What is the course about?
Discover what makes a great comedy sketch and how to create and present your own writing. Explore the structure, dynamic and devices at work in classic comedy before applying new techniques to your work. Study great sketches from Monty Python, Victoria Wood, the two Ronnies, Goodness Gracious Me, plus classic American works.
The Tutor: Kate Smurthwaite writes for BBC3’s BAFTA-winning The Revolution Will Be Televised and the UK's leading political satire show Have I Got News For You. She also writes and tours an annual solo political comedy show and has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the past 12 years. She is often a guest on news and debate shows including Question Time, BBC News and Channel 4 News, and has been has written fr publications including The Guardian and The Independent.
City Lit reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.
What will we cover?
- We will analyse the structure and dynamic of the classic comedy sketch and look at a range of comic devices used in comedy sketches
- We will watch and listen to classic sketches from TV and radio including Grant & Naylor, Absolutely, Victoria Wood, Dave Allen, Bob Newhart and more
- We will use games and exercises to stimulate ideas and then create our own comedy sketches.
At the end of the course you will have the skills to write a professionally structured and presented comedy sketch.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Describe the classic comedy sketch structure
- Use that structure in your own sketch writing
- Identify a range of comic devices for sketch writing
- Describe strategies for ending sketches.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is open to all, from complete beginners to those who have comedy writing experience. This course is for you whether you are seriously persuing comedy writing or if you simply want to have fun watching, listening to, writing and analysing comedy.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Talks, discussion, pair work, group exercises and games, plus watching and listening to illustrative clips.
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No compulsory purchases. Students may like to buy books, scripts, videos or recordings to further explore in their own time. Guidance will be given on worthwhile purchases for those interested.You are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet to use during writing exercises if you feel it will help you.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Try developing your skills further in Ways into screenwriting or Ways into playwriting. If you'd like to continue learning about comedy, why not enrol in our Writing political comedy or Joke writing courses? Check the prospectus online for dates.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details