Writing for Laughs

Module code: EN3204

This module aims to mix creative writing, criticism and theory in its exploration of modern and contemporary comedy. We will introduce influential theories of laughter, humour and comedy and demonstrate how these theories might apply to key ‘comic’ modern and contemporary texts. This module will explore, through creative practice, ways in which such theoretical and textual knowledge might inform new creative writing in the forms and genres covered. That is, the module aims to explore the subject theoretically, critically and through creative practice.

The module is structured in three main stages: theory, textual criticism, and creative practice. Within this tripartite structure, the module includes various strands, all of which concern the relationship between laughter and writing. Topics covered may include some of the following:

  • Classic and modern theories of laughter, humour and comedy
  • Comic fiction
  • Comic poetry
  • Comic plays
  • TV sitcoms
  • Stand-up comedy
  • The close relationship of comedy with other genres (such as tragedy and horror)
  • Creative writing in these and other areas.

All of these topics will be explored both critically and creatively. The module, that is, will involve reading, writing, viewing, analysing, critiquing and reflecting. In addition, because of the nature of the module, students will all give a short oral presentation, which can relate to any of the themes of the module.

Learning

  • 20 hours of seminars
  • 130 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Oral presentation (10%)
  • Creative and critical portfolio, 3,000 words (90%)