Laughing Matters - Film and Television Comedy

Ref: C2225480

What makes you laugh – and why? This course will explore the diverse types of humour and how jokes and funny moments are constructed. Each week a different aspect of humour will be analysed: ranging from the physicality of the silent slapstick clowns like Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd, to how they were overtaken by verbal gagsters and wise-crackers, which led to the sassy battle of the sexes found in screwball comedies. It will also explore the dynamics of comedy teams like Laurel and Hardy and Monty Python and discover how comedy often encompasses surrealism and pushes the boundaries of bad taste. Switching to the smaller screen it will examine how sitcoms operate and how they have evolved over the past sixty years. Like all the best sitcoms, this course comes “with guaranteed hilarious results” and will also feature the punchline to the following joke: “How many WEA tutors does it take to change a lightbulb?...!”

Course aim

The main aim of this course is to explore the various types of comedy, enabling the student to watch films, sitcoms or stand-up with greater knowledge, technical insight and appreciation.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Define the different types of comedy.
  • Explain how jokes and moments of funny business are constructed.
  • Identify the key figures in the history of film and television comedy.
  • Determine the differences - and similarities - when creating comedy for film or television.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Information on relevant films, television shows and books will be given out during the course.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • Join a film discussion group.

Download full course information sheet

Laughing Matters - Film and Television Comedy


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing