Comedy | Workshop

6-Week Humor Writing Workshop

Learn to write alternative facts for's Daily Shouts, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Belladonna, Robot Butt, and more in this very good six-week humor seminar/workshop/prayer circle.

There are many forms of comedic writing, from sketch to Sedaris, but in this class we’ll dismantle the short conceptual humor piece and discuss every which way to write, rewrite, submit, resubmit, and publish brag-worthy jokes-cum-prose.

However niche and epigrammatic, we may apply these lessons, virtues, and cheap tricks to all humorous writing, short fiction, personal essays, and emails, if that's what you're into.

Plus, literary humor is the best gateway to comedy writing as a career or hobby.

Students will also learn (so help me God) the fundamentals of submitting (how to: write a no-miss cover letter, build a bio, get paid, follow up, and dance it out). Productivity and performance advice will be given when the time is right.

And included at no extra cost: Guest hosts Jen Spyra (The New Yorker, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Onion) and Caitlin Kunkel (The Second City Network and The Belladonna). Plus pro tips from all-star contributors to Daily Shouts, Reductress, and miscellaneous TV shows.

Each student (hereupon known as "friend") will brainstorm, compose, and workshop five successful shortish parodies and satires—including general, genre, social and political satire, character monologue, and balderdash—or die trying.

Good news: you'll get to meet once with me for an individual conference/dance experience to discuss goals, vision boards, and overall progress. We'll each prepare compliments for the other and hug it out.


-the ability to carefully, craftily break down the short humor piece to better understand how to create your own

-peer and instructor feedback on five satires or parodies

-fluency in the fundamentals of submitting your humor writing - from how to prepare a piece for submission to what venues are  best suited to your writing. 

-one individualized meeting with the instructor, to address your writing style, goals, and areas for improvement 

-a clearer sense of your weapons as a humorist, and the skills to deploy them on the page 

-exclusive access to our alumni newsletter, a monthly roundup of submission opportunities (prizes, residencies, lit mags, grants, and more), plus a 10% discount on all future classes

-more confidence as a writer, both on and off the page

Elissa Bassist

Elissa Bassist is the editor of the column “Funny Women” on The Rumpus and the author of Hysterical, a tragicomic memoir published by Hachette. Her writing appears in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Creative Nonfiction, and more, including the best-seller Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, ed. by Roxane Gay. She teaches writing nationally and is probably her therapist's favorite.


“Elissa is too good for most anybody.”

Bill Murray hijacking her Tinder

“Love your work on The Rumpus! You really do have quite a special, strong, funny voice. I LOVE YOUR WRITING! Have I not made that clear?”

Jill Soloway

"Elissa is one of the most supportive and kindest teachers I've had, all while still delivering EXCELLENT critiques. She is a treasure!"

former student

"Elissa was extremely knowledgeable, supportive, and funny! I walked away with a stronger grasp of humor writing structure and technique. And thanks to Elissa’s supportive teaching style, I feel more confident as a writer and more comfortable expressing my voice. Elissa also imparted her knowledge of the creative writing process and shared her tools and techniques for generating ideas and tackling first drafts and revisions. These are practices that I’ll continue using after the class."

former student

"I have recommended this class to SO MANY PEOPLE. Elissa is an amazing teacher. She creates such an awesome environment where everyone generally wants to improve AND she can explain to you what isn't working without hurting your ego in the slightest. If it weren't weird, I'd take this class ten more times. Makes me think good things about Catapult."

former student

“Had a lot of fun with the class, and for the first time, I feel like I can write funny things (though I've always believed I'm extremely funny, and my friends think so too). Elissa’s enthusiasm and laughter are infectious, would definitely take a class with her again.”

former student

“This class taught me so much about humor and also probably made me a better person (for learning how to see the humor in people). Before Elissa’s class I didn't really understand the value of spending time and energy on writing genres that aren't your primary interest. In her class I learned about using humor to write about sad stuff, which I'd never attempted before."

former student

"Thanks for coming back to the New School to teach us all how to be funny. Besides the valuable advice, I found your words about the business aspect of the writing and submissions helpful. I’ve got a funny novel I’m finishing, and I’ll put your advice to use soon."

former student

"I’ve heard several breathless, fawning reviews (no joke) and I know the students were thrilled to have you here. Students were particularly happy that the workshop was focused on specific (achievable, publishable) kinds of humor writing (and not like, 'how to land a spot in the writer’s room of THE BIG BANG THEORY')."

Justin Sherwood part-time lecturer/executive secretary at the New School