New Zealand Comedy School

NZ Comedy school

Learn the

Art of

Stand-Up Comedy


You're funny. Get on stage.

Have you always wanted to try stand-up comedy but don’t know where to start?
Do you perform comedy and would like to improve your skills?

Comedian, writer, and lifelong teacher Neil Thornton brings you New Zealand's only comprehensive stand-up comedy course.

In this course, you will learn to:

·      Find comedic ideas and explore them creatively

·      Write jokes and structure an act

·      Improve your skills as a performer and presenter

·      Overcome stage-fright

·      Develop your comedic persona



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Full Courses:

7 October (Sundays)

27 November (Tuesdays)

Class Offerings

Full Course

Classes starting soon!
Fill out the contact form below to sign up:

  • Four 2-hour sessions of writing, performance, feedback, and exercises

  • Two one-on-one writing sessions with Neil

  • A prime-time spot in a comedy showcase with a professional MC

  • A high-definition video of your graduation performance to share with friends

In the group classes, we’ll develop your material and performance skills. In two private one-on-one writing sessions, we’ll polish your set further. By the time of your graduation showcase, you will have a funny and well-rehearsed routine ready to impress any audience.

At your graduation, you’ll have a prime-time spot in a comedy show with a professional MC. This is a great time to invite your friends and family to show off your skills. We will also make a high-quality video of your performance that you can take with you or post to your socials.

See course schedules to the right. Fill out the contact form below or email me for more info.


The October Sessions:

Class 1: 7 October
Class 2: 14 October
Class 3: 21 October
Class 4: 28 October
Graduation show: 3 November, 8:00pm

Two one-on-one writing sessions to be scheduled.

The December Sessions:

Class 1: 27 November
Class 2: 4 December
Class 3: 11 December
Class 4: 18 December
Graduation Show: 20 December, 8:00pm

All Classes at Cavern Club, Wellington

Free Workshop!

Learn the basics of joke-writing and stand-up comedy performance in one 2-hour workshop.

Next free workshop:
27 September, 7:00pm
Cavern Club

You'll learn proven techniques for generating ideas and getting those ideas onstage, as well as how to avoid many common mistakes up-and-coming comedians make.

Fill out the contact form below or email me for more info.


One-On-One sessions

Want to spend some time punching up your material? Need a brainstorming session? Do you have a performance video you'd like to review?  Neil is available for private one-on-one writing and feedback sessions. Contact him for rates!

One-off Workshops

Comedy Writing Bootcamp
Tuesday 18 Sept 7:00pm.
Koha ($20 suggested)

Bring a notebook and a pen and earn a well-deserved hand-cram as Neil runs you through exercises to unleash your creativity, generate new material, explore themes, and begin to craft that matrerial into jokes. Sign up here

MC Skills and Crowd-work Workshop
Tuesday 25 Sept 7:00pm

Learn how to host a comedy or variety show—how to engage a crowd, run a show, do funny crowd-work, and manage hecklers. Featuring Jerome Chandrahasen, winner best comedian and best MC many years running in the Wellington Comedy Awards. Sign up here

Other Course oFferings

Neil is an accomplished teacher of writing, presentations, and pedagogy (See full bio). He is available to teach the following courses:

- Humorous Presentations
- Professional Presentations
- Creativity Bootcamp
- Technical Writing
- Storytelling
- Creative Nonfiction Writing


The thoughtful, respectful feedback paired with Neil’s infectious energy brought out the best in everyone’s comedy. Would highly recommend to anyone who has ever thought of trying stand up.
— Ashleigh Hume

About Neil Thornton

In addition to his career as a stand-up comedian, Neil Thornton has been teaching for more than 25 years. He earned his BA in English from Carnegie Mellon University and his MFA in writing from the University of New Orleans.

He published fiction and essays in several literary journals and magazines and taught college English for 9 years, running classes in Writing, Composition, Literature, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Technical Writing, and Managerial Communication. Neil started teaching SAT classes in 1991 while in college and learned to love beating test-writers at their own game. He’s coached thousands of students though the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and SAT, and trained instructors all over the United States.

After moving to New York City in 2007, Neil became a working stand-up comic, performing everywhere from major comedy clubs to seedy dive bars in Washington D.C., Provincetown, Fire Island, and the Poconos. More recently, what was supposed to be a six-month adventure in New Zealand has turned into a semi-permanent home. 

Since then, Neil has made a big impact on the New Zealand comedy circuit. He has toured up and down the country, entertaining audiences with his battles of understanding Kiwi culture and finding his own identity. He's a regular at The Classic in Auckland, and appeared in the TV3 comedy special "After Hours."

Neil now teaches online from Wellington, New Zealand, where he continues to write, perform standup, and raise two giant Alaskan Malamutes.

“Thornton is just a master of the craft of comedy – the room is totally unified and he knows how to follow our responses.” - Theatreview

"A bold performer with intelligent material. Constantly amusing and thought-provoking." -



Find out More!

Sign up for any of the workshops. Ask me questions. Join my mailing list!

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