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Course Planning by Program


Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 23-May-24

Fall 2024 | HUM-1240-VO02 - World of Comedy & Humor

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 09-03-2024 to 12-16-2024
Last day to drop without a grade: 09-16-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 11-04-2024 - Refund Policy
Open Seats: 9 (as of 07-19-24 8:05 PM)
To check live space availability, Search for Courses.


Heather Weinstein
View Faculty Credentials
View Faculty Statement
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Deborah Stewart

General Education Requirements

This section meets the following CCV General Education Requirement(s) for the current catalog year:
VSCS Humanistic Perspectives
  1. Many degree programs have specific general education recommendations. In order to avoid taking unnecessary classes, please consult with additional resources like your program evaluation, your academic program catalog year page, and your academic advisor.
  2. Courses may only be used to meet one General Education Requirement.

Course Description

This interdisciplinary course explores the nature and role of humor across cultures and many of the forms it has taken throughout history. Examples of comic styles and devices will be critically analyzed in a range of social and performative contexts. Theories of humor will be examined to illuminate how, through generating laughter and expressing emotions and ideas that are often socially suppressed, humor can be effective in entertaining, persuading, communicating social commentary, and even in healing.

Essential Objectives

1. Discuss how humor developed as a mode of communication in antiquity, who has been allowed to use humor and in what settings, and how historic characters like jesters, wits and bards combined humor with critical commentary to persuade, instruct, and address social and political issues.
2. Analyze examples of how and what humor and comedy communicate in a range of social and performative settings, such as comics, cartoons, art, literature, film, theatre, radio, television, and a range of everyday events and conversations.
3. Discuss how the principles of effective and appropriate humor vary between cultural groups and identify common roles for humorists and the types of comic messages that appear to be universally funny.
4. Identify cross-cultural examples of comic styles and devices, such as satire, irony, sarcasm, parody, slapstick, caricature, puns, jokes, and comedic timing, and demonstrate how these can be manipulated to construct effective humorous messages for particular audiences.
5. Examine major theories of humor and hilarity, why we need this, and why individuals react to it differently, as developed by philosophers, artists, psychologists, anthropologists, and biologists.
6. Explore the creative foundations of humor and how it can be both spontaneous and deliberately used to communicate and mediate social tensions around gender, religion, social status, politics, and insecurity.
7. Discuss the status of comedy among the modes of communication, the exploitation of language in joke telling, and the risks, constraints, and ethical dimensions involved with humor.
8. Consider how laughter, the development of a humorous worldview, and a greater appreciation for the comic aspects of our human condition has developed as a movement designed to help individuals with physical and psychological healing and alleviate some of the current problems that confront humanity.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

*** This is a low cost ($50 or less) textbook or resource class. ***

This course uses one or more textbooks/books/simulations, along with free Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or library materials.

Fall 2024 textbook/book details will be available on 2024-05-20. On that date a link will be available below that will take you to eCampus, CCV's bookstore. The information provided there will be specific to this class. Please see this page for more information regarding the purchase of textbooks/books.

HUM-1240-VO02 Link to Textbooks for this course in eCampus.

For Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or library materials details, see the Canvas Site for this class.

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.


Weekly Content & Canvas

All information for the course is posted in weekly modules on Canvas. Each module includes an "About" section that introduces the module and explains the expectations for the week ahead. You should begin each week by reviewing the "About" section. The modules contain the readings, materials, discussions, and assignments for the week.

To get started with the course, you will want to review the information included in the Class Resources module.

Be prepared to watch, read, and think deeply about comedy and humor each week. You should also be prepared to laugh! This course will include:

  • weekly video & reading assignments
  • critical response videos and online discussions
  • project: you'll have an option of submitting written papers or recorded presentations (slide deck will need to be submitted along with uploaded presentation)


It is important to me to be available to you and for you to have the opportunity to build community with me and each other.

  • I typically respond to emails within 48 hours of receipt.
  • I will host four optional class hours over Zoom for students to discuss and ask questions related to course material and/or discuss major assignments. You can drop in during that time as it works for you. The dates of these optional hours are:
    • September 12, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    • October 2, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    • November 5, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    • December 2, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
  • I am available to meet by appointment via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout, or over the phone. To set up a meeting with me, please email me at heather.weinstein@ccv.edu.

