Comedy Courses and Workshops

We are back with a four week course in May on Sundays 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th May (12:45pm to 2:15pm) in  Open Space Wivenhoe. Email for details on booking a placeif you are interested. Course cost £85 in advance (£95 on day of 1st class).

Ever wanted to perform stand-up comedy? We can provide workshops tailored for budding comics, fun confidence building for children and motivational corporate team-building events. We also run 1:1 workshops and courses for anyone interested in comedy or using comedy techniques to build confidence with public speaking.

We at the Funny Farm can help you get up on stage making people laugh by teaching the basics of writing and performing with confidence.

We have been running comedy workshops for beginners since 2004. Past classes have been run at Essex University, Rugby Public School, Magdalene College Cambridge, Colchester and Colne College, Brightlingsea, Impington College Cambridge (as part of the Start-Arts initiative) and with Wivenhoe Scouts & Cambridgeshire Scouts & Girl Guides Gang Show Camp, Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Colchester as well as an ongoing series of classes for all. Hazel has run workshops at Colchester Comedy Festival and in schools around East Anglia and even tutored a team of public sector accountants who had no idea they were going to be attending a comedy workshop on a Monday morning but still managed to build routines and take to the mic.

The course focuses on building confidence in both writing and performing comedy, and many of our “graduates” are still performing comedy or have reported a huge improvement in their ability to speak in public. Several students have gone on to win comedy competitions after attending a couple of workshops as an absolute beginner.

Hazel has developed a course which uses games and other exercises to help you bring out your inner comic, and write concise funny material. She has taught both adults and teenagers. She can run courses either one to one or to groups at your place of work or study. Hazel has been trained in motivational techniques and is a qualified TEFL teacher.

Hazel is available to provide workshops to groups, organisations and individuals. Ideal for anyone beginning stand-up or comedy performance. A team-building comedy course is also available which helps to instil trust and confidence within a group – as well as being great fun!

For more information email

Testimonials & Press:

