Steve Martin MasterClass Review:
Can It Teach You Comedy?

Last updated on: August 3, 2023, Written by:

Bill Tremlon

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Everyone enjoys a hearty laugh, and it takes someone who knows this craft to give you the giggles. Steve Martin is one such person, and he has been writing and performing comedy since the 60s.

Most recently, Steve Martin became an instructor in his comedy MasterClass. I was curious to see how Steve teaches a form of art that most people consider inborn and not learned. I was surprised to learn that it’s possible to acquire comedy skills.

In this Steve Martin MasterClass review, I’ll tell you what more to expect from the course so you can make an informed decision when getting the subscription.

Steve Martin MasterClass Outline

Steve Martin teaches comedy with unique tips for anyone aspiring to become a stand-up comedian. It provides helpful advice on starting, comedy writing, finding your voice, polishing up your delivery, and growing as a performer. Non-comedians also get entertainment value from the course as it features plenty of comedy scenes.

Steve Martin MasterClass Review

Steve Martin MasterClass Review In a Nutshell

⭐ Rating:9.4 ★★★★★
🥇 Category of class:Arts & Entertainment
📈 Suits best for:Anyone interested in comedy
🕒 Lenght:4 hours 40 minutes
⏳ Avg. Lesson Duration11 minutes
🛍️ Course Essentials:Pen, paper, and Love for Comedy
💼 Complementary material:68-page workbook
📚 No. of Lessons:25 lessons
🛒 Payment options:Individual / Duo / Family
💵 Price:10 – 20 $ (billed annually)
🔄 Refund policy:30-day satisfaction guarantee
🎁 Free trial:

2.Getting Started in Comedy;
3.Gathering Material;
4.Finding Your Comedic Voice;
5.Developing a Comedic Persona;
6.Jokes and Bits;
8.Crafting Your Act;
9.Student Session: Workshopping Nalini’s First Stand-Up Act;
10.Student Session: Workshopping Tim’s Act;
11.Opening and Closing Your Act;
12.Profanity and Morality;
13.Growing as a Performer;
14.Nerves, Hecklers, and Bombing;
15.A Life In the Arts;
16.Creating Characters;
17.Story Techniques;
18.Screenwriting Case Study: Roxanne;
20.Editing (cont’d);
21Writing Case Study: Meteor Shower;
22.Steve’s Comedic Inspirations;
23.Steve’s Journey;
24.Final Thoughts;
25.Bonus Case Study Speeches.

Main Skills You’ll Learn

  • Researching;
  • Delivering your jokes;
  • Honing your opening and closing act;
  • Managing hecklers and bombers;
  • Dealing with writer’s block;
  • Editing.

Is Steve Martin MasterClass For Me?

The Steve Martin MasterClass is for anyone interested in learning comedy basics. Aspiring comedians will find great value in the course. Even established comedians may find use in the course by getting a different perspective, especially on physical comedy.

The course may also benefit those who want to get a sneak peek into the mind of one of the best comedians of our time. It’s especially entertaining if you love Steve’s comedic characters.

Our Evaluation

Total score: 9.4

Steve Martin as an Instructor
Uniqueness and Freshness
Structure and Quality
Student Engagement and Retention
Value for the Money


  • Learning from one of the most famous comedians
  • Useful feedback from student sessions
  • Tips on writing comedy
  • A resourceful workbook
  • Supplementary writing scripts


  • Outdated tips on getting started
  • Emphasis on one comedy style  

Steve Martin MasterClass Teacher Review

Meet Steve Martin

Steve Martin’s experience in comedy is one of his most significant feats. He has been doing comedy, mainly writing, doing stand-up, and acting in films, for over 60 years. You probably have seen him in comedy movies like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Jerk, Roxanne, Father of the Bride, Three Amigos, Bowfinger, The Pink Panther, and many more.

His outstanding comedy acts have earned him 7 Grammy awards for best comedy album, an Academy honorary award, 2 Primetime Emmy Awards, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2005. Other achievements include a sixth place ranking by Comedy Central for 100 greatest stand-up comics and several nominations.

