Humor Writing: How to Think, Write, Speak, and Be Funnier!

Great for Writing & Public Speaking: Learn the Techniques Professional Humorists Use to Create Consistently Funny Comedy
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  • Lectures 59
  • Length 4 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 9/2014 English

Course Description

This course originally cost $89.
The price has been adjusted to fit Udemy's new pricing guidelines.


Contrary to popular belief, a “sense of humor" is not a magical “gift" a few special people are born with. Humor and writing are skills anyone can develop.

In this online workshop, award-winning humorist and bestselling author Dave Fox teaches you how!

Discover the techniques professional comedy writers use to write consistently funny material. You'll learn how to think, write, speak, and be funnier.

Each lesson includes specific writing techniques and exercises to incite maximum laughs. We'll focus on writing humor columns, personal essays, and creative non-fiction, but the skills you learn can be applied to writing genres of all sorts -- fiction and non-fiction -- as well as stand-up and sketch comedy, cartooning, movie scripts, and more.

Full-blown comedy might or might not be your goal. Perhaps you want to take more serious forms of writing — fiction, feature articles, blog posts, travel writing, children's stories, personal memoirs … even office memos, cover letters, or devilishly sexy personal ads — and sprinkle in some giggles. Whatever genres you write in, this class will help you infuse more laughter into your work.

This course is also wildly useful for people who do any kind of public speaking, who want to keep their audiences awake and riveted to what they are saying.

So come join us in this fun and inspiring (and occasionally weird) workshop, and stretch your comedic potential to cackle-inducing new levels!

Some of the topics we'll cover include:

  • The universal element present in all humor
  • Proven tricks to create or strengthen your comedy
  • Giving your jokes maximum impact with the right words and timing
  • Stretching your punch lines to make them punchier
  • Streamlining your phrasing so your punch lines don't get swallowed up in flabby verbiage. (Mastering this skill will make a vast improvement in all of your writing.)
  • Learning from your favorite professional humorists
  • When and why to throw away your best joke
  • Publishing your humor
  • How to not be that annoying guy at the party with the lampshade on his head
What's Included:
  • Lots of fun and super-informative video lessons.
  • Links to lots more videos on YouTube that illustrate specific concepts you've learned. (That's right! You can watch "Saturday Night Live" sketches and a clip from the iconic "Soup Nazi" episode of "Seinfeld" ... and call it studying!
  • A free e-book of humor essays referenced in the videos
  • A teacher who's a best-selling author and award-winning humorist ... who loves helping people become hilarious.
  • And a few more surprises in the works.

I am utterly positive you will not find a humor writing course of this quality anywhere for such a low price! (And if you disagree after checking it out, Udemy offers a 30-day, no-hassle, money-back guarantee.)

So hey! What are you waiting for? Dive in today and start making people laugh so hard, milk will come out of their noses ... even when they're not drinking milk!


"You are the best writing teacher I have ever had. Talented, funny, approachable, and structured."

-- Leslie in Surrey, England


"Dave Fox is an amazing teacher who will give you online feedback as if you were sitting right next to him."

-- Joan in Bakersfield, California


Also check out my other writing courses on Udemy:

  • Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!)
  • Travel Writing: Explore the World and Publish Your Stories
  • Write-Brained 1: Overcome Writer's Block and Write with Confidence! (The first in my new series of courses on the psychology of writing: This course explores how to cure writer's block, writer's overwhelm, and perfectionism. You'll write more, write better, and write more happily.)

What are the requirements?

  • You must be extremely intelligent, or kind of dumb, or somewhere in between.
  • You must know how to play nicely in the online classrooms.
  • And if you're feeling a little nervous about signing up for a humor writing course, that is a good thing. It means you are curious enough to test your abilities and learn something new. Don't panic! Everything is going to be okay!
  • Finally, if you are signing up at a reduced price during the beta-testing phase, please understand that some of the videos are still works in progress and will be improved dramatically within the next month or two. In the meantime, thanks for your patience! The audio portions of the videos are still packed with information!

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Master the techniques professional humorists and comedy writers use to create consistently hilarious material
  • Learn how to find humor in nearly any situation
  • Discover how to take something that is funny, and stretch it to make it a lot funnier.
  • Understand how when you write or present humorous material, subtle things like word choice, word order, and pacing can make a profound difference in whether or not something is funny.
  • Learn how to observe comedic masters and learn from what they do.
  • Learn how humor can be used in nearly any form of writing or presentation to make it more captivating.

What is the target audience?

