Media for Social Responsibility

Weekend Update: The Intersection of Politics and Comedy

This one-credit mini-course explored satirical programming, which deploys humor to poke fun at mainstream media and political discourse. Satire TV has become an increasing part of society’s media consumption. Students will examine why social and political satire have grown in popularity and how they shape conversations worldwide as well as raise the question of how well media is addressing issues of public importance.

Comedian Seth Meyers, former anchor of Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” and who recently took over NBC’s “Late Night” franchise, kicked off the course with a Q&A session for students enrolled in the course. Other guest speakers explored key topics such as: the limitations of the genre; the tendency to rely on stereotypes when representing various countries and cultures; satirical TV programs from around the world; and how satirical TV news shows are getting people to think critically about “the public square” and how to write a satire, should you become a satirist.


The Competition

Throughout history comedians, writers, performers and activists have used satire as a powerful tool to question those who abuse authority, call out hypocrites, and ignite movements.

This course culminated with student-teams collaborating on crafting material for a live performance. The class was divided up into writing teams with each presenting a 2:30 minute stand-up act, news program with a satirical bent, or parody news (with either real or fake stories) performance.


Guest speakers:

  • Seth Meyers, Host of Late Night with Seth Meyers
  • Stephen Tropiano, Author of Saturday Night Live FAQ, and Director of the Ithaca College LA program
  • Allison Hord, Executive Producer of Funny or Die
  • Jeffrey Jones, University of Georgia and Director of The Peabody Awards
  • Ethan Thompson, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and Editor of TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post-Network Era
  • Timothy Joyce,  comedian and SUNY Buffalo State lecturer 
  • Cyndy Scheibe, Professor of Psychology at Ithaca College and Executive Director, Project Look Sharp

To learn more about these guest speakers, click here.



Robert Regan
Director, Keshishoglou (Kesh) Center for Global Communications Innovation and Executive Master’s Program
Assistant Professor, Department of Media Arts, Sciences, and Studies



Roy H. Park School of Communications  ·  311 Park Hall  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-1021  ·  Full Directory Listing