write

Most, if not all, writers who have risen to any prominence are all people who have been avid readers. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Quiz

Lesson 6: A 'Hobby' or a 'Career'?

Whether we pursue something as a hobby or as a full or part-time career can be determined either by personal choice or necessity. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Career or Hobby?
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Quiz

Lesson 7: Getting in the Flow

Keep a list. You never know when a creative thought may arise and any points or thoughts at all should be added to your list immediately (not later, as you'll most likely forget at least part of it.) 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Quiz

Lesson 8: Discovering and Establishing Your Particular Market Niche

Discovering and establishing your particular market niche and writing to that audience = e.g. topical, political, slapstick, etc. 34 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Humor Markets
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Quiz

Lesson 9: The "Go's" and "Whoa's" of Shortcuts to Humor

This course will be of great assistance in preparing you for the task of not only writing humor but in deciding which particular niche within that genre you will concentrate your efforts on. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 Quiz

Lesson 10: The Importance of Starting and Maintaining Your Comedy Journal

If you aim to be successful at the writing of humor (whether as a hobby or on a part-time or full time basis) you will need to pay close attention to the level of your preparation. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 Quiz

Lesson 11: Marketing You and Your Material

When you have written and rewritten, rehearsed and re-rehearsed your material and had the experience of several performance reviews, that is when you commence to market you and your material. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 Quiz

Lesson 12: Your Exercise Revisited and Renewed

It is now time for you to revisit the sketch you were asked to write in Lesson 1 of this course. 50 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Lesson discussions: End of Course Poll; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment
  • Complete: The Final Assignment
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Recognize that you can learn to write humor.
  • Define what humor is.
  • Describe the skills you'll need.
  • Prepare for writing humor.
  • Determine whether or not to write for fun or profit.
  • Demonstrate basic humor writing techniques.
  • Discover and establish your particular humor niche.
  • Maintain a comic journal.
  • Describe ways to market your material.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Humor Writing 101
Course Number: 9770557
Lessons Rating: 4.6 / 5 Stars (1,009 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: November 2022
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 1.1 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Dana Kristan
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $95.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "I just needed some guidance and practice and viola! I have confidence that I can get some things published." -- Eileen Z.
  • "What an excellent instructor. She is readily available when I have questions and her instructions are easy to understand!" -- Donna N.
  • "Overall, the material used to present course is excellent. I was very please with course and instructor and would recommend the course to anyone." -- Marty S.
  • "It was a great experience!" -- Luwana J.

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