“I found myself taking risks and pushing myself more than I have in other areas of school because the intent wasn’t merely to get through the grade and get the grade but to excel.” – Buck LePard

“The program will give you the foundation you need for success.  It will help you in whatever career path you choose because working in an ensemble applies to every part of your life.” – Lianna Carrera


Fall & Spring Semesters

All students admitted to Comedy Studies Fall/Spring take the same full load of 16 credit hours during the 15-week semester and present their work in an end-of-term showcase.


Creating Scenes Through Improvisation

Credit Hours: 3    Course number: THEA 343 
An introduction to the essential elements of scenic improvisation as practiced at The Second City, along with the concepts necessary to create improvisation-based sketch comedy and perform long form improvisation. Students create scenes through both pre-planned and spot improvisation, and explore concepts such as ensemble, relationship, character, status, wants and objectives, scenic structure, beats, and editing.


Acting III: Sketch and Theatrical Comedy

Credit Hours: 3 Course number: THEA 344
A monologue and scene study course that focuses on the techniques specific to acting comic texts with special emphasis on sketch, revue, and modern American theatrical comedy. 


Writing Comic Scenes

Credit Hours: 3 Course number: THEA 342
A broad overview of comedy writing explored through the pitching, writing, analysis, and rewriting of comic scenes for the stage, as well as the practical application of structure, characterization, and comic principles to longer forms such as television and film.


History and Analysis of Modern Comedy

Credit Hours: 3   Course number: THEA 341
An overview of the history of modern comedy-from its roots in ancient Greece and early vaudeville to the present day-is presented through lectures, readings, and recordings and active performance work. This course looks at comic traditions and periods, such as Commedia Dell’Arte, burlesque, clowning, vaudeville, cabaret, silent film, radio, standup, television, and film and provides students with a framework to analyze their work and that of others.


Physical and Vocal Training for Comedy

Credit Hours: 3   Course number: THEA 325
An active physical and vocal training that provides a physical comedy vocabulary, prepares students for performance classes, and exposes them to topics such as clowning, slapstick, mask work, accents, and dialects.


Production and Performance

Credit Hours: 1  Course number: THEA 286
Students meet with professionals from the world of comedy for discussions and practical advice on how to create a career in comedy.  They participate in special master classes with Chicago experts in special subject areas such as musical improvisation, writing comic prose, and story theatre with guest faculty.  In consultation, with a faculty advisor, they generate an independent project in their area of interest that is performed or presented in a final showcase to fellow Comedy Studies students.


Summer Semester

All students admitted to the Comedy Studies Summer Program take 12 credit hours during a 6-week semester and present their work in an end-of-term showcase. They will take the following courses:

THEA 343 Creating Scenes through Improvisation

THEA 325 Physical and Vocal Training for Comedy

THEA 341 History and Analysis of Modern Comedy

THEA  342 Writing Comic Scenes