Fiction | Master Class

Humor Writing Master Class

In this once-in-a-lifetime seminar/workshop, we’ll dismantle the short conceptual humor piece and discuss all the ways to write and publish brag-worthy jokes-cum-prose. There are many forms of comedic writing, from sketch to Sedaris, but this workshop will revolve around the 600-800-word variety à la McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The New Yorker’s Shouts & Murmurs. However niche and epigrammatic, we may apply these lessons, virtues, and exercises to all writing. In addition to honing bookish wit by understanding the form, techniques, and cheap tricks, students will also learn (so help me God) the fundamentals of submitting humor (how to: write a perfect pithy cover letter, build a bio, get paid, and sit in a chair).

In this two-day master class, each student will brainstorm, write, and workshop a successful shortish parody/satire or die trying. 

Elissa Bassist

Elissa Bassist edits the column “Funny Women” on TheRumpus.net. Her award-deserving humor has been published on NewYorker.com’s Daily Shouts, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, National Lampoon, Jezebel, The Hairpin, NYMag.com, this bio, and more. Formerly the producer/host of Literary Death Match and managing editor of The Best American Nonrequired Reading, currently she’s the writers’ assistant for The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (past honorees include Will Ferrell, Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Burnett, Eddie Murphy, and Bill Murray).

Testimonials

“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

"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

“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

"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