New Zealand Comedy School
New Zealand's only complete course in comedy

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 want 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

Free Workshop!

Wellington Free Workshop
4 June, 7:00pm
Cavern Club, 22 Allen St. Te Aro

Wellington Free Workshop
6 August, 7:00pm
Cavern Club, 22 Allen St. Te Aro

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 pitfalls. Free. (Koha/gold coin for class handouts)

Sign up here


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Neil’s comedy site:


Amazing Alumni

Alumni include a delightfully diverse collection of pro comics and enthusiastic amateurs—not to mention many Raw Comedy Quest finalists. Come see them in the NZ International Comedy Fest!

Course Offerings

Full Course

Wellington Classes starting in June:
(Auckland and elsewhere classes TBA)

  • 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 material further. By the time of your graduation showcase, you will have a funny, original, 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)

Free intro class: 4 June
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.

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

Free intro class: 6 August
Class 1:
13 August
Class 2: 20 August
Class 3: 27 August
Class 4: 3 September
Graduation show: 6 September, 8:00pm

One-on-one writing sessions to be scheduled.

Sign up here

Other Course offerings

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.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 permanent home. 

Since then, Neil has made a big impact on the New Zealand comedy circuit. He has toured up and down the country and all over the world, 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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