Comedy@SCA is an innovative, interdisciplinary program to train students in the creation of comedic entertainment in film, television and interactive media that offers specialized instruction through a concentration of writing and production classes, animation, interactive media and critical studies. The courses are open to any School of Cinematic Arts student. Designed to position the School as the premier center for comedy instruction in the country, Comedy@SCA allows young talent to develop their comedic voices and validates the study of comedy within an academic setting.
With a group of faculty members that includes Jack Epps, Jr. (The Secret of My Success, Legal Eagles), Barnet Kellman (Murphy Brown, Mad About You), David Isaacs (Cheers, Frasier, M*A*S*H*), Dave Goetsch (The Big Bang Theory), Anne Beatts (Saturday Night Live), Paul Wolff (Annie McGuire) and Michael Saltzman (Murphy Brown), Comedy@SCA offers a one-of-a-kind educational experience for students of all levels. Classes encompass the roots of classic comedy entertainers, including Brooks, Chaplin, Lloyd, Sturges, Gleason and Gelbart while respecting the frontiers of comedy including Funny or Die, 5 Second Films and performance venues such as UCB and The Groundlings.
Comedy@SCA aims to benefit from the wealth of expertise that USC School of Cinematic Arts alumni can offer as guest speakers and seminar leaders. SCA alumni are a who’s-who of comedy names in the industry including Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, 40-Year-Old Virgin), Walt Becker (Wild Hogs), Paul Feig (Freaks & Geeks, The Office), Shawn Levy (Date Night), Debra Neil-Fisher (The Hangover), Jason Reitman (Juno), Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents), Gabe Sachs (Freaks and Geeks), Peter Segal (Get Smart), Jason Shuman (Role Models), Tim Story (Barbershop), Cathy Yuspa & Josh Goldsmith (The King of Queens) and Randy Zisk (Monk).
Jack Epps, Jr. is an award-winning writer and filmmaker who first became involved in making films while an undergraduate at Michigan State University. His student film The Pigs vs. the Freaks, was purchased by NBC and made into a Movie of the Week, re-titled Off Sides. Epps joined forces with his screenwriting professor from Michigan State University, Jim Cash, and their first produced screenplay, Top Gun, went on to become the #1 world wide box office hit in 1986. Within eleven months, the writing team of Cash & Epps had three produced screenplays in the theaters: Top Gun, Legal Eagles, and The Secret of My Success. As a screenwriter, Mr. Epps co-authored over 25 screenplays and eight produced motion pictures including Dick Tracy, Turner & Hooch, and Anaconda.
Epps was recently honored as the recipient of the first Victoria and Jack Oakie Endowed Chair in Comedy at the School of Cinematic Arts. Epps is a thirty-five year member of the Writers’ Guild of America, and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
David Isaacs has worked as a TV and Screen Writer and Producer for over 35 years. He has been credited as a writer, co-producer or creative consultant on M*A*S*H*, Cheers, Wings, Frasier, Becker and Mad Men. His writing credits also include episodes of The Simpsons, The Tracey Ullman Show, The Jeffersons and The Tony Randall Show.
Isaacs has been nominated eight times for the Writers Guild of America Award and won three times for Cheers and Mad Men. He has six Emmy nominations with one win for co-producing the first season of Cheers. He was also nominated for the Humanitas Award and received a Peabody Award as a member of the staff of Frasier.
Barnet Kellman directed the feature film comedies Straight Talk (Disney), Key Exchange (Fox) and Stinkers (Sony). His highly regarded work on television includes directing the pilots of the network series Murphy Brown, Mad About You, Suddenly Susan, Something Wilder, The George Lopez Show and My Boys. His work on television has been recognized with two Emmy Awards and seven Emmy nominations, a Directors’ Guild Award and three nominations, and a Monitor Award. He has directed twenty-one pilots that became on-air series, and continued with many of them as Executive Producer/Director. In addition, he has directed episodes of the award-winning series Alias, Ally Mcbeal, Once And Again, Felicity and E.R. and most recently episodes of the ABC hit comedy The Middle, starring Patricia Heaton, and Mr. Sunshine, starring Matthew Perry.
He graduated magna cum laude from Colgate University in 1969. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he was a recipient of the prestigious Danforth Graduate Fellowship, and the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. He attended the Yale School of Drama, and received a Ph.D. from The Union Institute.