Joke writing

Course Dates: 09/03/24 - 10/03/24
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Online
Uncover the workings of the classic one-liner, practise joke writing and find out what makes a good joke. Learn how to refine and develop your own writing skills for stand up, comedy writing and pleasure.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00

Course Code: HW223

Sat-Sun, day, 09 Mar - 10 Mar '24

Duration: 2 sessions

Any questions?
or call 020 4582 0415

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Discover how jokes work - and write and hone your own. In this short course, we'll uncover the devices and techniques that lie behind the classic one-liner, and we will look at how to get the best out of a joke, by exploring clarity, wording, structure and more.

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.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

- The classic one-liner, looking at examples from the likes of Jack Dee and Jimmy Carr.
- The mechanics of the classic one-liner and the key attributes of good joke writing.
- Honing and refining your own jokes to maximise their effect and illustrate fundamental joke writing techniques.

Along the way, we will read jokes, tell jokes and watch stand up comedians tell jokes on video.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identify the classic joke structure
- Begin writing jokes in that style
- Describe a range of comic devices that lie behind jokes
- Identify strategies for maximising the effect of a joke.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

All levels welcome in this introductory course. Some writing and reading will be done in the session. English fluency is essential.

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. No work outside of class.

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.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Why not flex your funny bone in Joke writing or in our three-week Writing comedy course? Please check the prospectus for dates. You may also be interested in writing for performance in one of our playwriting or screenwriting courses. Watch out for Ways into playwriting and Ways into screenwriting every term.

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

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.