Steve Martin as a Teacher

Steve is no stranger to talking to the masses. He has been performing for a significant part of his comedy career. In the past, Martin helped Kevin Kline teach a comedy course at The Juilliard School despite having reservations about whether one can learn comedy. The experience taught him otherwise, and currently, he has his own comedy course.

 Laughter Journey with Steve Martin in his MasterClass

Expect great delivery from Steve Martin when you take this MasterClass. He details every comedy aspect, which is a plus for career comedians. Student session, where Martin teaches students, is also insightful and full of practical knowledge.

About MasterClass

Since 2015, MasterClass brings 180+ online classes from top-tier instructors in almost any field. It includes pre-recorded video lessons from masters such as Richard Branson, Martin Scorsese, Aaron Sorkin, Gordon Ramsay, and many others.

The video quality equals Hollywood movies, and every MasterClass course is carefully structured. But that’s not all. There are interactive assignments, MasterClass community activities, and an ever-growing video library to enjoy top MasterClass lessons. The sheer amount of content can make it hard to begin. Cursums will help you to choose wisely.

Originality and Novelty of the Content

Several blog posts, interviews, and books contain Steve’s knowledge of comedy. His book, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life, is the most popular resource. All this material is helpful but is spread all over the internet. It’s quite a hassle to compile all this information.

MasterClass is the only learning platform where you’ll find comprehensive comedy coursework on how Steve Martins does it. With a list of 25 lessons, the lesson details stand-up, writing, and performing comedy aspects. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive teacher, there is also lessons with actor Samuel L. Jackson with a different approach to acting.

A similar module on MasterClass is Judd Apatow’s course on teaching comedy. His course is quite long, taking six and half hours. Steve’s course teaches the same but in less time, meaning less average view time per lesson. Short lessons are more desirable, making Steve’s comedy MasterClass an ideal option. Another alternative is the Penn&Teller magic MasterClass, which offers plenty of comedy and entertainment aspects but contains content that is quite short and to the point.

Content and Structure of the Steve Martin MasterClass

It took me 4 hours and 40 minutes to finish the course. On average, each lesson is 11 minutes which is ideal for most learners to learn comedy. However, I had to watch through a lengthy lesson 9 for 17 minutes. The lesson is long because it’s focused on workshopping a student.

Apart from the lessons, the course workbook offers assignments. They serve as the practical bit of Steve Martin’s MasterClass. I found that they took quite a lot of time to complete. Expect to take one to three hours doing assignments.

Getting Started in Comedy

1-7 Lessons Summary

The first group of lessons is mainly about the creative process of starting your comedic act. Martin begins the MasterClass with a few jokes. Afterward, Martin speaks on researching and finding material that works. The course provides ways to search for inspiration. You’ll also learn how to find a comedic voice and comedic persona that stands out from other comedians.

Reviewing Steve Martin's MasterClass: Unleash Your Comedy Act

Steve advises his viewers that lack of talent isn’t an issue when doing comedy. He even has a saying to back this up. Steve says that If you start with nothing, the workaround can lead you to originality.

At the end of these lessons, Martin teaches effective delivery. It calls out the myth that you need a punchline to make people laugh. Steve shares alternative ways and joke structures to keep people in stitches.

Crafting Your Act

8-14 Lessons Summary

The lessons begin with student sessions where Steve leads a workshop of budding comedians and shares tips on how they can improve their performance. The Key thing is to work on your opening and closing stand-up act. They are the determinants of having a memorable show.

Enhancing Your Stand-Up Comedy Act with Steve Martin

Steve Martin covers the importance of growing as a performer. It includes learning from your mistakes and refining your old jokes. These lessons also touch on using offensive comedy and Steve Martin’s advice on dealing with hecklers and bombing.

A Life In the Arts

15-25 Lessons Summary

The course explores comedians’ challenges and goes deeper into structuring your comedy act. Learn valuable tips on creating memorable characters, dealing with writer’s block, and editing your work.

