Comedy in the Classroom: Teaching Comedy, Humour and Satire

Adam SmithMMUi

About the York Research Unit for the Study of Satire

YRUSOS draws together researchers and satirists to historicise, problematise, theorise, teach and perform satire and satirical material.

This workshop will stage cross-disciplinary discussion of approaches to teaching comedic genres as writers, readers and performers. It will foreground the peculiar challenges and opportunities associated with these genres and seek to share useful pedagogical practices from different disciplines.

10mins Welcome from YRUSOS and introduction to the workshop
30mins 4 x Flash papers (approx. 7 mins)
15mins Activity in pairs/small groups
20mins Feedback and Discussion

The workshop will foster informal and free-flowing discussion amongst delegates from different disciplines and institutions. The flash-papers will provide prompts for discussion, establishing a series of positions and providing case-studies of how we approach the teaching of comedic and satirical material in our own practice.

This will be followed by a 15min activity in which delegates work through a series of questions about their own practice in small groups. This will promote networking and the dissemination of best practice. The final discussion, chaired by our speakers, will provide a space to share ideas and draw together themes emerging from the session.

We will encourage delegates to share their details with YRUSOS, ensuring these conversations continue after the conference has concluded.


Writing for Performance: Text, Play and Humour (Dr Claire Hind)

Associate Professor Dr Claire Hind, York St John University (Theatre and Performance)

Writing text for contemporary performance is an incongruous practice where the compositional elements of constructing a score and the approach towards performing the score arrive at a mismatch. Productively, this creative juxtaposition is paramount to the artist’s process because humour is a felt experience, one that relies upon the rules of a game and an attitude towards play.

Adapting Satire: Killing Stalin Again (Dr Robert Edgar)

Associate Professor Dr Robert Edgar, York St John University (Creative Writing)

This paper will consider approaches to teaching satire and comedy through the application of theories of literary adaptation to screen with reference to the graphic novel and film versions of The Death of Stalin. Approaches considered will include the relationship between history and fictional representation, reading graphic novels and the canon of work by Armando Iannucci.

Satire and Unlearning The Literature A Level (Dr Jo Waugh)

Dr Jo Waugh, York St John University (Literature)

Satire should rarely be studied with a straight face, and often it cannot be analysed via many of the strategies students have been used to, or indeed compelled to, use in their engagement with the literary text at school or college. When students learn to engage with insincerity, humour, playfulness, or internal contradictions in reading satire, then, they are learning to read and analyse in ways which will help them toward a more nuanced and ultimately useful mode of engaging with literary texts of all kinds.

Historical Humour and Satirical Literacy (Dr Adam James Smith)

Dr Adam James Smith, York St John University (Literature) 

Using a second-year optional module on eighteenth-century literature as a case-study, this paper will argue that detailed and extensive engagement with historic examples of ironic and satirical materials demands an especially nuanced and carefully contextualised mode of close textual analysis. It will demonstrate that comedic material can also be used to rehearse critical thinking and rhetorical skills applicable elsewhere on the degree and in professional life.

Sat 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm