Getting to Yes, And

Comedy Studies


Anne Libera

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Kelly explores The Second City's landmark college program Comedy Studies with it's Director, Anne Libera.

Your college program is called Comedy Studies. What is it in a nutshell?

“Comedy Studies is functionally a semester abroad at Second City. It is part of the larger degree program that I run at Columbia College, Chicago, in comedy writing and performance, but it's open not just to Columbia Comedy majors, but to college students and non-traditional students all over the country who are interested in doing really in depth studying of comedy. I was the artistic director for the Second City training Center, and what I saw was that the people who really succeeded in comedy, both at our theater and elsewhere, were very specifically people who are writer/ director/performers who understood how their work worked across mediums.”

So, students for the program could be interested in stand-up; they could be writers; or they could be improvisors.

"The book that I'm working on is called Funnier, because one of the questions I always get asked is, can you teach someone how to be funny? And I always say I don't care. What I care about is, can I make people who are funny funnier. So, the idea behind the program, was, how do I create something where people who are improvisers are forced to write because they're going to learn something about comedy through writing it. That's different from improvisation. And I'm going to make the people who are clowns do improv, and I'm going to make the standups who are good at jokes, do acting. And all of this is going to allow them to really move forward as comedians, because the core of the program is what I call comedy cross training.”

What kind of parent is interested in this program for their kid?

“A lot of my students have a parent - and not always a dad – sometimes a mom, too, who loves comedy and sort of taught them early that comedy was something that had value, and that was part of their shared culture. You know, in the same way that I made our son watch all those comedy movies with me every Sunday night.”

Photo Credit: Tim Schmidt

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