Sophomores, please read me: If you consider yourself a Sophomore in academic year 2021-22 and the IntroSems' VCA shows you in a different cohort (i.e., Frosh or Junior), please make a note of your correct cohort within your statement of interest. It is not possible to change the cohort field in the IntroSems' VCA, but the instructor will see your note when they build their class.
IntroSems quarters and schedules subject to change--check back often. Visit Re-Approaching Stanford for the latest updates on Academic Year 2021-22.
I Bet You Think You're Funny: A Workshop in Humor
What makes writing funny? What are we doing when we try to be funny? Most importantly, what’s funny about you? This course will be a creative writing workshop in which you’ll exercise your native wit by developing short pieces of humor for the audience of your classmates.
Humor performs a vital service in our lives as a daily lubricant that makes everything else bearable. We regularly seek it in our amusement and value it highly in our friends, yet we seldom address humor directly in the academy, as if it weren’t worthy of or susceptible to inquiry. In this course, we’ll look at principles and structures that writers have, over the years, repeatedly used to make things funny, analyze models of humor from writers such as Dorothy Parker and Trevor Noah, and study theorists on the subject ranging from Henri Bergson to Hannah Gadsby. In the service of creating and understanding humor, we’ll also explore questions about what purposes humor serves, what our sense of humor reveals about us, and what relationship humor has with culture and power.
You’ll write in class, workshop your assignments and those of your fellow humorists, and discuss published examples and the issues they raise. I’ll distribute texts and video links via Canvas. Expect to write three short humor pieces, a standup routine, collaborate on a comedy sketch, and give a brief presentation.
Read Prof. Porter’s “Return of the Ape Man” published in My Name Was Never Frankenstein (2019, Indiana University Press).