Come learn with us. Come laugh with us.
At Emerson, we believe that great comedy stems from a huge bank of knowledge. The BFA in Comedic Arts sustains an intense focus on comedy, while remaining rooted in the liberal arts by exposing you to a wide range of perspectives.
Our BFA in Comedic Arts is the first degree of its kind in the country. You’ll become immersed in a hands-on and multi-faceted exploration of comedy, learning to practice the craft while exploring its historical, cultural, and theoretical dimensions as a global art form.
In addition to your coursework with outstanding faculty, you can:
- Join one of the many Comedy Troupes and Groups, and explore professional learning opportunities through Emerson LA and apply for internships with places like Funny or Die, or the Groundlings Theater & School.
- Take advantage of global opportunities with London: From Shakespeare to Stand-Up or one of the many Emerson Around the World programs.
- You can also learn about comedy from scholars and professionals by attending events, symposiums, and master classes sponsored by The Center for Comedic Arts.
- Use the American Comedy Archives to gain access to a treasure trove of primary source material including oral histories from the country’s funniest people, including a broad network of Emerson alumni.
- See a list of our special guests and read up on the latest news and events connected to Comedic Arts at Emerson.
- Attend our annual Ready Wit in Comedy Award Ceremony, presented to a comedian whose work advances social justice. Our most recent recipient was Raphael Bob-Waksberg, creator of BoJack Horseman.
Comedic Arts in Los Angeles Program
Spend the fall semester of your junior year at Emerson's innovative L.A. campus & prepare to launch your career in comedy through three pillars of the Comedic Arts Program:
Performance - Train for the stage and screen with in-depth character development and sketch performance.
Production - Learn more about the "behind the scenes" aspects of making comedic productions.
Writing - Learn how to punch-up scripts and find the funny in everything you write
Starting in the Fall of 2023, first-semester juniors in the Comedic Arts major will spend a semester at the Emerson Los Angeles Center, where they will engage in an immersive 4-course, 16 credit, conservatory-style field of study. The purpose of this semester is to give students the opportunity to study comedy writing, performance, and production classes that take advantage of the vast network of industry resources and professionals that are unique to the LA-area. The L.A. Junior Semester will be required for all Comedic Arts Majors beginning in Fall 2023 (the program is optional for students who started the major in the fall 2021 or 2022).
Performing Sketch Comedy
Finding the Funny: Comedic Scene Study for TV
Creating Comedy #Content
Funny Business: Building a Career in Comedy
Our Comedic Arts curriculum integrates courses in writing, performance, production, and comedic studies to immerse you in a hands-on and multi-faceted exploration of comedy. You will learn to practice the craft of comedy while exploring its historical, cultural, and theoretical dimensions as a global art form. We draw our courses and distinguished faculty from the departments of Visual and Media Arts; Performing Arts; and Writing, Literature and Publishing. After striking a balance between writing, performance, and production in your first two years, you may choose to concentrate your studies in one or more of these arenas beginning in your junior year. The table below outlines the course requirements for a major in Comedic Arts.