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Is That Funny? Am I Laughing? A No-Nonsense but Hilarious Deep Dive into Writing Humor


Focus on funny business in this five-week class focusing on different types of humor writing. Each session will involve a discussion of many humor writing techniques along with broader concepts of humor. There will be many handouts including examples of techniques and humor pieces relating to that week's category of humor.

There will also be writing assignments for each session, including the first one! These assignments will then be critiqued by your instructors so you can see what works, what doesn't, and why.

Prior to Week One: All About You
Write a one-page humorous bio of yourself. Don't worry how it sounds, we just want to get an idea of who you are and your sense of humor.

Week One: Stand-Up Humor
Writing stand-up comedy, TV sitcoms, satirical revues, amusing speeches, snappy retorts. Also, each participant begins their own writing project (see Week Five).

Week Two: Sit-Down Humor
Writing humorous short stories and novels, essays, reviews, poetry, love notes to your honey.

Week Three: Lean-In Humor
Writing humor from YOUR personal perspective as a person with a particular ethnic or religious background, a particular physical or mental condition, or a unique situation (ie. disability, addiction, non-binary sexual or gender identity, pet peeve, spouse of a circus clown, heavy-duty quirks, or even overwhelming normality).

Week Four: Break-Out Humor
We'll create our own humor categories and then write them.

Week Five: Showtime!
Each participant is invited to share the humor writing project they've been working on since the first session, using the many techniques we've discussed over the past month. Participation is not required but deeply, desperately and weepingly desired by the instructors.


Christine Howey is the former director of Lit Cleveland and has been a professional writer (often of humor) for more than 50 years. As a copywriter and creative director in advertising for 40 years, she wrote and produced multiple award-winning TV and radio commercials as well as print ads for clients such as McDonald's, Wendy's, The Plain Dealer, and many others. She has also been a theater critic for 25 years—Cleveland Free Times, The Plain Dealer, City Pages (Minneapolis, MN), currently Cleveland Scene— in which she often employs humor to make her points. She has written five books of poetry and three plays, all of which include humorous pieces and one poetry book, "Thin Chance, or How to Get a Reputation as a Dick," that is all humor. In the past she was commissioned to write two TV sitcom scripts as part of proposals to the networks and was the producer and comedy writer for the WMJI-radio husband-and-wife team of Dan Deely and Kim Scott. She is also pretty funny over lunch, especially if you pick up the check.

Anne Elder has won two prime-time Emmy Awards for co-writing Lily Tomlin's CBS specials and was nominated for co-writing three others (two for Lily Tomlin, one for Carol Burnett). She co-wrote Mitzi Gaynor's NBC specials and wrote for the Vicki Lawrence comedy series Mama's Family. She became a regular cast member of NBC's Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, remaining with the hit comedy hour for two seasons. Also, she contributed to an album on the Hidden Records label titled The Watergate Comedy Hour and HBO hired her as the producer of their first independent production, a satirical election special called A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House, hosted by Steve Allen.


Details: Is That Funny? Am I Laughing? A No-Nonsense but Hilarious Deep Dive into Writing Humor takes place Saturdays, October 14, October 21, October 28, November 4, and November 11 from 10am-12pm in person at the Literary Cleveland offices, 13002 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland OH 44120.

Prerequisite: None

Genre: Humor

Level: All levels

Format: Workshop

Location: This class takes place in-person at the Literary Cleveland offices, 13002 Larchmere Blvd in Cleveland.

Size: Limited to 12 participants (including scholarships).

Scholarships: Two scholarship spots are available for this class forwriters in Northeast Ohio. Apply by August 21.

Cancellations & Refunds: Cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the first class meeting to receive a full refund. Email


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NEW: As part of our ongoing efforts to make programs and classes more inclusive and accessible, we are now collecting voluntary demographic information during the registration process. The following information is entirely voluntary and will remain anonymous. It will only be used in aggregate to assess and improve services and inclusive practices to ensure we are serving our entire community equitably. Thank you!

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