  • Writers in all genres -- with the possible exception of obituaries.
  • Public speakers, presenters, and anyone who talks to audiences.
  • Aspiring stand-up comedians.
  • Extremely intelligent llamas
  • People who want to be funnier
  • (And if you're single, did you know that a sense of humor is one of the things people say they find most attractive? Take this course and you'll be able to write killer online personal ads -- you sexy thing, you!)

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: How to Write, Think, and Be Funnier
3 pages

This course is still "under construction" and being polished into a shinier version. All of the information you need is already here, however. This enthralling "Welcome Letter" explains what's going on, and all the cool stuff that's still on the way.

03:39

Welcome to "Professional Humor Tricks for Writers, Speakers, and Other Misfits!" This course is designed for a wide range of writers and speakers. You'll discover that, contrary to popular belief, a "sense of humor" is not a magical gift that only special people have. It's a skill anyone can learn.

03:29

Can you really learn how to be a funnier person? Yes! In this lesson, we'll talk about why and how it's possible.

03:25

Some people wonder if studying humor, and learning comedy techniques, takes away the creativity. But no! Just like studying music theory will make you a better musician and composer, studying "comedic theory" will make you a stronger and more consistent humorist. The techniques you learn become your tools, your bag of tricks to draw from. You use those tools to ratchet up your creativity in the joke-writing and storytelling process, so that being funny becomes a lot easier.

02:17

Who is your favorite humor writer or comedian? Do you have a favorite movie, a TV show that consistently cracks you up? You can choose anybody you want to be your virtual mentor. Here's how to do that ... and how to thwart the dreaded Cubic Zirconium Conundrum.

05:01

Whether it's a published story, a scripted event, something you randomly blurt out, or an unexpected moment in your day, if something is funny, there's a single root cause.

03:25

More funny ideas flit through your brain on a daily basis than you realize, yet most of them vanish quickly. Here's how to fix that.

Article

Welcome to our online Comedy Lab -- your place to test out what you've been learning and get some hands-on humor writing experience.

Article

It's time to start learning from your favorite funny person.

Article

Start dissecting all things funny and your humor skills will soar.

Article

When you fish for ideas, you need to carry a net.

74 pages

Throughout this course, I include short excerpts from my own humor columns as examples of various techniques. This free, downloadable e-book includes all of those columns in their entirety.

As you work through the lessons, you can refer back to this e-book and read the stories pertaining to each individual lesson. Enjoy the stories -- and also watch for the techniques I use as you read them!

1 page

At the end of each section, you'll find a single-page "cheat sheet" summary to help you review and retain what you've learned so far.

Section 2: Set-Ups and Punch Lines
05:00

You can't have a punch line without a set-up -- and different kinds of comedy call for different kinds of set-ups.

The One-Two Punch in Action: "Almost Live" and "Saturday Night Live" clips
Article
02:59

A lot of potentially hilarious jokes fizzle -- not because they aren't funny, but because they're not structured in a funny way. In this lesson, we explore a simple way to solve that problem.

07:11

Now that we've learned the basic structure of individual jokes, we learn now to weave those jokes together into longer humor tales, essays, and presentations -- with an easy-to-master formula that's used by professional storytellers, sketch comedy and improv artists, TV sitcom and movie writers, and more.

The "Hero Up a Tree" Technique in Action: SNL's "Luvahs in the Hot Tub" sketch
Article
01:52

The "Things Go Wrong" idea is the basic concept to humor, but describing how they go wrong can make the difference between whether or not you spark laughs.

Article

It's time to tackle your first humor column for the Comedy Lab.

Section Two "Cheat Sheet" Summary: A one-page review of what we've learned.
1 page
Section 3: Beginnings, Silly Putty, and Endings
05:35

Learn how to hook your readers from the very beginning ... before they wander elsewhere.

02:31

Why you shouldn't always begin at the beginning -- and where to start instead.

05:58

How to stretch your humor and make it funnier.

07:00

Wrapping up your story is often the hardest part.

Article

Squash some Silly Putty on your words and start stretching!

