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Comedy: Writing and Performance

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Program Code: 12211 Credential: Diploma Program Length: 4 semesters
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Program Overview

Humber’s Comedy: Writing and Performance diploma program helps you develop your craft while gaining an understanding of the commercial side of the industry. Our faculty is comprised of skilled, award-winning professionals who are active in the comedy industry. You’ll learn stand-up, improvisation, scriptwriting, sketch comedy and other aspects of the craft. In addition, the program’s strong alumni network supports you through reunion shows, business opportunities and continued coaching. The program features many mainstage class shows, weekly Humber student shows at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club, and an organized graduate showcase for scouts, directors and agents with students included on the basis of merit. Upon graduation, you will have the tools you need to embark on an exciting career in one of North America’s fastest growing industries: comedy.

Courses Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, a graduate will:

  1. Produce a variety of comedic materials including sketches, screenplays, sitcoms and variety shows.

  2. Prepare and perform stand-up comedy routines.

  3. Discover their comedic voices and create materials that stem from these voices.

  4. Study both dramatic and comedic performance techniques, and apply those techniques to their own work.

  5. Prepare written humorous materials for magazines and newspapers as well as for radio broadcasts.

  6. Practice individual and ensemble comedic performances both in the classroom and in comedy centres.

  7. Apply the technical requirements of all genres of comedic writing.

  8. Respond to improvisation demands and create characters quickly on stage.

  9. Evaluate the business of comedy and develop career strategies and contacts.

  10. Learn from well-known North American comedic writers and performers and network with those individuals.

  11. Develop team-building and communication skills and engage in exercises that encourage self-understanding, peer respect and professional behaviours.


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The Humber Advantage

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Kids In the Hall's Kevin McDonald spent a week with our 2nd-year Comedy Students, helping them perfect their sketches and writing for the Monday Night Comedy Bar Show.

We are proud to partner with one of Toronto's premier comedy venues, Yuk Yuk's.

Students also get access to top level comedians from across Canada and the US in our PrimeTime speaker series, featuring guests such as Bruce McCulloch and Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall, Maria Bamford and Tom Green.

Expert Faculty

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Melody A. Johnson

An accomplished, award-winning member of Canada's theatre and film/TV scenes, Melody's work as performer, writer and director is recognized coast to coast to coast at such prestigious institutions as the Stratford Festival, Tarragon Theatre, and Second City (Toronto and Chicago). Melody is also a voice actor on seasons one and two of Treehouse TV's Agent Binky and the award-winning Ketterkenny, among other commercial work. Selected TV: Slings & Arrows, Michael Tuesdays and Thursdays, in addition to originating many roles in Canadian theatre (with over ten Dora nominations and one win). Melody's play Miss Caledonia has toured extensively across Canada and the UK, and will enjoy productions at two other major Canadian theatres for the 2021/22 season. For more information visit melodyjohnson.ca.

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Christel Bartelse

Christel Bartelse is a multi disciplinary artist based in Toronto. As an actor, storyteller, writer, producer, clown, teacher and comedian, she is mostly known for her six solo shows which she created, wrote, performed and produced and they have toured across Canada, the US and the UK. She is the creator of the Podcast All KIDding Aside, and cohost/coproducer of Chris and Christel’s Collection, a multi disciplinary variety cabaret. She is also the Co-Producer and Co-Host of the monthly storytelling show But That's Another Story, with Briane Nasimok. She is highly regarded in the Storytelling Community. Christel is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory Program, the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, has studied with numerous teachers from around the Globe in dance, improv, physical comedy, theatrical clown) and is a 4 time Canadian Comedy Award Nominee. She has been a faculty at Humber College for over ten years teaching physical comedy. She's also a highly regarded guest instructor in numerous schools around the GTA. She strives to create physical based shows with a universal message. She thrives on teaching students self expression, creativity, movement and physicality and giving them the tools to create their own work. She's terrible at updating her website but in case- www.christelbartelse.com

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Andrew Clark

Andrew Clark is an award-winning author and humourist. He writes the weekly Road Sage column for The Globe and Mail. He is the co-ordinator of the Humber College Comedy program in Toronto.

