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 Her award-deserving humor has been published on’s Daily Shouts, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, National Lampoon, Jezebel, The Hairpin,, 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).


“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

“The editor of The Rumpus’s Funny Women column earns her title there and elsewhere, with spot-on essays with titles like ‘Addicted to Netflix: Teen-Soap-Opera Binge As Psychosis.’ She also has excellent literary taste, the perfect augmentation to any hilarious writer.”


“I really just have a bunch of blubbering accolades to shower on Elissa.”

Roxane Gay author of BAD FEMINIST

"Elissa is truly awesome. I loved this class!"

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