Columbia College Chicago, Second City Launch New Comedy Degree Program

The groups, which claim alumni from Andy Richter to Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Tina Fey, unveils the Comedy Performance and Writing Degree.

Columbia College Chicago, which produced Scott Adsit (30 Rock), Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine), Andy Richter (Conan), and Aidy Bryant (SNL), has launched a new Comedy Performance and Writing degree program with Second City, the troupe that produced Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Alan Alda, and many others.

"Our partnership with Second City and our relationships with local comedy icons The Onion and the Chicago Improv and Sketch festivals provide connections and opportunities for students that are unmatched," says Second City director of comedy studies Anne Libera, coordinator of the new program.

"The Comedy Performance and Writing degree will be the first one of its kind in the nation," says interim performing arts dean John Green, who pitched the program in 2011.

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Adds Libera, "The most successful comedians of our day - from Tina Fey and Louis CK to Chris Rock and Lena Dunham are writer/performer/producers. The new degree requires students to study both writing and performance, to do improvisation, physical clowning, and stand-up. Most college programs have focused on medium as opposed to content, but the current professional landscape requires that artists be content creators and providers across media and to be prepared to do so in media that have not even been created yet."

Also required are courses in media management, which clowns neglect at their peril.

Columbia College Chicago, which was one of The Hollywood Reporter's 25 Top Film Schools in 2012, also hired a new president and ceo Kwang-Wu Kim on Feb. 26.