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Course Catalog > Professional Development > Business > - Communication

Get Funny!  

Learn how to use humor to speak more effectively, write better, and increase your popularity.

The ability to create humor is a skill many people don't have, yet wish they did. If you're interested in learning how to come up with jokes or witticisms on the fly, punch up dull material for an audience, or make a living as a comedy writer, this course will get you going.

Once you've learned some of the methods of creating humor, you'll be ready to apply it to all aspects of your life. Punch up speeches and presentations so that the audience is instantly on your side. Mix laughter with learning in the classroom, and watch your students' attention spans grow. Add some humor to your web page and watch the hits explode as word gets out. Use your newfound sense of humor to entertain your friends, meet interesting people, and even make new friends! Learning should be fun, and this course is no exception. Filled with opportunities to laugh as you learn, "Get Funny" promises to be an entertaining and informative experience.


Requirements:

Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or newer.
  • Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.

Other:

  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Prerequisites:

There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Gain the ability to create humor, an important skill that can open many doors. This course is filled with opportunities to laugh as you learn how to come up with jokes or witticisms on the fly, punch up dull material for an audience, or entertain friends and even make new ones.

The History of Comedy

You'll start the course with a capsule review of comedy's roots. From ancient Egyptian graffiti to slapstick Viking sagas, humor has been a part of the world since humans first walked erect and realized that their hands were now free to applaud Ogg, that funny guy in the 9th cave.

Observation

"It's funny because it's true." Honing your powers of observation is the first step toward sharpening your wit. This lesson will help you understand some of the secrets of the great observational comics like Steven Wright, and Jerry Seinfeld. Bring a notebook, a pair of eyes, and a willingness to use them.

Joke Construction and the Unexpected

Now that you've observed reality, you need to learn to look at the world sideways and apply that knowledge. Clever wordplay can be a fast-track to a laugh. In this lesson, you'll learn how to construct a joke, write a pun, twist a cliché, use the unexpected, and begin to dazzle with your humor.

Absurdity and Exaggeration

In this lesson, you'll look at absurdity and exaggeration—two time-tested and wonderful sources of comedy. Absurdity is about finding your inner strangeness. Exaggeration is a major source of comedy. Really. It's HUGE.

Low Humor, Mean Humor, Sexual Innuendo, Bathroom Humor

Low humor, mean humor, sexual innuendo, bathroom humor—face it, they're all really easy. But do you need these crutches? Heck yeah. This lesson also includes a discussion of mean humor and gallows humor. What do they all have in common? The ability to offend people. In this lesson, you'll learn how to walk that line without stepping over it.

Pop Culture

This lesson is all about Pop Culture, or "If I See One More Brady Bunch Reference, I'm Going to Throw a Football At Your Nose". Pop culture is a humorist's best friend. From television and movies, to music and consumables, to politics and social trends, you'll find a wealth of material to aid you in your quest for amusement.

Visual Humor

Good slapstick or sight gags are tougher than you'd think. It's important to learn how to communicate without words. Few things are as memorable or as funny as a perfectly executed piece of visual humor. In this lesson, you'll learn by looking at examples from the comedians of the silent screen to Lucille Ball and beyond.

Satire, Parody and Sarcasm

Why think up original material when there's so much stuff out there you can just make fun of? Making fun of TV shows, movies, songs, social habits, or politicians can help you tap into brand new pockets of humor within you. Whatever your interests, there are opportunities for you to turn your wit toward the object of your admiration. This lesson will guide you in that quest.

Improvisation

Nothing hones your wit and pumps up those comic reflexes like improvisation. It's the perfect workout regime for the budding humorist. In this lesson, you'll learn the rules you need to follow to perform improvisational comedy—rules that can help you sharpen your wit and quicken your comebacks.

Using Humor in Your Life

There are countless ways to use humor every day. This lesson will guide you through using your newly honed sense of humor in business and social situations. You'll find out the remarkable benefits laughter has on your health.

Comedy Writing

You know how to be funny, now it's time to apply it. In this lesson, you'll explore comedy writing. Using the example of writing a script for television, you'll learn the blow-by-blow process of how to write and sell a script.

Marketing Your Brilliance

Now that you're a comic genius, you have an opportunity to cash in! In this final lesson, you'll explore some of the many markets open to you as a comedy writer: greeting cards, t-shirts, bumper stickers, comic books, comic strips and panels, gag writing, speech writing, advertising, print humor, and websites.



Joanna Sandsmark is a voice actress who has appeared in numerous projects, including the popular animated television series, "Rugrats." She is also a seasoned writer, having worked as a staff writer on the television show "Weird Science" and as a contributor to DC Comics. She has taught both writing and voice-over in various formats and is a member of the Writer's Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Sandsmark graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a degree in Communication Arts.

Wallace Wang is the author of over 40 computer books including "Microsoft Office 2019 For Dummies." In addition to writing computer books, he has also co-authored "Breaking Into Acting for Dummies" and ghost written several books about investing in real estate, day trading stocks, and becoming an entrepreneur. Some of his past jobs have included teaching computer science courses at the University of Zimbabwe, performing stand-up comedy, and appearing on a weekly radio show.

 

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