There is a saying in show business that goes something like, “Dying is easy, but comedy is hard.” Though the best comedians make comedy look perfectly simple, if not easy, it is quite difficult to make a movie funny.
The number of unfunny movies that have been released over the years are a testament to this.
USC is striving to change the state of comedy by creating the Comedy@SCA program.
This program, the first of its kind, will offer a concentration on the technical side of creating comedy films.
Like it did 82 years ago when it founded the first dedicated film school in the country, the USC School of Cinematic Arts is pioneering the instruction of something new that might not have been previously thought of as something that could, or should, be taught in a university setting.
The comedy program is a necessary risk because it has the potential to keep SCA at the forefront of film schools across America due to its innovative nature. Its originality and ability to serve a niche makes it a worthy addition to an already expansive film school.
The program definitely poses a risk, attempting something that has never been done before always does — but SCA knows it takes a certain amount of risk to keep the school at the top of its game.
If Comedy@SCA succeeds, it will forever be known as the first school to do so, giving SCA even more credibility.
Comedy has been integral to the world of cinema from the beginning. Charlie Chaplin’s silent comedies of the ’20s filled the theaters with as much laughter as does The Hangover and Bridesmaids today. Yet, despite its difficulty, popularity and long history, comedy has never been taken seriously by the film community.
Rarely does a comedic movie make it into the Academy Awards, Hollywood’s marquee event, and there are few universities in the country that have offered programs purely dedicated to the making of comedic films.
Widely recognized as the top film school in the country, SCA could have very easily stayed where it was and continued doing things to fulfill the status quo and nothing more.
But this isn’t the first time the university has taken a risk when it comes to the film school.
When the SCA was founded in 1929, the film industry was already huge, generating millions of dollars.
It still must have struck some people as very odd, however, that a major university was actually teaching something as artistic as film in a classroom setting.
The school set an amazing precedent; there are now hundreds of film schools around the world.
SCA’s founders understood film was a complicated field that could benefit from instruction.
With its foray into comedy, USC is attempting a similarly trailblazing move.
Some might question what the university is doing in pursuing such a peculiar program, that something that is usually so serious as a university education could be reconciled with studying something as irreverent as comedy.
Those leading the charge see what critics fail to. The comedy sector of the movie business and its difficulties need instruction and emphasis. Comedy@SCA does just that.
Instead, it chose to continue pushing the envelope with a program as creative as Comedy@SCA.
Being seen as the top school in its category, the school could have very easily stayed where it was and continued doing things to fulfill the status quo and nothing more.
Instead, SCA chose to continue pushing the envelope with a program as creative as Comedy@SCA, and that’s exactly what will keep the school at the forefront of its field.
Daniel Grzywacz is a sophomore majoring in cinematic arts-critical studies. His column “Thoughts From the Quad” ran Wednesdays.