Starting next year, the Paly English Department will add “The Literature of Comedy” to its list of English elective choices. Over the course of a semester students in Comedy Literature will examine the questions “What is comedy?” and “Why do we need humor?” as well as trace various comedic movements that have occurred throughout history, according to the elective’s founder Lucy Filppu. Students in Comedy Literature will study not just past comedic works, such as those of William Shakespeare, but also present day comedians and satirists such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
Filppu, a current Humanities and Sophomore English teacher, will be the one teaching this semester long class. She first came up with the idea for a Comedy Literature class during one of her Critical Thinking II classes last year and then spent the summer working on creating and developing a curriculum.
One of the driving forces behind creating the Comedy Literature class is Filppu’s belief that with books such as The Count of Monte Cristo, Romeo and Juliet and Lord of the Flies on the reading lists for many Paly English courses, the tone of these classes can get too dark.
“Our literature can be extremely depressing at times. Students need more comedy,” Filppu said.
One of the most important concepts Filppu hopes to bring to Comedy Literature is to make it possible for all types of learners to succeed in it.
“My goal is to make Comedy Literature the type of class that is accessible to all students,” Filppu said.
For this reason Filppu has incorporated a wide variety and range of assignments into the course curriculum.
“Students will have the opportunity to do a dramatic performance, a satire of Paly, a personal stand up routine and some sort of analytical essay,” Filppu said.
Like all other Paly English electives, the course will only be taught if enough students sign up to fill at least two sections of it that particular year. For now, Filppu is trying to ensure that Comedy Literature does not suffer the same fate as the Women Writers elective class, which did not have enough enrollment for implementation this year.
“My neck is on the line,” Filppu said.
Although students do not sign up for classes until February, Comedy Literature has already started to attract attention from some incoming juniors and seniors.
“I can tell this is going to be a pretty popular class,” current sophomore Christopher Skokowski said.
Filppu believes that students can not only have fun and become better writers in her new class, but also learn valuable lessons through comedy.
“Comedy is a wonderful lense for students to view society, social justice, literature and themselves,” Filppu said.