Late Night Talk Show and Sketch Comedy

SCRIPT X 428.1

Learn the fine art of writing comedy sketches and late night talk show bits 


What you can learn.

  • Breakdown what makes a sketch, a bit, and desk pieces by analyzing established examples
  • Learn about different comedic tones, perspectives, and specific TV personalities
  • Write segments and sketches in class for reading or performance by classmates
  • Give and receive feedback on draft assignments in class

About this course:

From the beginning of network and cable television sketch comedy and its first cousin, the Late-Night Talk Show scripted desk piece have given us some of television's greatest comedic moments. In this class students learn the art and the craft of creating solid, funny and functional comedy sketches and late-night bits. Students are taught how to breakdown what makes a sketch, a bit and desk pieces work by watching and analyzing the great sketch and talk shows past and presence. We close watch and analyze late night talk and sketch shows in order to dissect the different comedic tones, overall perspectives, and specific TV personalities as well as the challenges of shooting live verses pre-taped sketches. For example, determining how desk pieces and remote segments differ from Kimmel to Conan to Fallon. We also study the evolution and history of sketch comedy from SNL, SCTV, and Monty Python to Living Color, The Ben Stiller Show, Mr. Show, the Dave Chappell Show, Key and Peele, as well as I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson and Portlandia. Each class is devoted to watching segments and sketches, discussions and working on in class writing exercises to be reading/performed for group and professor feedback.

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