British Comedy Guide

Writing Stand-Up Comedy

Writing Stand-up Comedy 1.
  • Writing
  • £105
  • Next: 21 Jul 2020 (5 x Tuesday nights)
  • Online

In this course we'll explore how the writing of stand-up comedy is inseparable from the performance of it and how to write for live performance. There are also many ways of 'writing' stand-up from typing up a script to bullet-point summaries to voice-notes to writing on stage and all of these approaches will be taught and embraced.

When you write stand-up, you are also writing for your own voice and persona, so we'll explore and develop this on-stage version of you. Topics covered include topical material, routines, rants, one-liners and story-telling. Watching and analysing stand-up comedy clips selected by Chris, and also nominated by you, will give examples of comedy techniques in action that you will then try for yourself.

Suitable for both beginners and gigging comics, you'll complete the course with new material and many new tools, technique and perspectives on writing stand-up.

Dates and booking

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July 21st - Aug 18th 2020

Tuesday 21st July 2020, 7pm - 9pm (5 x Tuesday nights)
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£105 £99.75 Book

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More details

Each week's class takes on fresh topics for creative exploration in the session, setting you up for a week of developing new material which you can submit to Chris in advance of the next session and you'll have the opportunity to share with the rest of the group too for their reactions.

Chris will give you detailed and inspiring feedback on what's working and why, and how to improve the material and your stand-up writing generally. Comics discussed on the course, with video analysis, include Kevin Hart, Daniel Kitson, Aisling Bea, Jerry Seinfeld, Maria Bamford, Michelle Wolf, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, Milton Jones and more… In advance of each session you will be invited to nominate clips from stand-ups that you like for analysis.

Week 1
Ways of writing stand-up writing from typing up a script to recording voices notes. Writing for the live audience and developing your persona.

Week 2
Misdirection/ rule-of-three and routines into story-telling. We'll explore ways of working with a subject and exploring it from multiple angles in stand-up style. Plus using questions to generate comic ideas. This will develop into storytelling, introducing 'dramatic irony'.

Week 4
Story-telling. How to take incidents and situations from your life and turn them into a stand-up story. We'll do more work on dramatic irony, will further explore act-outs and story-structure.

Week 5
One-liner joke writing, looking at innocent, sick and surreal gags. We'll work with 'afterthought' and 'beforethoughts' and will explore jokes that work with attitude as well as ones that are more linguistic or conceptual.

Week 5
Writing topical and satirical material - proven techniques for finding the funny in the news and current events (from the big stories to the smaller and more quirky ones).

How it works

Each course is made up of weekly 2 hour Zoom sessions. These are fully interactive, creative classes. Relevant comedy clips are shown, discussed and analysed. You'll undertake creative exercises tailored for the online environment to explore the tools and techniques we're working with. Throughout the classes you'll receive immediate, helpful and inspiring feedback and insights. The sessions end with homework being set and then you have the week between sessions to work on the comedy writing task. You can submit your work in advance of the next session for personalised feedback. You will also receive detailed notes on the topics covered after each session.


This course is run by Chris Head.

When booking a place on this course or joining a waiting/notification list, your name and email address will be shared with the course provider, who may contact you about this and/or future courses. Your payment details are not shared.