Philosophy and Comedy

Ref: C3531034

Whilst laughter appears to be a universal human trait what we find funny or appropriate for humour is culturally and historically sensitive. Equally the function of comedy appears pluralistic, from mere entertainment to issues surrounding free-speech; from social commentary to re-enforcing prejudices; from a coping mechanism to possibly even a form of existential enlightenment, it will be argued that many of the practices comedy and comedians use can be found in the philosophical methods of the great thinkers e.g., Socratic Irony, dialectics, reductio ad absurdum style arguments, the wisdom of silliness, absurdist philosophy and even improvisation as a moral philosophy, students will be invited to discuss, analyse and possibly create/ perform comedy in a bid to better understand what makes comedy and philosophy fine bedfellows.

Additional information about this course

No fee waiver is available on this course

Course aim

An introduction to some of the philosophical and ethical aspects of comedy and humor.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Explain at least one way comedy, philosophy and ethics are linked
  • Examine one way in which comedy can be a philosophical and/ or ethical practice.
  • Use technical terms correctly.

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?

  • You will be able to keep a digital portfolio of your work on WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas.
  • 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

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will have access to course resources and links to wider learning through the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas:
  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full course information sheet

Philosophy and Comedy

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


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 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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