If you like comedy and you like writing words, you'll love how it feels to do both at the same time.
In this class, we'll focus on satire as a tool for responding to real-life events, social phenomena, and culture. We'll explore all the different forms satire can take, from satirical news (think The Onion and Reductress) to satirical essays (think "A Modest Proposal") to cultural commentary (think The Boondocks and Silicon Valley) to crafting satirical voices and monologues (think The Colbert Report).
At its core, satire is a way of voicing criticism of something you don't agree with. It can be used to subvert powerful authority figures, and it can be used to brutally ridicule banana-flavored Runts. We'll cover topics ranging from big political news and pop culture events to corporate rhetoric and everyday social interactions.
Students will learn how to brainstorm satirical topics (that have nothing to do with how their teacher dresses), how to write satirical titles and headlines, how to produce short- and long-form satire, and how to pitch satire to prospective publications so that they can afford to buy any Runts flavor of their choice.
This master class will delve into all the major weapons available in your humor-writing arsenal, from hyperbole and understatement to surrealism and irony. Students will learn to recognize these comedic devices in existing satire, and how to utilize them in their own humor.
Students will participate in humor writing exercises during the course of the workshop and receive peer and instructor feedback. Each student will also be taught to love the Oxford comma for free, out of the kindness of the teacher's heart.
This is the ideal class for anyone who finds themselves mimicking how other people write and talk, who enjoys reading the news so they can make fun of it, and who generally finds glee in mocking the powers that be. (Writers new to satire and experienced satire writers alike are welcome.)
- Peer and instructor feedback on humor writing exercises
- Examples and explanations of the major comedic devices writers can use to write humor
- Step-by-step instructions on how to title and structure your humor for submission, how to write pitch emails, and how to submit your satire to publications
- Advice on how to regularly produce humor, how to seek feedback, and how to turn writing into an everyday activity
Jean-Luc Bouchard is a writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Vox, Wigleaf, Epiphany, PANK, The Paris Review's The Daily, and other publications. He is the winner of Split Lip Magazine’s 2019 flash fiction contest and Epiphany Magazine’s 2016 “Writers Under 30” contest, was included on Wigleaf’s 2018 short fiction longlist, and was a finalist for the 2021 James Hurst Prize for Fiction. He is a contributor to The Onion, and is currently an MFA candidate in fiction at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His work can be found at jeanlucbouchard.com.
"I've been working with Jean-Luc for over a year at Quartz and go to him for both general headlines and editing the occasional satirical news piece. Every time I work with him, he is both patient and instructive, to the point where he helps me generate original ideas on my own. He has a way of asking questions that help me come up with the best possible stories myself, rather than him simply doing it for me."
"Jean-Luc was always ready to provide astute notes and edits; he was truly invested in bettering the group’s work as a whole."
"Each story was completely original and gripping. I didn't want any of them to end, but the writer knew exactly how long each story needed to be."