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Comedy at Emerson Heading West with New Semester at ELA

ELA at dusk
Emerson Los Angeles. File photo/Derek Palmer

Starting in Fall 2023, Comedic Arts majors will be able to study funny in the comedy capital of Los Angeles during an immersive junior semester at ELA taking new courses designed just for them.

“The ability to have our Comedic Arts majors spend a semester in Los Angeles immersed in all things comedy is a gamechanger,” said Martie Cook, professor and founding director of the Center for Comedic Arts at Emerson. “It not only makes our program stronger, it differentiates us from similar comedy programs around the globe.”

Students studying for the first-in-the-nation BFA in Comedic Arts will have the opportunity to spend the fall of their junior year taking four courses created expressly for the program and only offered in LA:

In Performing Sketch Comedy, students learn to conceptualize, write, and perform 3- to 5-minute sketches. Finding the Funny: Comedy Scene Study for TV, uses a workshop process to teach students how writers, directors, and actors work together to maximize comedy in scenes. Creating Comedy #Content translates the core comedy skills of the program for social media. Funny Business: Building a Career in Comedy explores the business side of comedy with visiting producers, managers, talent agents, and more.

Students enrolled in this specialized semester at ELA will not do internships, but they will have the opportunity to learn from a wide variety of industry professionals from Emerson’s campus on Sunset Boulevard.

“Being in LA gives our students the rare opportunity to study comedy writing, performance, and production in classes that take advantage of the vast network of industry resources and professionals that are unique to the LA area,” Cook said. “It also makes our program truly bi-coastal, which in and of itself is a true learning opportunity.”

Comedic Arts juniors who opt to spend their fall semester in LA will still be eligible to apply for the traditional Emerson LA semester their senior year, where they can do an internship.

The program is entirely optional for the classes of 2025 and 2026; it will cost the same as a semester in Boston (excluding airfare and travel expenses). Beginning with the Class of 2027, the LA semester will be a required feature of the program, Cook said.

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