Intro to Sketch Comedy 1 (DRA4277.01)

Shawtane Bowen

This course is designed to teach you the basics of comedy writing, specifically using “the game of the scene” to create short comedic sketches.

Each week students will be asked to write a 3–4 page sketch that will be read aloud in class and receive constructive criticism and suggestions (variations, alternate beats, alternate lines, etc.) from myself and your peers. You will also be asked to bring in 2-3 sketch ideas weekly that you will pitch in class – similar to a writer’s room.

We’ll also be watching sketch comedy in and out of class which will run the gamut from old school to new. The shows I plan to assign include: The Richard Pryor Show, Chappelle’s Show, Kids in the Hall, I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Key & Peele, Mr. Show, The Carol Burnett Show… and so on.

Students will leave the class with an understanding of popular sketch formats and a portfolio of writing. 

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the material in this course is provocative (sometimes deliberately so) and not for the faint of heart, so to speak. I believe in freedom of expression and not censoring an artist’s impulses so if you are easily upset by content (or jokes), this may not be the class for you.


Learning Outcomes:
•Learn how to use the "game" to write in different genres, including topical scenes, parodies, character pieces, monologues, etc.
•Learn the vocabulary specific to written sketch comedy
•Weekly deadlines so that students leave this class with multiple written sketches
•The ability to generate ideas as a group in brainstorming exercises
•The ability to pitch sketch ideas in group settings
•How to offer and incorporate feedback on sketches
•Gain an understanding of and ability to apply comedic concepts to their own sketches

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Entry to this course is based on instructor approval. To apply, please submit a 3-4 page comedic sketch that showcases your writing and sense of humor to In the body of your email, please include a separate paragraph on why you'd like to take this class. Submissions are due November 18th at 5 p.m. Late submissions will not be accepted!
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 2
M/Th 3:40PM - 5:30PM (1st seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 6
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Drama , First Seven Week , Fully In-Person , Two Credit