The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint-Jokers earn credit in Comedy 101

For all the teachers who said school was no place for jokes and pranks, it seems the class clown is getting the last laugh by earning college credit for his wisecracks.

And, no, I am not joking around. The Second City in Chicago, a performing arts school, offers students the ability to hone their comedic craft with a 16-hour, semester-long program that provides courses in improvisation, writing for comedy, politics for satire and even comedy history—all for a mere $8,000.

And upon completion of their Comedy Study program, students will receive 16 credit hours from Columbia College Chicago.

The Web site promises to cover all of the elements the school says comprise comedic genius: technique, content, point of view and creativity.

But can humor really be taught in a classroom? It just seems a bit ridiculous.

Honestly, do you think Richard Pryor was great because he held a degree in comedy studies?

The controversial comic came from humble beginnings. Pryor drew upon his own horrible experiences and turned them into observations for America to laugh at. Regardless if you love or hate him, that is comedic genius.

And how about George Carlin (who used to perform regularly at TCC back in the ‘60s)? While he may have learned his “Seven Dirty Words” at school, I suspect he did not perfect them in the classroom.

Or let’s look at the beloved Johnny Carson. We love him for his gentle wit and charm. Carson could quickly turn a bad monologue around, simply by announcing “Attention K-Mart shoppers!”

Again, I am sure this odd (but admit it, you laughed) technique wasn’t written on the pages of a textbook. Nor was there ever a how-to manual on how to portray Carnac the Magnificent.

I recall as a kid watching tapes of today’s big name comedians perform at the Improv—before they were big names.

Ray Romano, Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Martin are just a few heavy-hitters who started out doing stand-up on a small, smoky stage.

Through many years of harsh audiences, a few failed sit-coms and talk shows, these comedic giants have earned respect and perfected their craft—experience that could never be simulated in a college classroom.

But perhaps they could expand the classes into a doctorate program.

Dr. George Carlin, now that has a ring to it, doesn’t it?

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