He has won a gold award and been nominated several times for his writing at the National Magazine Awards, and was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award in the English-language non-fiction category for his most recent book, A Keen Soldier: The Execution of Second World War Private Harold Pringle. In the 1990s, he became Canada’s first full-time comedy critic and his first book, Stand and Deliver: Inside Canadian Comedy, remains the standard for writing critically about comedy. As a freelance journalist, he has written for publications including The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, McSweeney's, Maclean’s and The New York Times Magazine.

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Robin Duke

Robin began her career improvising, writing and performing sketch comedy at Second City Theatre in Toronto. Since then she has written and performed on television’s SCTV and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, she most recently appeared for three seasons on FX’s MAN SEEKING WOMAN, and as Wendy from the Blouse Barn on SCHITT’S CREEK.

Her Film work includes the classic Harold Ramis comedy GROUNDHOG DAY.

Robin continues to write with, perform and co-produce the all-woman SKETCH comedy troupe WOMEN FULLY CLOTHED. Since 2004, WFC have successfully toured Canada, the US and the Edinburgh Fringe festival to sold out houses and rave reviews.

She recently completed a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Nonfiction at King’s College in Halifax. She hopes to complete her memoir; My Funny Life and Improvising Through It, by Spring 2021.

Her awards include, a Star on Canada’s Walk of Fame for her work on SCTV, and Emmy nomination for writing on Saturday Night Live and the David Broadfoot Comic Genius Award.

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Larry Horowitz

Larry Horowitz spent 47 years performing stand-up comedy all around the world. For the last 20 years he has doubled as a full-time professor in the Humber College Comedy Program. Larry rode his career into film & countless television shows; he is the author of three books and has also completed six major motion picture scripts winning standing in numerous film festivals. Currently, Larry is executive producer on CUP OF CHEER, a movie for release in 2021.

Larry teaches all aspects of stand-up comedy: Composition, performances, business and ethics. Being one of the founding performers/investors of The Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club chain, Larry has arranged an ongoing weekly show there exclusively for his Humber comedy students giving them live stage time at 

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Lisa Merchant

Lisa Merchant is an award-winning improvisor. She has performed and taught improvisation nationally and internationally for 30-plus years. She is a senior faculty member with The Second City Training Centre and The Second City Works division, and an ongoing program director with York University Osgoode Law Professional Development. She created, produced and performed March of Dames, a weeklong all-female comedy festival that ran for 10 years.

She is a multiple nominee and winner of four Canadian Comedy Awards, three for Best Female Improvisor. Lisa was a cast member of the Gemini-nominated Joe Blow Show. When not improvising, she shows up on various television programming, Murdoch Mysteries, American Gods, Degrassi XV, Train 48... In addition to performing numerous improv shows around Toronto and across Canada, she performs monthly in the award-winning Monkey Toast, the live improvised talk show, now in its 19th year.

She delivered improv-focused workshops to some of the Canadian Olympic Team hopefuls for the London 2012 Summer Games as well as Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

“Taking improv with Lisa Merchant was a game changer for me. It not only helped me be a better communicator, it made me a better person. I learned fundamental ideas that I still apply to this day. Over ten years after taking that original class, I invited Lisa to come and speak to the 2012 Canadian Olympic team to give them a competitive advantage. Such is the value of what she has to teach.”

- Mark Tewksbury, Olympic Champion and 2012 Canadian Olympic Team Chef de Mission

Award Highlights

  • Platinum Winner of The Toronto Star 2020 and 2019 Reader's Choice Award for Best Theatre Instructor
  • Awarded by The Second City 2019 Frank McAnulty Faculty Award
  • Winner of the 2019 World's Biggest Improv Tournament surviving 126 teams

Your Career

Comedy is an art and a business, one at which many Canadians excel. You may join their illustrious ranks with opportunities to work in stand-up comedy, sitcom/film performance, production, broadcasting, advertising and voiceovers, sketch comedy, and writing. Humber comedy graduates have found work on stage at Yuk Yuk’s, Second City and Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival; on major television networks such as Comedy Central, CBC and CTV; and in many major television commercials. Other grads have branched into advertising, journalism, public relations and related fields.

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Program Availability

START DATE LOCATION STATUS
September 2022 Lakeshore Open
START DATE LOCATION STATUS
September 2022 Lakeshore Open

Comedy: Writing and Performance Program

Comedy Writing Video

Watch the video to see how the Humber’s Comedy: Writing and Performance diploma program helps you hone your craft while gaining an understanding of the commercial side of the industry.


