Comedy Writing Intensive

Open to students entering grades 9 through 12 or freshman year of college in the fall
III - August 10th – August 14th, 2020
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 10:10 a.m.–12:00 p.m. and 2:10–4:00 p.m.
Paulina Pinsky

“I feel that I have gained a deeper understanding of the world of comedy.” – Andrew M. | East Islip, New York 

Course Description

In this course students are introduced to the key tenets of writing and performing comedy. With the guidance of professional New York City performers and writers, they learn how to generate writing through improvisational comedy. Budding comedians and comedy writers learn how to make people laugh both on and off the page, a skill that can take practitioners down a variety of career paths on stage and in film and television. Participants hone their comedic sensibilities with a wide variety of exercises and readings, and build confidence by learning the art of Yes, and! Subject areas include sketch comedy, improvisational comedy, and stand-up. The course features frequent guest speakers.

Courses in creative writing are offered in conjunction with the Writing Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Overseen by Chair of Creative Writing Timothy Donnelly, Professor Alan Ziegler, and Director of Creative Writing for Pre-College Programs Christina Rumpf, the creative writing courses are designed to challenge and engage students interested in literary creation, providing them with a substantial foundation for further exploration of their creative work.


Paulina Pinsky

Paulina Pinsky is well-versed in both the academic and practical aspects of comedy. Before she pursued her MFA in nonfiction creative writing at Columbia University, Paulina studied American studies with a concentration in media and popular culture at Barnard College. Her undergraduate thesis took a feminist disabilities lens on the career and life of stand-up comedian Joan Rivers. After graduation, Paulina was admitted to the prestigious Second City Conservatory in Chicago, where she studied improvisational and sketch comedy. Because she loves a spotlight, Paulina performs improv monthly with her troupe.

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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.