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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Free/Koha Workshops

Learn the basics of joke-writing and stand-up comedy performance. I’ll show you techniques for generating ideas and getting those ideas onstage, as well as how to avoid many common mistakes. Free/Koha!

Wellington Workshop

Cavern Club, 22 Allen St. Te Aro
4 June, 7:00pm
Sign up here


Full Course

Wellington Classes starting in June!

  • 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.

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


Wellington June Sessions ($300):
Tuesdays (Te Aro)

Class 1: 11 June
Class 2: 18 June
Class 3: 25 June
Class 4: 2 July
Graduation show: 5 July, 8:00pm

One-on-one writing sessions to be scheduled.

Sign up here

Wellington One-Off Workshops

Feedback Workshops
Saturday 6 April 2:00pm
Saturday 13 April 2:00pm
Saturday 3 May 2:00pm

For comics of any level of experience, newbies to vets. A one-time opportunity to run your set for a supportive crowd and get some constructive feedback. We'll start with some easy suggestions for how to improve your game and delivery, then we'll run a few sets and find ways to make your set stronger, better, and funnier. $20 suggested koha for performers, anything koha for audience/observers. Sign up here

Comedy Writing Bootcamp

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

MC Skills and Crowd-work Workshop

Learn how to host a comedy or variety show—engage a crowd, run a show, work the crowd, and manage hecklers.

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

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.

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.

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 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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