Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why So Serious?

A new First Year Seminar course being taught this semester invites students to investigate the question of what makes something funny and the role of stand-up comedy has played as a vehicle for social critique and cultural expression. Taught by Brian C. Johnson, director of the Frederick Douglass Institute for Academic Excellence and faculty member in the department of Academic Enrichment, Make Me Laugh (FYS 112) encourages students to explore humor in American culture.

Throughout the semester, students will explore the elements of comedy in general and will seek to place comedy in the framework of society. Theywill observe and critique comedic routines of the greats and not-so-greats of the past and present. Students will develop materials incorporating humor for specific audiences and will be expected to collect appropriate materials, write original material, and develop these into a routine to be performed later this semester in the KUB Hideaway. The event is open to the campus community. Details are forthcoming.

Johnson has partnered with several members of the COLA faculty who have shared their expertise with the FYS 112 class: Kathryn Hobson (Comm Studies) shared tips on performance and improvisation; Lisa Stallbaumer-Beishline (History) helped students to understand the implications of racial and ethnic humor in her discussion of the Holocaust and humor; and Ruth Beerman and Phil Rippke gave students a "crash course" in public speaking to help students overcome their fear of standing in front of crowds. He has also connected with David Miller (Theatre) and his Fundamentals of Acting students. Since the classes meet at the same time, Miller and Johnson got their students together to work on stage presence and theatricality. The Fundamentals students also served as a practice audience for the burgeoning comedians to try out their new material.

COLA's First Year Seminars introduce incoming freshmen to an interdisciplinary study of topical content with a liberal arts focus and provide writing and research instruction to facilitate first-year students' success at the postsecondary level. For a list of currently available topics, consult the Academic Catalog.

No comments:

Post a Comment