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Columbia College Comedy Degree: Second City Partnering With School For New Program To 'Study Funny'

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Columbia College and Second City have partnered for a new program for students to "study funny" and take on improv comedy, performance and writing as a degree. (Alamy) | Alamy

While students can earn a Bachelor's in Puppetry or Turf Grass Management, Columbia College in Chicago has a new degree that will really make people laugh: Comedy Writing and Performance.

On Tuesday, the liberal arts college announced a partnership with the famed Second City comedy club for its new degree program in the Theatre Department that would school future side-splitters in the ways of improv, joke making and more.

“Columbia’s location in Chicago, arguably the most active and influential city in the world of improv and sketch comedy, makes the college uniquely suited to offer a comedy concentration,” Columbia College President Warrick L. Carter said in a statement.

Anne Libera, coordinator of the new program, told the Hollywood Reporter the college's connections to local iconic comedy establishments like Second City and The Onion give the students in the program a huge advantage.

Second City has turned out such notable comedy heavy-weights as Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Peter Boyle; some stars, like Andy Dick, had both Columbia and Second City ties before making it big.

(See a list of Chicago's Second City Comedy alums below.)

With 2013 tuition and other fees for on-campus students estimated near $40,000 at Columbia, students in the program better hope they land combo comedy writing and performance gigs à la Lena Dunham.

Last year, the New York Times dissected the salaries of comedians at both star and starter levels, and the take-home for newbies was far from hefty.

Chicago Business Journal reports there might only be one other program in the country parallel to Columbia's: University of Southern California, which has a degree program in comedy writing and directing.

The program, slated to start in the 2013 fall semester, will also pull in curricula from the school's well-regarded Television and Arts, Entertainment and Media Management departments.

Previously, the college and the comedy club had a partnership with the Comedy Studies program granting school credit for a semester of intensive study with Second City.

Faces Of Chicago's Second City Comedy Club
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