Martin's MasterClass acts as a launching point for begginers

Martin explains some of his comedic writing, like Roxanne, The Jerk, Bowfinger, and his play Meteor Shower. Steve’s comedic inspirations are also unveiled.

At the course’s end, you’ll learn about Steve’s journey and where he draws his inspiration from. Perhaps on the lighter side is that Steve signs off the MasterClass with a portrayal of his skills on the banjo.

Fast-Track Lesson Plan

Complete Steve Martin’s MasterClass in 3 hours and 59 seconds.

2.Getting Started in Comedy09:30
3.Gathering Material11:23
4.Finding Your Comedic Voice10:36
5.Developing a Comedic Persona10:59
6.Jokes and Bits15:43
9.Crafting Your Act16:28
11.Opening and Closing Your Act15:21
13.Profanity and Molarity09:15
14.Nerves, Hecklers, and Bombing08:37
16.A Life In the Arts10:51
17.Creating Characters 10:39
18.Story Techniques13:43
20.Editing (cont’d)15:25

Engagement and Retention of Steve Martin MasterClass

The course does an excellent job hooking the audience from lessons 1 to 25. I found that the main appeal of the course is due to the comical bits scattered in the lessons. They come in the form of short video clips of Martin doing some old-school comedy stand-up or Steve himself inserting humor in his teaching.

The course’s visual appeal, synonymous with all MasterClass courses, also contributed to my good learning experience. The high-definition videos complement Martin’s style and are a great motivation to take the MasterClass.

Finally, Steve Martin is an experienced public speaker, so his communication skills are on point when teaching comedy. I easily followed the lessons, and it motivated me to continue the course and start performing comedy. Finding other comedy courses that are so good isn’t easy.

My Firsthand Experience With Steve Martin’s MasterClass

What I liked About Steve Martin MasterClass

Learning From a Decorated Comedian

Steve Martin is a seasoned veteran comedian who knows the creative industry extensively. A career comedian will get a lot of useful knowledge from him. I was glad I was receiving tips on how to make people laugh from him. I also loved how he’s still into his original physical comedy act of using a banjo, a remnant from his early days in stand-up comedy.

Useful Feedback From Student Sessions

I was glad to see Steve Martin in a classroom session with students. It provided the course with a more authentic feel of somewhere you can learn about comedy. Martin gives hands-on guidance on how the students can improve their comedy acts. Also, Martin addresses the importance of editing your written work.

Beneficial Tips on Writing Comedy

I liked how the course touched on how to write jokes, an overlooked comedy area. The course goes into depth, particularly on screenwriting and playwriting, director David Lynch’s lessons on filmmaking, have a similar content approach, I was convinced that I was getting quality content about writing jokes, as it’s where Steve Martin started his journey as a comedian. Writing for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour brought him to the limelight in the 60s.

A Resourceful Workbook

The workbook is a great resource that compliments Steve Martin’s MasterClass. Since it’s downloadable in PDF and printable, I found it useful as a revision accessory while on the move. Its assignments also provided more student engagement in the course. 

Supplementary Writing Scripts

The course offers two downloadable scripts of Steve’s work as a bonus feature. One adapted screenplay includes the Roxanne film and another the Meteor Shower play. Students can use the scripts as a template to form their original scripts using the comedy structure in these works.

What I Didn’t Like about Steve Martin MasterClass

Outdated Tips on Getting Started

The comedy scene is dynamic and ever-changing. Some of the “getting started’’ tips that Martin mentions in this course may have worked well in the 60s but may not necessarily work today. Though useful, the tips may not work for today’s upcoming young comedians all the time.

Emphasis on One Comedy Style 

Steve Martin’s comedy is that of being quirky and unconventional. While some people may find this funny and base their acts on it, others won’t. Some students may view this form of comedy as archaic.

Is Steve Martin MasterClass a Good purchase?

Price of Steve Martin MasterClass

The course has a monthly cost ranging from $10 to $15 and $20. It depends on whether you choose the Individual, Duo, or Family plan package. I recommend the family plan that offers streaming on more devices.

