Comedy writing class leads to publications for four Arts & Sciences students

What makes some writing laugh-out-loud funny while other attempts at written humor fall flat? Every semester since fall 2017, Heather McPherson, lecturer in English, has invited students to dissect the work of celebrated humorists and workshop their own writing in the course “Modern Humor Writing.” For four students last fall, in addition to skills and laughs, the course brought the excitement of a byline on a humor writing website. 

Heman Duplechan published “In Defense of Gap Years... Unless You Want to Hire Me” with Points in Case. In a mock letter to a potential employer, Duplechan extols the benefits of taking a gap year as a new college grad, unless, of course, someone wants to offer him a job.

Also published on Points in Case, Isabelle Gillman’s “So You Just Realized You Have Commitment Issues” is an essay about a college student navigating her first real relationship. Sections include “So Your Boyfriend’s Parents Are Happily Married: How to Explain You’re Scared of Commitment Without Sounding Messed Up.”

Dana Ward published a timely spoof of Dr. Suess in Little Old Lady Comedy called “Horton Gets a Vaccine.” “On the eighth day of January, in the year ‘21, / God knows what of COVID, / with little to no fun, / He was in his backyard … masked, distanced and alone, / When Horton the elephant heard a ring from his phone,” writes Ward.

Steven Angtuaco published a first-person narrative from the perspective of a skeleton whose body was donated to science called “Mr. Bones Bares All About Life as a Skeleton in the Modern Classroom.”