“Her students, two women and five men, gather around her like an air crew at a briefing and pay respectful attention. Indeed one of the students is actually an RAF squadron leader… It’s Wednesday evening and Hazel Humphreys is conducting part two of the six-week comedy course…She is teaching people to be funny. It’s a serious business. The subject matter tilts gently from the theoretical to the practical. Participants are given a subject, asked to take a stance on that subject, perform a rant on it and then to neatly wrap it up……Her fledglings begin the improvisation session…in my own discreet corner my journalistic reserve breaks down and I start laughing. So does everyone else…
..I initially had my reservations, though about comedy being ‘taught’…and yet having observed Hazel and her students at work I began to realise that…the course is not in itself a box of tricks. It merely shows each student how to open their own particular boxes of tricks. And even if none of these participants ever went on to perform in a club they would have at least gained a measure of poise and confidence..”
– Martin Newell, East Anglian Daily Times, 21st March 2009
“I’ve been wanting to do the course for a couple of years and was thrilled to see it come up. Even though I now live in Norwich I did not regret for one second joining the course. The atmosphere was relaxed, the group was small enough for me not to feel embarrassed and the teaching was utterly brilliant – a quick pace but incredibly detailed and packed with so many useful tips, I could see as the weeks passed how much the whole group had grown in confidence and humour! The creative sessions were helpful and we were all surprised how quickly we were able to think on our feet.
Hazel is such an amazing teacher, patient, clear and incredibly knowledgeable, Hazel followed each session with a long email to remind us of links and what we covered.
Week after week we laughed until we cried, so not only were we learning but it was so entertaining which made it extremely great value for money.
The worse thing is it’s now ended so Saturdays become dull again! Really looking forward to the gig (which the whole group feel ready to perform at!) and I know hazels support will continue up to and beyond our time on stage. ” – Ali after 5 week course 2018
“ive just completed this course and its been 1 of the most exciting things ive done .The structure of comedy is broken down and explained to you in full and easily understandable sections ,you obtain a massive amount of support throughout the course and after as u will be heading for your own short stand up charity gig in front of an audience. I have also here met an amazing bonded group of friends . A really great experience” – Stephen after completing first gig following 5 week course 2018
“So proud of everyone involved in the comedy writers workshop and live performance at the Macready Theatre at Rugby School. The students were amazing and the crowd loved it too! Thank you for your hard work” – Enterlude, Rugby School 2018
“Thank you very much for the running the comedy workshop the other day, it was great fun and a good learning experience. I’m looking to give stand-up a try.” – Alex after Colchester Comedy Festival Workshop 2016
“Thank you for delivering an amazing course, ill be sure to recommend it” – Ashley after Colchester Comedy Festival Workshop 2016
“Thanks to Hazel for today’s workshop at Minories, had such a great time…thoroughly enjoyable and I hope to join the longer course as soon as it’s available” – Ali after Colchester Comedy Festival Workshop 2015
“I’ve never done anything like that before. Thank you!” – Daisy, kids comedy workshop Colchester Comedy festival 2015, after performing her final piece at the mic.
“Thank you for doing the course.  It was very detailed and offered great information.  I appreciated all your course notes, and the example clips of comedians…  You worked hard and you cared, and it showed. ” – Pam, Course Graduate, 2015
“The course was great – fun, interesting and constantly making us actually get up and do it! Hazel is an excellent tutor – a brilliant mix of encouraging and gently critical. I’ve wanted to do stand up for years but just didn’t know how to start: doing my first spot felt like a bit of a dream come true and I couldn’t have done it without the course.” – Jo Fletcher-Cross, Course Graduate and Journalist after 1st performance 2015, before winning Beat The Frog, Manchester on her 6th ever gig!
“If you’ve ever thought about writing comedy or harbour secret desires to perform stand up give this course a whirl. Hazel is a great comedy sensei, creating a very relaxed ‘anything goes’ environment allowing you to explore what’s funny about yourself without any pressure. I learnt a lot, laughed a lot and my classmates were all superb. Seeing how far we all progressed in such a short period of time is a testament to Hazel and the course, highly recommend. Also, we had biscuits” Carl, Course Graduate (2nd placed in Colchester New Comedian of the Year 2015 after completion of the course)
“Thanks for running the course. It was fantastic. Anyone who’s seen me attempt public speaking before would say that getting me to stand up there and say roughly what I’d prepared without wondering off down weird tangents, is no mean feat. So you must be doing something right.” Tom, course graduate after 1st performance 2015
“I absolutely loved the course, and it’s perfect if you want a taste of stand-up comedy. And with such a brilliant teacher, you’re more than prepared to take the mike and give it a go.” Ilse, Course graduate after 1st performance 2015
“Thank you for your amazing workshops and support. I had a whale of a time, personally, and learned a great deal. And the students were truly inspired! The Comedy Night was a roaring success. The boys really prepared their narratives, gorged on krispy Kreme doughnuts beforehand and were remarkably calm. Both the pro comedians booked  were amazed by their lack of nerves and gave them some feedback during the interval which was useful. The entire evening was great and the audience was encouraging to the boys.” Teacher, Comberton College, Cambridge following workshops & performance night for kids, 2014
” I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, it gave me a great insight into stand up and how much work goes into preparing for it. ” – Jon, Workshop attendee, Colchester Comedy Festival 2014