Individual (one device)$10 per month
Duo (two devices)$15 per month
Family (six devices)$20 per month

The course is worth purchasing as you’ll receive the educational value of learning comedy from an expert in the field The MasterClass also provided entertainment value from the plenty of stand-up comedy clips and the use of humor in the lessons.

Does the Class Live Up to the Hype?

Steve Martin’s MasterClass lives up to the hype, and not only because of the celebrity status of the instructor. Martin offers extra value and teaches you how to be a comedian. Even if you’re not planning on becoming one, you’ll get helpful advice on making your friends laugh.

As a stand-up comedian or writer, you’ll know where to get inspiration, do your research, and deliver your jokes by the end of the course. You’ll also learn how to deal with life in the arts industry.

Steve Martin MasterClass: Ratings from Around the Web

From the time MasterClass released Steve Martin’s course on the platform in 2017, people have been learning how to be comical. Social media has more people with positive comments than negative ones. It indicates the value the course offers anyone who watches the lessons.

Some users watch the MasterClass for valuable advice and suggestions from Steve Martin on improving their skits.

Steve Martin MasterClass Review on Twitter

Others like how Steve Martin’s MasterClass provides advice that non-comedians can use.

Steve Martin MasterClass Review on Facebook

Other people enjoy Steve’s MasterClass because they are huge fans and know Steve’s fetes of filling stadiums to perform. In the example below, a Steve Martin fan acknowledges his writing, performing, acting, and musical talents.

Steve Martin MasterClass Review on Reddit

Essentials Used in the Steve Martin MasterClass

After subscribing to Steve Martin’s MasterClass, get yourself a pen and paper and prepare for a 4-hour session full of key insights that you’ll note down. I also recommend watching some of Steve Martin’s movies. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
  • Roxanne (1987)
  • Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Courses Similar to Steve Martin MasterClass

Other Courses of Arts & Entertainment on MasterClass

  • Penn & Teller teach the Art of Magic
  • Judd Apatow teaches comedy
  • David Sedaris teaches Storytelling and Humor
  • Samuel L. Jackson teaches Acting
  • David Lynch teaches Creativity and Film
  • Helen Mirren teaches Acting
  • Nancy Cartwright teaches Voice Acting
  • Jeff Koons teaches Art and Creativity
  • Aaron Sorkin teaches Screenwriting
  • Martin Scorsese teaches Filmmaking

MasterClass Competitors


Udemy is one of the most popular online learning providers, with a massive choice of various classes. The learning platform covers a range of comedy writing courses for beginner and advanced .


Coursera is another big name in the online courses market, with a lot to offer in comedy-related fields. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge of the field without spending much money on online learning.


Skillshare focuses on practical courses, with educational videos substituting expensive college courses. The aim is to provide users with marketable skills for finding a job. There are some courses related to comedy, standup’s and humor in general.

Steve Martin MasterClass: FAQ

The course’s main agenda is to teach comedy, but it’s not all about humor. Viewers get plenty of practical advice that they can use in day to day lives. A good example is his words of inspiration in the final lesson.

The difference with other comedy courses is in the structure of the content. The MasterClass lesson structure flows smoothly. First, Steve Martin introduces the course with a few jokes to create a rapport with his audience. Then he guides students from idea creation to performing comedy and polishing up their act.

Steve Martin explains and shares personal experiences in the MasterClass when explaining crucial points in detail. Martin makes a good example when he talks about his experience delivering a tribute to Tom Hanks at the Museum of Modern Art.

Author: Bill Tremlon

Blogger | Life-long learner

Bill Tremlon

I’ve spent the last ten years passionately studying various online learning platforms. Udemy, MasterClass, Coursera, and Skillshare are the main ones, but I review lesser-known study tools as well. I test and analyze each course and lesson thoroughly before sharing my research.



Steve Martin: knowledgeable comedian mentor.

Author: Bill Tremlon

Blogger | Life-long learner

Bill Tremlon