Comedy sketch writing
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HW219
Duration: 2 sessions
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.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
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.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
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.
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.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.