February 21, 2024

Starting this fall, California Baptist University will become the first university on the West Coast to allow students the opportunity to pursue a new major, which is the Bachelor of Arts in Comedic Arts.

The 36-unit major will prepare comedy students for a career in film, television or live performance through the program offered. Courses range from Pantomime and Commedia and Physical Comedy, to Clown Design: Costumes and Makeup and Comedy in Christian Ministries.

The major’s first foundational course, “Intro To Stand-Up Performance,” will begin fall of 2016 and will be taught by John Pate, department chair of communication arts and assistant professor of communication. Students will have the chance to explore their own comedic style and learn to hone their talents.

“The comedic arts program is strictly for comedy,” Pate said. “For comedy, script, sketch and television writing, stand up performance, improvisational comedy, pantomime — every area of comedy performance is covered.”

While the program will work closely with the theater program and include classes from the theater major, the two majors are distinct and will develop different skills.

Pate said this new major is specialized with a more focused discipline.

Students can add a 24-unit minor in comedic arts with the help of the Academic Advising Office and the Office of the University Registrar.

Non-majors are welcomed to enroll in the “Intro To Stand- Up Performance” course to fill lower division elective credits.

Emerson College in Boston, Mass., and Columbia College Chicago in Chicago, Ill., will join CBU as the first three schools to offer a B.A. in Comedic Arts.

Other schools have offered related courses, but not a major. Pate said CBU will be the closest university to Hollywood for students to be able to earn the degree.

“I have always thought that CBU was a very innovative school and it’s cool that the theater is joining the innovative wave,” said Megan Ballard, freshman graphic design major and theater minor.

Pate said he is looking forward to the benefits graduates from the program will enjoy once leaving CBU.

“We tell students, ‘We don’t want to teach you to do what everyone else can do to get a job,’” Pate said. “We want to teach you what nobody else can do so you will be the first to get that job.”

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