Can comedy be taught?

Is it possible to learn to be a comedian? It’s one thing to be witty around a few friends but being a professional comedian is a lot different. For comedians who perform on stage doing stand-up routines they don’t need much wit at all, apart from for the odd heckle. The routine is prepared, rehearsed and repeated many times over. Does this then mean you can learn how to write jokes and be done?

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Overall I think the answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no. Having certain personality attributes and characteristics will help. They often say “its how you tell them” when it comes to jokes. See them written down and it isn’t that funny, see a comedian tell it, and it’s hilarious. Part of them will come from the comedians natural make-up.

A straight answer to the question of “can comedy be taught?” is yes. The reason for that is because there are university courses, and quite a few of them. In the UK you can do Comedy Writing & Performance BA (Hons) at Salford. Or Stand Up Comedy MA at the University of Kent. So yes, it can be taught.

But let’s go a bit more in-depth based on different types of comedy.

If you think what it takes then to be good at comedy. If you want to be a comedy writer for movies or TV programs studying writing (for any genre) will be very important. And honing a certain comedy style will aid your writing. From there getting short movies made to see the scripts come to life is vital. That is how you will get a deeper understanding of your writing and where you want to progress it. Studying successful comedy writers will also help, quite a lot.

If you are talking about being a stand-up comedian there are multiple things that need to be done. One is to learn the skill or writing jokes. Practicing delivery of jokes (in the mirror) and structuring whole routines is important, even if a routine is only 7 or 8minutes. Studying successful stand-ups and reading their stories of how they started and built up over the years can teach you valuable things. And also show you how long and how difficult it is. Believe it or not, you can actually buy books off the shelf which can help with all the aspects required. Such as Be A Great Stand-Up by Logan Murray.

Whatever type of comedy you are interested in, you can always learn about it. Because all comedy has a structure. You see the same techniques and processes gone through many times over. This is why you can learn about it and be taught it.

Once you have studied well and spent lots of time practicing and running thing past friends and family it is time to start to then build up a profile and so the journey begins.

All of this tells you that yes, to an extent, comedy definitely can be taught. Does this mean everyone will become good at it? No, life doesn’t quite work like that. But if you are interested in the industry and have a passion for it, then go for it!

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