Take a Writing Class with Steve Martin

I’ve taken a lot of online classes, but I’ve never taken one taught by Steve Martin. So, when I learned about the upcoming Steve Martin Teaches Comedy from Masterclass, I was understandably intrigued.

It’s not that I’m itching to become a standup comic. I’m not. In fact, even just thinking about being on a stage and trying to make an audience laugh is enough to give me hives and push me pretty darn close to a panic attack. But, as a writer, I’ve always wanted to learn more about how to infuse my work with humor.

I mean, everyone loves to laugh, right? And right about now – based on how crazy the world has become – we could all definitely use a good chuckle if not a downright guffaw. Even in the best of times, stories that make me laugh always earn high marks in my book. And, more often than not, humor is just a less painful way to explore the tragedies of our lives.

Take Jenny Lawson’s two memoirs: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy. Lawson describes her blog and books as, “mainly dark humor mixed with brutally honest periods of mental illness.” She struggles with some very real health issues, but uses humor to share her experiences, open up the conversation, and – ultimately – let other people dealing with similar challenges know that they are not alone.

Most stand up comedy is built on translating our shared pain into something we can laugh at … together. But there are lot of story-based mediums that use comedy and humor as a supporting element rather than as the central element. Take The Moth – True Stories Told Live. This live event/radio show/podcast features stories by professional writers and performers as well as “everyday” people. The show’s stated mission is “to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience,” and much of the time the telling of these stories involves humor. Humor helps to draw people in, establish common ground, and forge connections between the storyteller and the audience. It’s a powerful tool for any writer.

That’s why, even though I don’t have any plans to step onto the standup stage, I have preregistered for Steve Martin’s class. If you decide to check it out as well, look me up. Maybe we can share a laugh.

Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. In addition to my bi-weekly weekday posts, you can also check out my Saturday Edition and Sunday Shareworthy archives. Off the blog, please introduce yourself on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.

This post originally appeared on the Live to Write – Write to Live blog.

23 thoughts on “Take a Writing Class with Steve Martin

  1. I actually want to take this class as well. Not sure if I’ll actually doing seeing as funds are a bit tight at the moment, but it seems like fun. I’d love to learn how to write humor. I’ve dabbled in it a bit, however I want to improve.

    • I hope things come together so you can take it, Rachael. Though, if it doesn’t work this time, my guess is that they will run it again. I’m very curious myself and will certainly be sharing some of what I learn in future posts (without risking copyright infringement, of course!). Good luck!

  2. Standing on a stage.. Yeuuckk!!, my nightmares are made of this. But, some people just extract the funny and outrageous behaviour out of you. Stick around them, and you’ll never be short of a laugh Jamie. 😉

    • That’s such an interesting observation, Robynne. I think you’re right … being around certain people DOES bring out our “funny side,” which I think may amount to putting us at ease and making us feel like we can say or do anything. Thanks!

  3. Lawson is definitely a great example of finding the funny when you don’t think you can. It’s definitely a hard to write but extremely rewarding knowing that you’re creative enough to pull that off. So glad you’re taking the class, definitely want to hear how that goes. I know you’ll step up to the challenge.

    • Hello! Haven’t “seen” you in a while (I haven’t been around much), but very nice to hear from you. 🙂

      It IS very rewarding, isn’t it? There is something that feels … I don’t know … more “evolved” or “enlightened” about being able to see the funny in your personal pain and tragedy, and – perhaps more to the point – using that poignancy to help make others laugh (or, at least smile).

      Looking forward to sharing info from the class soon! 🙂

  4. Yeah. Instead of trying to be profound, let’s shoot for funny. Enjoy the Martin workshop – It should be an unforgettable experience. I look forward to any tidbits you share.

    • And – funnily enough – often the funny stuff turns out to be incredibly profound.
      Thanks for chiming in & I’ll definitely be sharing tidbits. 🙂

    • Ha! I know – they are all so tempting, aren’t they? I’ve got a couple others on my radar, but I picked Martin’s class both for the topic and the teacher, and also because I’m thinking he’ll be entertaining in his presentation style.

      Enjoy your class! Maybe we’ll meet up in another!

    • I know, right? I feel like it would be hard to walk away from this class without having learned SOMEthing.

  5. Pingback: Take a writing class with Steve Martin – SEO

  6. Pingback: Take a Writing Class with Steve Martin | Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning"

  7. Pingback: Friday Fun – Humor and Comedy in Writing | Live to Write – Write to Live

  8. His first name is the same name was the world’s first Christian martyr. Saint Stephen died in what is now Israel. His name means crown. Steve Martin would have go to the “American Crown Circus” for free because Stephen means crown in Greek or anyone with the first name Stephen.

  9. Well, it is not the first time an actor keeps his child’s name a secret. Carl Switzer had a son and kept it a secret and it was not made public until 2002. Carl Switzer is the Steve Martin of his day.

  10. Best of all, Steve Martin is the distant cousin of Scott Finney (he died by helping a friend in need) and Jesse McCord Lewis (he died by saving 11 lives that day).

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