Emerson College will soon offer a degree "for those who want their studies to be a joke," cracks MassLive.com: a bachelor of fine arts in comedic arts. Thanks to the "marked rise of comedy's impact on American culture and its global influence," the Boston school will offer students a chance to learn the history and theory of comedy, traced back to Greeks and Romans, plus comedy performance, production, editing, and writing. "It's not going to be just lecturing," program creator Martie Cook tells the Boston Globe. "I think what this program offers that's unique is that you are going to have to actually do it." She notes former students of the school, including Jay Leno, Denis Leary, Bill Burr, and Henry Winkler, may even pop in as guest lecturers.
Officials decided to introduce the four-year program, which begins in the fall of 2016, after offering a minor program in comedy last fall. The response was overwhelming. "Comedy is more relevant than ever," Cook says, per CBS News. "For millennials and Generation Z, it's a second language for expressing and reflecting the world as they understand it." Alum Doug Herzog, the president of Viacom Music and Entertainment Group who oversees Comedy Central, says the program has found a perfect home. "Some schools develop NFL quarterbacks," he says. "We develop great comedic talent."