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Second City Hollywood

Understanding Comedy: The Rules

An afternoon with David Misch

Understanding Comedy: The Rules TBA
This workshop is not offered every term. If you would like to be informed when it becomes available, please click here.

This class will give you an up close view of comedy's innards, the idea being that understanding comedy will help you do it!
"The Rules" is a mini-version of "Practical Foundations of Comedy", a course which David has taught at USC, UCLA, Oxford University and Columbia University, AFI and elsewhere. The class presents a critical and serious (though funny) exploration of comedy as an art form.
Topics include the Rule of 3 (Why are things funnier in three's? Really, why? I mean why?); the relationship between Comedy and Logic (Hint: they're bitter enemies); the calculations involved in timing; comedy cues and why withholding them is sometimes the best way to get a laugh; why your body is hilarious; the evil of punchlines; comedy placebos; and how the mechanics of jokes—tension and resolution, pattern recognition, misdirection, and surprise—provide a template for all humor.

$75, 3 hours

Prerequisites: Open to all students

About the instructor: David Misch is an author (Funny: The Book - Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Comedy), screenwriter (Mork and Mindy, Saturday Night Live, The Muppets Take Manhattan), teacher (his own course on comedy at USC, musical satire at UCLA), and lecturer.  His play Occupied is scheduled to be produced in Los Angeles later this year. More at