Music & Performing Arts Success Stories

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Every attempt is made to ensure that information contained on this website is current and accurate. Humber reserves the right to correct any error or omission, modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable or campus location at any time without prior notice or liability to users or any other Person.

On October 21, 2019, the Provincial Government of Ontario announced the renaming of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). Both names may appear on this website.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet all the requirements below in order to meet minimum program eligibility. Meeting minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee an offer of admission. Admission decisions will be available via MyHumber, or by email and mail. Admission decisions will not be released by phone.

Admission selection is based on the following 4 requirements:

  • Academic

    To be eligible for admission, you must possess the following:

    • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent including these required courses:
      • Grade 12 English (ENG4C or ENG4U or equivalent)
      • Three Grade 11 or Grade 12 C, M or U courses in addition to those listed above

    or

    or

    Mature Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or other postsecondary school, and will be 19 or older as of the first day of classes. Humber will invite you for testing to demonstrate that you meet program eligibility.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or attended postsecondary studies, and will be 21 or older as of the first day of classes. Mature applicants for degree programs will be required to meet course requirements at the U/M level or equivalent.

    College Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants must have an overall minimum grade point average (GPA) of 65 per cent in the program. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

    University Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

  • Applicants can choose ONE of the following:

    • Theatrical Monologue

    Applicants will perform a short theatrical monologue.

    • Standup Routine

    Applicants will perform two minutes of original standup comedy. There are no restrictions on topics or language.

    • Comic Writing Sample

    Applicants can submit a comic writing sample.  The writing sample may be a sketch (2-5 pages), scene (2-5 pages) or short story (400-1000 words).

     

    Submission Instructions

  • English Language Proficiency

    All applicants whose first language is not English must meet Humber’s English Language Proficiency Policy.

  • International Credit Evaluation

    Canadian citizens or permanent residents with international education are required to provide a WES or ICAS evaluation.

INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC EQUIVALENCY

Admission equivalencies for Humber depend on your country of study. Please enter your location or choose detect my location to see the requirements for your country below.

Post-Admission Requirements

Once you have been accepted, and have confirmed your offer, you may need to complete a further set of requirements related to your program (Post-Admission Requirements).

Not available

Fees

The 2021-2022 fee for two semesters was:

  • domestic: $5,662.20
  • international: $16,414.00

Fees are subject to change.

Fees by Semester

Domestic Fees International Fees

Scholarships

Humber Scholarships

Find out more about scholarships and bursaries that you may be eligible for, visit Student Scholarships. International students can visit International Student Scholarships.

Humber Bursaries

Bursaries are available for Certificate, Diploma and Degree programs primarily based on financial need, visit Humber Bursaries.

External Awards, Bursaries & Scholarships

Find out more information about external scholarships and bursaries, visit External Awards.

Indigenous Student Awards, Bursaries & Scholarships

Humber offers a variety of bursaries and scholarships for Indigenous students, visit Indigenous Student Awards.

Pathways

Pathways are academic routes that students can take to move from one credential to another.

PATHWAYS OUT TO ANOTHER PROGRAM:

TO A PARTNER INSTITUTION

BA Comedy Writing and Performance Level 6

Humber and the University of Salford in Manchester, UK have entered into an agreement to facilitate transfer from Humber's Comedy: Writing and Performance Diploma to Salford's BA in Comedy Writing and Performance for considered entry to the third and final year of study upon satisfying the requisite entry criteria.

Application for admission:

  • applicants may apply by January 15 through:  https://beta.salford.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/comedy-writing-and-performance
  • skype interview 
  • sample comedy performance (a recording of a public stand up performance is acceptable)
  • if the student wishes to be considered as a comedy writer, then a sample of recent and assessed comedy writing, such as a group of 3-6 sketches or sitcom pilot of minimum 12 minutes or 12 pages is acceptable
  • evidence of critical engagement with contextual studies around comedy writing and performance - typically this would take the form of a standard academic essay, certified by Humber as being the work of the student
  • GPA of 60% and above in the second year of the Humber diploma.  (A GPA of 55%-59% may be considered on a case by case basis.)

Each student wishing to register at Salford shall arrange for their own visa to enter the UK.

