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Satire is both a playground for imaginative buffoonery and a sensitive tool capable of great humanity and insight. For this class students will look at examples of contemporary satire from George Saunders to Key & Peele to The Onion and explore current minefields in comedy around identity, feminism and power dynamics. Each student will generate and workshop their own short work of satire, pitching and refining ideas, exploring premises and doing punch-up.
Class will be facilitated by two guiding principles from great satirical writers of our era: George Saunders’s conception of fiction as a “compassion-generating machine that saves us from sloth” and Kurt Vonnegut’s dictum, “Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.”
Brett Hamil is a standup comic and writer based in Seattle. He performs across the US and Canada and produces a monthly standup showcase at the Comedy Underground. He writes a humor column for City Arts Magazine along with interviews, essays and cartoons. His local politics webseries My YouTube Channel Where I’m the Big Important Guy Who Gets to Say What’s What garnered a local following and spun off into a live talk show at Northwest Film Forum, The Seattle Process. The Seattle Weekly called him “the city’s premier political comic.” He lives on Beacon Hill with his wife and two weird-looking dogs.