Section Three "Cheat Sheet" Summary: A one-page review of what we've learned.
1 page
Section 4: Twelve Techniques for Making Things Funny (And Funnier)
The Twelve Techniques: Your Bag of Tricks to Draw From When Writing Punch Lines
03:30
Parallels: The Fine Art of Incongruity
02:35
Binky the Rat
Article
Parallels in Action: Eddy Izzard's Death Star Canteen (The Lego Edition)
Article
Takes-of-Three and U-Turns: How to Yank Your Audience Where They Least Expect It
02:10
Bad Math: Why Some Numbers are Funnier than Others
03:51
The Fine Art of Telling Lies (Dave Barry's Not Making This Up?)
02:22
Twisted Interpretations: How to Get Your Readers Naked
02:52
Uh-Oh! (How to Build Comedic Tension)
01:43
For Better or Worse: Superiority, Inferiority and False Bravado
04:29
Superiority in Action: Glove and Boot's "Vertical Video Syndrome"
Article
False Bravado in Action: Stephen Colbert vs. Google
Article
Repetition and Callbacks: Lessons From the Soup Nazi
04:22
Repetition in Action: Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" episode.
Article
Comedy Lab: Punch It Up!
Article
Section Four "Cheat Sheet" Summary: A one-page review of what we've learned.
1 page
Section 5: Tightening and Pacing
Don't Drown Your Jokes! - Why Fewer Words Mean More Laughs
05:12
Prune Your Words and Tighten Your Tales for Maximum Impact
05:42
Why You Should Always be Willing to Throw Away Your Best Joke
Article
Timing is Everything: How to Use Comedic Pauses in Both Spoken and Written Humor
06:36
How to Scream: Crank Up the Volume in Your Punch Lines!
02:49
Survival Tips for Public Speakers: What to Do if Your Audience Doesn't Laugh
01:37
Comedy Lab: Tighten Up!
Article
Section Five "Cheat Sheet" Summary: A one-page review of what we've learned.
1 page
Section 6: Expose Yourself!
Where, Why, and How to Publish Your Humor
08:05
Dot-Comedy: Launching Your Humor Writing Career on the Internet
03:20
Publishing Your Humor in Newspapers and Magazines
03:39
How to Play the Odds and Get Published
01:49
Go Be Funny! This is Your Final Lesson but the Party is Just Getting Started!
04:54
Comedy Lab: Polish Your Final Draft
Article
Article

Pitch Your Story

You’ve worked hard in this course and hopefully created some masterful humor. Now that you’ve completed the previous Comedy Lab exercise and polished up a final draft, it’s time to fling it into the world.

For this final exercise, give some thoughts to where you might publish that story. You might also come up with ideas for different versions you could eventually write and pitch to other publications.

Once you’ve given that some thought, share your ideas here – and a sample pitch letter too if you like!

(And remember, I’m always looking for submissions to Globejotting.com. I especially love travel humor but will consider other topics too. If you’re interested, check out the Writers’ Guidelines.)

Section Six "Cheat Sheet" Summary: A one-page review of what we've learned.
1 page

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Instructor Biography

Dave Fox, Bestselling Travel Author / Writing and Humor Coach

Dave Fox is on a mission to help people tell scintillating stories. He's a professional travel and humor writer, a writing and humor coach, a chronic storyteller, and the author of two bestselling books. Dave thrives on stepping outside of his cultural comfort zones in search of adventures and misadventures. He also makes really good sandwiches if you ask him nicely.

Originally from the United States, Dave started travel journaling at age seven when his family moved to England for a year. During that time, he developed an obsession with foreign cultures, which eventually morphed into his travel writing career. He also developed a British accent, which eventually morphed back to a mostly-American accent, but he respects your right to spell "humour" with that extra "U" if it makes you happy.

Dave's love for humo(u)r writing evolved in early adulthood when he discovered office memos didn't have to be boring. He fled nine-to-five life in 2001 on a mission to expand beyond office memos, and published his first book of travel-humor essays three years later after winning the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop Book Proposal Contest. He has been teaching writing workshops for more than 20 years. He has been making sandwiches even longer.

Dave has worked as a Public Radio news anchor, a tour guide for Rick Steves' Europe, an international cruise ship lecturer, and an iguana groomer. (Okay, not really an iguana groomer. Iguanas get cranky when you try to groom them.) His work has been featured on the History Channel, Channel NewsAsia, and national radio broadcasts in the US and Australia. He has also been an opening speaker for Princess Märtha Louise of Norway. (True story: When the princess told Dave he spoke excellent Norwegian, Dave replied, "Thank you, Your Majesty. So do you.")

For 16 years, Dave guided tours around Europe for Rick Steves' travel company. He has lived in the US, England, Norway, and Turkey and Singapore. He currently lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where he works as the Vietnam correspondent for TTG Asia and freelances for a variety of other publications including the Straits Times of Singapore, and Singapore Airlines' magazine and website. His work has also appeared in books by Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Travelers' Tales, and the 2014 Moon Guide to Burma.

Dave's own books, Getting Lost: Mishaps of an Accidental Nomad, and Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!), have both been Amazon travel bestsellers. He is currently working on a new book, The Ghosts of Bui Vien Street, about modern life in Ho Chi Minh City.

Dave shares his travel tales, humor essays, and writing advice on his website. (Please see below for the link.) He is available for one-on-one writing and travel coaching via Skype, e-mail, and in person.

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