Humour workshop gives students comedic relief

An in-class comedy workshop established by Launceston Christian School English teacher, John Hill, is teaching students about the theory and practice of humour and satire.

Apart from giving students a fun and quirky learning experience the classes also explore comedy’s flow on effects to improved mental health. 

Hill and his students visited the Shots on Wax café in Launceston where the owner, Andy Collings, outlined the preparation process for a stand-up comedy routine. This inspired him to create the Humour and Satire course as an English extension option for his Year 10 students.

“Analysing stand-up comics is a unit that was devised as part of the Humour and Satire course I created some years ago as a Year 10 extension English option,” Hill told The Educator.

“The course has generated much interest. I don’t know of any other school offering this.”

Other units covered include sitcom analysis, testing the theories of humour on younger children in the school via presentations of a range of humorous/comical material and examining selected masters such as Rowan Atkinson and Charlie Chaplin.

“We examine the psychology of laughter and its flow on to good mental health, as an introduction to the course,” Hill explained.

While it was difficult to gauge the course’s effect on mental health and well-being of the students, Hill said the debrief toward the end of the semester revealed a “general expression of enjoyment and appreciation” amidst the demands of other areas of the curriculum.

“Humour and laughter have a bonding effect in the class setting, even for those who struggle, so at this level a good sense of well-being might be evident,” Hill said.

Student, Jake Socorr, told the ABC that comedy is more mechanical and structured than he ever thought.
"You've got to say the right joke to the right people, there's so many factors in comedy that you've got to get right," Socorr said.
"I reckon the line for me is not getting too personal because once you get really personal and you start making fun of certain things that have happened in people's life, then it can get pretty offensive."