Narrative Comedy Tim Ferguson

Sydney - Sep 22 2018

AFTRS Sydney
Sep 22 2018 - Sep 23 2018
Attendance Pattern
Two days, Sat & Sun, 9am to 5pm
Tim Ferguson
Course fee
$450 / $405

'Tim’s course demystified the mechanics of what makes comedy work. It’s like having a doctor explain how to make people laugh.’
- Steve Mitchell, Comedian & Screenwriter

A practical understanding of comedy is vital for any screenwriter.

In this two day masterclass, one of Australia’s most successful comedians unlocks the code to comedy writing. Tim Ferguson (Doug Anthony All Stars,Shock Jock, Spin Out) offers processes and insights necessary for professional screenwriters to expand their skills base into writing comedy for television and film.

Despite what you might think, comedy is not a mysterious art. It is a craft based upon ancient principles. These principles are universally applied through all comedies. Every joke has a name.

This revolutionary masterclass presents writers with practical processes to devise comic characters, conflict and stories. Tim offers new approaches to working with metaphors, juxtapositions, reversals, story structures, knowledge differentials, pathos, subtext and the rhythms of comic dialogue. Learn how to construct a sitcom from the ground up, making choices in terms of theme, genre, style and tone.

The course includes lectures, script analysis, workshopping and the viewing of excerpts from sitcoms and comedy films. It concludes with methods for formulating series bibles and pitching concepts to Australian and international film and television markets.

Narrative comedy is the world’s most popular and lucrative form of screenwriting. Tim Ferguson’s master class offers approaches that are simple, original and practical.

You’ll be writing comedy before you know it.


‘There are Master Classes and Master Classes. Then there is Tim Ferguson's PhD in Comedy Class. It was just a wonderful five star experience from start to finish - and yes, it is 'ha-ha' hilarious.’
- Dr. Patrick Maher, Past Chairman of the WA Writers Guild

‘So many lightbulb moments, I had to put on sunglasses. This course is revolutionary - a whole new way to look at comedy.’
- Leisl Egan, Television Writer

‘Tim's comedy class was outstanding … His notes are a fantastic reference guide and I still regularly use them. Don't hesitate. Just do the class.’
- Carol Cumming, Writer/Director

‘I wrote my latest screenplay with Tim's comedy principals by my side. Every time I noticed that I'd written an unfunny scene, which was only most of the time, I'd grab Tim's notes and with startling ease make any scene laugh out loud funny.’
- Brett Stanning, Screenwriter

‘I realised that you can learn being funny. Seriously!’
- Irina Goundortseva, Writer/Director

‘This course helped me to understand how to structure a joke for maximum effect and create characters that are consistently funny while avoiding cliché. It helped me get the giggle factor!’
- Perri Cummings, Freelance Scriptwriter and Storyliner for Neighbours

‘Tim explained how comedy works in such a clear and simple way. Made me realise I can do this!! I’m now writing my own romantic comedy movie, a zombie comedy and two sitcoms. As for stand-up - watch this space!’
- Mark Ryan, Screenwriter


Tim Ferguson is a comedian, screenwriter and director. He has created, written and starred in many TV series in Australia & the UK. Recent credits include: co-writing (with Edwina Exton) co-directing (with Marc Gracie) the rom-com feature film SPIN OUT (Sony Pictures) which was released theatrically in September. Tim is also Series Script Editor for the ABC1 sitcom RICKETTS LANE (2015) and co-writer/script-editor of the comedy feature 'The BBQ' (filmed Feb 2017).
Tim is a member of the international comedy success trio the DOUG ANTHONY ALL STARS (D.A.A.S with Paul McDermott and Richard Fidler) since 1984. They reformed in 2013 (with Paul ‘Flacco’ Livingston) and have since enjoyed many sold-out major theatre tours both nationally, and most recently across the U.K including Edinburgh Fringe Festival and sold-out shows in London.
Tim wrote the bestselling memoir CARRY A BIG STICK which details his career and battle with MS. He wrote bestselling comedy screenwriting manual THE CHEEKY MONKEY - WRITING NARRATIVE COMEDY. He is Australia’s foremost teacher of screen comedy, consults for international production companies and networks. Tim conducts his own Cheeky Monkey Comedy Courses worldwide. He currently lectures in comedy & screenwriting at the Australian Film TV & Radio School (AFTRS), RMIT University & Victorian College of Arts (VCA).

***DISCLAIMER*** AFTRS reserves the right to cancel any course for any reason at any time. In the event of a course being cancelled a full refund of course fees will be provided. If a participant wishes to withdraw from a course, they may do so up to 15 days before the course commences and get a full refund. Cancellations 14 days or less before course commencement will incur a fee. For more information on AFTRS Open's policies, including refund policies, please see our policies page.​


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.