Rhythm & Flow of the Class

I’ve designed the class so there is predictability for you, so each week will usually have the same rhythm. Be sure to start each new week (Tuesday) by reading the “About” section of each module. The overview will provide special directions for each week, so that you know what to expect.

For online discussions and critical response videos, your post is due by 11:59 on Fridays, each week. You must reply to at least two of your peers’ posts/videos by Monday. Reply means you ask questions, make connections, link to a relevant resource, and share your thoughts. You should also weave relevant tidbits from the assigned readings and resources into your posts. Be sure to respond back to someone when they ask you a question or post a comment in response to something you’ve said. Responding to your peers is critical – this is how we will build dialogue, learn different perspectives, and create a lively class!

Assignments are typically due by 11:59 on Monday nights.

Evaluation Criteria

Determination of final course grades will be based on evaluation of assignments, which are discussed in more detail below.

Evaluation of assignments will based on both content and style. In terms of content, you will be evaluated on the thoughtfulness and depth of what you share. Regarding style, you be evaluated on clarity, structure, coherence, and, if applicable, proper citation.

Evaluation is based on (7) required discussion posts (note: there are 8 discussions; students are required to participate in 7 of the 8 online discussions; (4) critical response videos; (2) assignments; (1) critical analysis paper or presentation; (1) reflective presentation or essay, and participation (based on your own self-assessment and my assessment).

Final Grade Breakdown:

Possible Points Percent (%) of Final Grade
Discussion Posts

35 pts. (5 points each)

Critical Response Videos

20 pts.


15 pts.

  • Sick in the Head assignment, 10 pts.
  • Comedic Devices, 5 pts.

Critical Analysis Paper or Presentation

20 pts. 20%

Reflective Paper or presentation

20 pts. 20%


5 pts. 5%

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


What Makes People Laugh

Humor as Commentary on Society


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)



Online Discussion Post & Responses



Comedy as a Reflection & Driver of Culture


Articles and Videos (see syllabus on Canvas)


Critical Response Video



Comedic Devices


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Online Discussion Post & Responses




Comedy: A historical perspective


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Critical Response Video



First Amendment & Entertainment: Hip Hip and...Mrs. Maisel?!


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Critical Response Video



Humor Theory

Satire & Parody


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Online Discussion Post & Responses



Exploration of Improvisation


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Online Discussion Post & Responses

Assignment: Improvisation Reflection



Role of comedy in Driving Social Change


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Critical Response Video



Intersection of Comedy and Race


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Online Discussion Post & Responses



Comedy and Culture Wars


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Critical Response Video



The Comedic Greats


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Online Discussion Post & Responses



Stand-up Comedy


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Online Discussion Post & Responses



Critical Analysis & Interpretation of Comedy


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Written Submission or Presentation



Written Humor


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Online Discussion Post & Responses



The Final Bow: Tying Up All We Learned


Articles and videos (see Canvas syllabus)


Pecha Kucha Presentation or Written Submission


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

Our study of comedy and humor requires the following, so that all member of our class feel empowered to ask questions and express their views:

  • your active participation,
  • your openness,
  • your honesty and integrity,
  • your willingness to consider viewpoints that differ from your own, and
  • respectful dialogue.

Thoughtful participation in class discussions and other activities are essential not only for your individual learning but for the maximum potential success of this course and our learning community. Simply put, this class will be as interesting and engaging as the class members make it.

Given the current political climate, the aftermath of the pandemic, and ongoing social debates, our study of comedy and humor demands that we employ a critical lens and respectful dialogue throughout the semester. To that end, all students must adhere to the Communication Guidelines that have been established for this class.

Participation accounts for 5% of the final grade for this class.

Missing & Late Work Policy

Please pay close attention to deadlines as you will be held to them. This policy is in place to assist you in your life— deadlines are important and reflect your credibility and professionalism. It is expected that you will prepare your assignments far enough in advance to provide a buffer for any unexpected issues that may arise. This planning ensures you can still overcome difficulties and submit your work on time.

However, I also understand that you are likely juggling work, family responsibilities, and various other goings-on in your life—as am I. Therefore, every student has one automatic 48-hour extension on any assignment – no questions asked and no need to explain or let me know you’re using this extension. Beyond that, if an emergency arises, please be professional and contact me before the deadline.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.