Admission to the academic programs listed is at the sole discretion of the partner postsecondary institution.  Please contact the institution for detailed admission requirements.

For more information, contact:

DR. RICHARD TALBOT
Senior Lecturer in Performance, School of Arts & Media
Floor 6, New Adelphi Building, University of Salford, Manchester M5 4BR
T: +44(0) 0161 295 6367, m +44(0) 7899 872 215 r.talbot@salford.ac.uk

Bachelor of Applied Management

Graduates of any two-year diploma program at Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, who have attained a cumulative grade point average of 70% or greater will be eligible to enter year three of the four-year Bachelor of Applied Management (BAM) at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John. 

Depending on the diploma program, students may be exempted from study in certain courses and therefore, requested to take alternate courses offered by the Faculty of Business. 

Please note:  Admission to the academic programs listed is at the sole discretion of the partner post-secondary institution. Please contact the institution for detailed admission requirements.

For more information please contact: admissions@unb.ca.

Business Bachelor of Business Administration

Students who complete a 2 year diploma at Humber will be granted 60 credit hours toward the completion of a bachelor degree program at Davenport University. You will need to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours (approximately two years of full-time attendance) to meet residency and program requirements and to complete your bachelor degree program. Students must complete a minimum total of 120 semester credit hours to earn a bachelor degree. The total credit hours will include the completed 2 year diploma classes plus any courses completed through Davenport University.

Admission to the academic programs listed is at the sole discretion of the partner post-secondary institution.

If you still have questions, reach out to the transfer admissions team at info@davenport.edu or 1.800.686.1600

Honours Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies

Humber and Seneca Colleges have entered into an agreement that increases student opportunities for degree completion at both institutions.  Humber graduates may transfer into Seneca’s Honours Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with entry into Semester 4, Year 2 of the program.    

Admissions:

All applicants to Seneca degree programs are required to have successfully completed the related Humber program with a minimum overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 (70%).

All applicants may apply through the Ontario College Application Service and must submit an official academic transcript for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.  The application must be received no later than the stated deadline for the given term being applied for in order to qualify for admission.

For further information, please contact:  academic.pathways@senecacollege.ca

Admission to the academic programs listed is at the sole discretion of the partner post-secondary institution. Please contact the institution for detailed admission requirements.

Law LLB

Humber students who have successfully completed a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in any field at Humber College and meet the requirements, will be considered for admission into the University of Gloucestershire's Bachelor of Law LLB program. 

International students should demonstrate and must provide evidence that they have attained a level of English equivalent to IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in writing. Alternative acceptable English Language qualifications can be found at: https://www.glos.ac.uk/international/

Students will be expected to attend an Academic Induction preceding entry to the program. Students admitted to the UoG program will pay the appropriate annual tuition fee rate. The definitive fees will be those published here: https://www.glos.ac.uk/international/

Students admitted to UoG from Humber will be eligible to receive the international bursary. This award, and its ruling terms and conditions, is subject to change on an annual basis. For September 2020/January 2021 entry, the applicable bursary is £3,000, and will be automatically applied against tuition for successful applicants from Humber. Please note that the bursary is only available to students who are studying full-time at the UoG on campus in the UK, and completing a full degree (not available for distance learning or master's stage students).

Admission to the academic programs listed is at the sole discretion of the partner post-secondary institution. Please contact the institution for detailed admission requirements.

Contact us for more information:

Shandin Rickard-Hughes
International Marketing & Student Recruitment Manager, Americas
srickardhughes@glos.ac.uk

Contact Us

Admissions Questions

Domestic Students  

Phone: 416-675-5000
Email: enquiry@humber.ca

International Students  

Contact the International Centre

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Contact Information

Andrew Clark, program co-ordinator
416.675.6622 ext. 79031
andrew.clark@humber.ca

How to Apply

Applications to Humber are made through ontariocolleges.ca. Be sure to submit your application by the equal consideration deadline of February 1. You may apply after February 1, however, post-February 1 applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis depending on the availability of the space in the program. To check program availability refer to the Campus/Availability listing on Humber's program pages or ontariocolleges.ca.

Admissions Road Map

Apply through Ontario Colleges

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

If you’re an international student, you can apply directly to Humber via our International Centre.

Apply through the International Centre

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