“We laughed until our stomachs hurt, our notepads filled and our comedy elevated.”

– Caleb McKnight, Austin Film Festival

Austin Film Festival / Photo: Jack Plunkett


“Outstanding – an impressive overview of the logic (or lack thereof) of comedy.  Fantastic speaker all round and very entertaining.”

– George Mather, Oxford University

VIEW Conference (Torino, Italy)


“A fascinating journey, filled with laughter.  The audience loved David’s program.”

– Craig Davis, Chicago Public Library

California Women’s Conference


“A sell-out crowd, lots of laughing and learning about why and how comedy works; both grad students and faculty got a lot from the evening.”

– Alan Kingsberg, Columbia University

Columbia University


“An evening filled with mirth and joy and startling insights.”

– Hal Ackerman; Dept. of Theater, Film & Television, UCLA

St. Louis Jewish Book Festival

“David enthralled the large audience with a perfect balance of comedy history and his own finely-tuned sense of humor.  Whether hearing him speak, engaging him in conversation, or reading his
book, you too will be enthralled.”

– Ann Spector, St. Louis Jewish Book Festival

Oxford University


“A brilliant talk which packed the room on a rainy New Haven day, and sent every student and professor in the audience home smiling,
laughing, and enlightened.”

– Jordan Plotner, Yale University

New York Public Library


“A wonderful romp – fascinating, funny and thought-provoking.”

– Cat Aboudura, Smithsonian Associates

KPCC Crawford Family Forum

“‘The Shame of Satire’ was brilliant, funny, insightful, and sparked a terrific dialogue. David is tremendously witty but he’s also a profound thinker, placing the world of comedic writing and perform- ance in the context of society. Any student of writing, sociology, psychology, or just human nature, will enjoy David Misch.”

– Ken LaZebnik, Pepperdine University

Santa Monica Library, with wave-form of a laugh

“David Misch knows funny, teaches funny, is funny. His insightful presentation had our students alter- nately rapt and in stitches. Thank goodness he brought peroxide.”

– Jon Stahl; Chair, Dept. of Cinema & Television Arts, Cal. State Northridge

David greets two fans at The Smithsonian Institution

“A fantastic speaker with a thought-provoking presentation that engaged and entertained the audience.”

– Rodney Taviera, United States Study Centre, University of Sydney

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, Claremont McKenna College

“Wonderful; a sold-out venue and the audience laughed throughout. While David’s quick wit and insight kept people entertained, it was matched by his good-natured personality. Can’t wait to do it again!”

– Samantha Klein, Palm Beaches Book Festival

West Hollywood Book Fair


“Had the audience laughing from start to finish to post-presentation Q&A.”

– John Dowell, Midwest Popular Culture Association Conference

SATE Conference; Savannah, Georgia


“David shows how, why and when comedy works and connects laughter to our nervous awareness of our own mortality.  He had the audience howling with laughter, and howling for more.”

– Glenn Entis, VIEW Conference; Torino, Italy

United States Study Centre; Sydney, Australia


“David’s witty, insightful presentation delighted the audience. It was a pleasure to have him.”

– Alicia Harris-Fernandez, 92nd St. Y; New York

il Circolo dei Lettori, in the 17th-century Palazzo Graneri Roccia; Torino, Italy


“David shows why comedy is funny and how the smallest difference can make a huge impact. All writers, actors, and comics need to see this!”

– Vinny Valdivia, DSI Comedy Theater; Chapel Hill, NC

California State University Northridge

“Anyone who can engage and hold the attention of my jaded Advanced Screenwriting class knows whereof he speaks. David did for over two hours and left them wanting more.”

– Ron Osborn, Art Center College of Design; Pasadena

After his appearance at Lucasfilm/Industrial Light & Magic, David meets with a top executive


“David’s illumination of the foundations of comedy is wonderful and inspiring.”

– Patricia Meyer, American Film Institute

American Film Institute


“A funny, fascinating talk, with great video clips.  David was wonderful to work with.”

– Ivy Weston, Santa Monica Public Library

Annenberg School For Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California


“A deft mix of film clips and witty commentary.”

– Mirra Bank, The Actors Studio;  New York

Finest City Improv (San Diego)

(Click on right side to see more)

May 17-28: Get some Misch for your very own! David will appear at your home, business or back alley
for the benefit of Southern California Public Radio KPCC‘s Spring Online Auction at BiddingForGood.


David Misch is a screenwriter (“Mork and Mindy”, “Saturday Night Live”, special consultant on “The Muppets Take Manhattan”), author (“Funny: The Book”, “A Beginner’s Guide To Corruption”), teacher (his own courses on comedy at the University of Southern California and musical satire at the University of California, Los Angeles), playwright (“Pretty Naked People”, pre- mieres in Los Angeles next year) and blogger (The Huffington Post). David is also a recovered comic folksinger (“Somerville”, Fretless Records) and stand-up comic (opening for Billy Joel and Talking Heads).

David speaks on a wide range of topics, all of them Comedy, at a variety of venues from America to England to Italy to Austra- lia: colleges and theaters; cultural centers and corporations; libraries, private seminars, and conferences; airport terminals, DMV offices and supermarket checkout lines (the last three are generally less formal appearances).

All his talks contain copious comedy clips featuring everyone from Chaplin to Schumer, Keaton to Key & Peele, the Marx Broth- ers to Monty Python.