“The stand-up comedy course provided by Hazel Humphreys today was amazing – challenging, informative and so much fun, largely thanks to Hazel’s constant enthusiasm and encouragement” – Alexandria, workshop attendee, Colchester Comedy Festival 2014
” The course is very good value and Hazel is very thorough, both in selecting material (videos/exercises) and giving feedback and suggestions. I had to perform,  but I never felt bullied into it and I felt Hazel was  very encouraging  (And noticed my nerves). I feel Hazel is very knowledgeable about comedy as a whole.  She knows her stuff.” – Ruth, Course graduate 2014
“Thanks for doing the course, it was very well done and I learned a lot from it. I think the other people got a lot out of it too.Having done the course, its boosted my confidence and I have told myself that I’m gonna have to try to do a performance at least once.” – John, Course attendee, Colchester Comedy Festival 2013
“The comedy workshop was awesome!” Joe, Course Attendee Colchester Comedy Festival Workshop 2013
“The course was great and really enjoyed it, it’s a good format and it was a nice secure environment to try a hand at performing.” – Louise, course graduate 2013
“Hazel’s an excellent teacher – encouraging, diligent, and we had a blast.” – Becky, Course Graduate 2013
“I really enjoyed the course. It was really challenging for me, well outside my comfort zone – which was partly why I did it.Your advice and encouragement meant I felt I got loads out of it, and was able to develop material into a workable “routine” at the end of it. Genuinely buzzing after performing .” – Felix, Course Graduate 2013
“Hazel was welcoming, friendly, funny (obviously!) and most of all encouraging at my first attempts to make my fellow course attendees laugh. The right mix of theory, practise and just plain fun. No pressure, just a lots of fun with a great bunch of people!” – Joanne, Course Graduate 2013
“Thank you very much.. everything went really good. They laughed a lot. ” Lara (16), German student Magdalene College Summer School after 1st performance 2013
“Just wanted to say how much i enjoyed the comedy workshops – it has been fantastic fun and have loved it ! ” – Teresa, Course graduate 2013
“had an awesome time at the stand-up comedy workshop with Hazel today ” – Pippa, course attendee, Colchester Comedy Festival 2013
“I thought it was a nice group, and you managed it well. The course has definitely got me thinking, and will very likely get me to extend my range.” – Dave, Comedian and Course Graduate 2013
“Thank you for a really great course – even though the idea of standing up in front of a crowd still seems terrifying, I really enjoyed the exercises on how to think about constructing jokes. I’ve read a few comedy books in the past, but this was far more educational and fun.”  – George, “Get Up! Stand Up!” Student, January 2013
“This is a terrific course. I’ve used it and had Hazel as my lead instructor twice in Cambridgeshire and she’s gone down a storm both times. I’ll definitely use her again. She is extremely knowledgeable, empathetic and enthusiastic. I’ve been a comic for over four years and I still learned stuff!” – Rob Coleman, Custard Comedy, 2012
“That was awesome!” Scout, Cambridge Gang Show Camp, 2012
“If there’s one person who can teach you comedy, it’s Hazel” – Kerry, Course graduate 2010
“Was really good for a young comic to learn the skills needed to do stand-up comedy. It really gives you the confidence and support to go out and gig and utilize what you’ve learned; I’d highly recommend it” – Aaron, New Comedian 2010
“I took my first stand up course with Hazel back in 2009, and it was a wonderful, warm, and welcoming experience. Hazel has an excellent grasp of how to bring out your own unique humor. Focusing in on the importance of ranting, letting your inner self break free and sharing it with others. Stand up is for everyone, whether you’re in business, trying to break out of your shell, entertaining at parties, impressing your mother, or making it big like Richard Herring! Take it from me, after all, I live in Hollywood now and I have two cats, a crazy girlfriend and I still have a day job. But! People think I’m funny, and slowly but surely, I’m getting paid to be silly all thanks to where it all began, in Wivenhoe!”
– Piot Michael actor, impressionist and comedian
“It did exactly what it said on the tin: from absolute beginner through to having the skill set and the confidence to do your own credible stand up set. I would just like to say that I found the course extremely useful , fun and would recommend it to any budding stander upper.” Chris (New comedian 2009)
“They should call you the Comedy Svengali! Thank you Hazel” – Kelly, graduate, after performing her first comedy gig 2009
“I attended Hazel’s comedy course and found it hugely rewarding. As well as making it a lot of fun, Hazel has a really good understanding of how to bring out originality, draw on others for inspiration, and make you feel you can go ahead and do it. I may not be the next Jo Brand, but I have found it’s been really helpful for my comedic writing.”
– Anna Stenning, writer
“A new elective, an introduction to stand up comedy taught by comedian Hazel Humphreys. This is a great elective if you have an interest in comedy, want to build up your confidence, want to find your comic voice (I bet you didn’t even know you lost it) or perhaps most importantly of all just want to have some fun!
The first session was excellent; and many ranges of things were ranted and raved about such as an irrational fear of tomatoes, a hatred of spiders and a passion for cop TV. shows. There was also the game ‘it’s worse than that…’ where you say the first thing that pops unexpectedly into your head, this game had people both laughing in stitches and backing away slightly in surprise at each others answers.
A wonderful time was had by all at the elective and they left feeling happy and with a mysterious craving for chocolate! (chocolate sort of became an undercurrent at the elective session). Above all don’t be scared about coming to the elective and speaking your comic ramblings as the worst they can do is laugh! ”
– Review of Comedy Course at Colne College in The Student Newspaper (2008)
“A very useful, enjoyable series of workshops which helped me immensely as a beginner to stand-up comedy” – Paul Byrne, 3rd place, Chortle Student Comedy Competition 2005 (after only 10 gigs!)
Winner North Essex New Comedian of The Year 2008