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Second City Chicago

Comedy Writing

Master the skills of writing sketch comedy in this four-level program designed for writers and actors of all experience levels. Learn basic scene structure, character development, establish action, and learn the styles and genres of comedy. Weekly writing assignments & in-class exercises generate material and establish a regular writing schedule.

Level 1: $329/$299 early registration, 3 hours, 8 weeks
Levels 2-6: $345/$315 early registration per level, 3 hours, 8 weeks
Writing 1 is offered every term

Prerequisites: No experience necessary. Class levels should be taken in consecutive order.


Writing 1 TERM 2 2015
Registration for some class times in future terms may be open. Additional class times will become available when registration for the term opens. Check our term calendar for upcoming term and registration dates.

    Foundations of sketch comedy—Learn how to “write” like an improviser. Brainstorm ideas, create environment, write dialogue, work with story, write for the stage, and more. This course lays the foundation for writing comic scenes in The Second City tradition.

Writing 2 TERM 1 2015

    Basic Sketch Structure—Practice pitching and writing basic sketch premises; explore point of view and discover how satire differs from parody; gain tools to revise and sharpen your sketch writing.


Writing 3 TERM 1 2015

    Building Blocks of a Sketch Revue—Explore sketch structures that “break the rules”, including blackouts and clothesline scenes. Expand your ability to collaborate with other writers as you learn the structure of a Second City sketch revue.

Writing 4 TERM 1 2015

    Creating Satire—Strengthen your own voice as a writer as you explore concepts of satire founded in historical or personal events. Gain new tools for rewriting your sketches to strengthen the point of view. This term includes special workshops in songwriting and working with actors. Students who continue on to Writing 5 must submit a scenic writing sample for admission.


Writing 5 & 6 builds upon the foundation of the Core Writing Program and gives writers the opportunity to experience the process of creating a stage revue.

Prerequisites: Completion of Comedy Writing Levels 1-4 and submission of a sketch for review. Students returning from hiatus wishing to enroll in the Stage Revue course should contact the Training Center at 312-664-3959 no less than 4 weeks before the start of a new term.


Writing 5 REGISTER  *Approval required

    Creating A Revue—Writers get the opportunity to create an original stage revue. In Writing 5, students work as teams to generate original material that is molded into a revue and cast performers drawn from student and alumni actors of the Training Center.

Writing 6 REGISTER

    Producing a Revue—Produce a Second City-style revue, from pre-production through closing night. Students take on production roles as they rehearse and prepare their revue for presentation in Donny’s Skybox Theatre or the de Maat Studio Theatre.