While difficult to work with (he not only demands a bag of green M&M’s before every appearance but requires that they be manufactured on-site), David is deeply sensitive to his audiences. “If only one person here learns something about comedy,” he has said, “I’ve failed miserably. But I’m keeping the money.”


VIDEOS (click to play) / [Note: Videos don’t work on mobile. I have no idea why.]

General Audiences

Santa Monica Public Library

Introduction (:57)

Comedy’s subject matter hasn’t changed much in 3000 years.

Play Video
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Trickster / Purpose (3:54)
Trickster / Purpose

What the mythological character Trickster tells us about comedy.

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Evil laughter (1:51)
Evil laughter

For thousands of years, laughter was seen as sinister.

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Inhuman laughs (1:39)
Inhuman laughs

What do gorillas find funny?

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Comedy as threat (2:54)
Comedy as threat

The relationship between laughter and fear.

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Q/A (4:41)

Favorite jokes; research; women; sitcoms.

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Austin Film Festival

Introduction (3:53)
Introduction (Prof./Acad.)

Is comedy a second-class art form?

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Comedy vs. Drama (3:09)
Comedy vs. drama

What’s the difference?

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The Foreign Body 1 (3:28)
The Foreign Body 1

Why your body is funny

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The Foreign Body 2 (2:19)
The Foreign Body 2

Why your body continues to be funny

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How Jokes Work 1 (5:20)
How Jokes Work 1

Orwell, Dangerfield, Stoppard, Seinfeld

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How Jokes Work 2 (UCLA; 1:16)
How Jokes Work 2

The role of misdirection

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Q/A (4:15)

Comedy vs. drama; cycles

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“The Shame of Satire”

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Comedy & morality (1:15)
Comedy & morality

Does comedy have a moral component?

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Satire (1:30)

The uses of Photoshop.

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Censorship (1:00)

Does comedy need censorship?

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Q/A: Inaccessible (1:55)
Q/A, Inaccessible

What is the role of intentionally inaccessible comedy?

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Q/A: Journalism? (1:40)
Q/A: Comedy as Journalism

Should comedy have an agenda?

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Major Venues Include…

92nd St. Y (The New Yorker, “Goings On About Town”TimeOut New York,
“Best by Day”; two sold out appearances)
Grammy Museum (Los Angeles)
KPCC Crawford Family Forum (Pasadena; full house – video, below left)
Lotos Club (New York City; Mark Twain Dinner)
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum (Claremont McKenna College)
Libraries: Boston*, Chicago, Los AngelesNew York*, Santa Monica (LA
Pick of the Week) (*full house)
Road Scholar (San Francisco; sold out)

Skirball Cultural Center (LA Weekly Recommended; sold out)
Smithsonian Institute

Columbia University (Carla Kuhn Speaker Series; full house)
Cooper Union (New York City)
Harvardwood (Harvard University entertainment industry alumni)

The New School (New York City)
Oxford University (for this seminar, addressed as “Lord Misch”)
Pepperdine University (W. David Baird Distinguished Lecture Series)
San Francisco State University (inaugural Jack Oakie Foundation lecture;
     full house)

University of California, Los Angeles (course: “The World of Musical Satire”)
     UCLA Extension (course: “The Worlds of Comedy”)
University of Southern California (course: “Practical Foundations of

University of Sydney (Australia(United States Study Centre; talk given

Yale University (lecture; Master’s Tea – both full house)

The Actors Studio (New York City)
American Academy of Dramatic Arts (Hollywood)

American Film Institute (Los Angeles)
Austin Film Festival (sold out)

Burbank Comedy Festival
Dirty South Comedy Theatre (Chapel Hill)
iO West (Hollywood)
The Laugh Stand (Sydney, Australia)
National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (New York City)
Ojai Film Festival
Second City (Hollywood)
Story Expo (Los Angeles)
The Writers Store (Burbank, CA)

Jewish Book Council Network Author Tour (14 cities)
Minneapolis Jewish Humor Festival (Twin Cities Pioneer Press: “Literary
     Event of the Week”)
Palm Beaches Book Festival (two same-day sold out appearances)
Printers Row Lit Fest
(Chicago Tribune)
St. Louis Jewish Book Festival (175 people on a Tuesday morning)
West Hollywood Book Fair

Adobe Inc. (San Francisco; Distinguished Lecture Series)
The Ethics and Aesthetics of Stand-Up Comedy (Bucknell University)

California Women’s Conference
(Long Beach)
Electronic Arts (Vancouver, BC)
Industrial Light & Magic (San Francisco; Lucasfilm Speaker Series)

Midwest Popular Culture Association (St. Louis)
SATE Themed Entertainment Association (Savannah College of Art
     and Design)

VIEW Cinema Conference (Torino, Italy)

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Selected Interviews

OFF-RAMP, with John Rabe
Interview with Hank Rosenfeld
KPCC, Pasadena (radio; 4 min.)
Also, partial transcript and photos


FOX 25 with Gene Levanchy (TV; 5 min.)

with Brendan Newnam; NPR (5 min.)

This one goes out to Ms. Erin G. Bragh:
MONCRIEFF, with Sean Moncrieff
“Newstalk”, Radio Ireland (14 min.)


(TV; 3 parts, 28 min.)

D.C. IMPROV for The Smithsonian Insti-
; with Chris White (podcast; 42 min.)

with Alonzo Bodden (video; 89 min.)