PRODUCT REVIEW

Steve Martin MasterClass Review: Is it Worth it?

Megan Morreale
November 5, 2021

Steve Martin MasterClass review synopsis

What you’ll learn: Learn actionable tips on the art of performance, stand-up comedy, how to craft jokes, and a whole lot more.

How long does the Steve Martin MasterClass take?: 25 lessons totaling 282 minutes, or about 4.5 hours

Similar courses: Judd Apatow, Aaron Sorkin, Nancy Cartwright, Shonda Rhimes

Do I recommend Steve Martin’s MasterClass? Yes, Steve Martin’s MasterClass is worth the watch for anyone interested in comedy, and even for those who might just be interested in the class for its entertainment value (there are a lot of stand-up clips in this one!)

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There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you make someone laugh. Even as someone who isn’t an aspiring comedian, learning more about how to entertain those around me seemed like a worthwhile endeavor.

I admittedly do like comedy a bit more than the average joe — my TikTok ‘For You Page’ is mostly stand-up and lip-syncs —- which is why the Steve Martin MasterClass on comedy caught my eye.

Famous for starring in popular comedy films like The Jerk, Little Shop of Horrors, and Father of the Bride, there’s no question about whether or not Steve Martin’s a master of comedy, but I wasn’t totally sure if I would care for an intense deep dive into the craft.

I was happily proven wrong — Steve Martin’s MasterClass is educational and entertaining. It’s packed with stand-up comedy clips and insights on how to think about your audience.

“If you’re even around a laugh, it’s also reflecting on you.”

Lesson 22, Steve’s Comedic Inspirations

In this review, we’ll break down exactly what the Steve Martin MasterClass has to offer, including the cost, curriculum, and final verdict on whether or not you should take it too.

Disclosure: In the interest of full transparency, Codeless uses affiliate links in our MasterClass reviews to cover our site’s costs

Our Verdict

This MasterClass is worth it for entertainment value, even if you don’t want to learn more about how to become a comedian. If you do want to become a comedian, it’s a great primer to gain confidence and get started.

Steve Martin MasterClass Become a great comedian

$15 /month
PROS
  • You get to learn from a real master of comedy
  • Martin’s course is actionable and informative, with many resources
  • You get to hear his feedback to live students
CONS
  • Martin definitely has a particular style of comedy, and his insights are focused on his style
  • His insights into a comedian’s early career are from the 60s and 70s and may be a bit outdated
  • Sometimes his tips are contradictory

A few frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Let’s answer some questions about the Steve Martin MasterClass.

Do I need a subscription to access this course?

Yes, you need to subscribe to MasterClass to unlock access to all of the MasterClass courses from well-known names such as Penn & Teller, Werner Herzog, Bobbi Brown and much more.

How long is the MasterClass?

Steve Martin’s MasterClass contains 25 video lessons, which take about 282 minutes or 4.5 hours to complete.

Does MasterClass have a cancellation policy?

You can cancel your subscription at any time. You can also request a refund from MasterClass within the first 30 days of your purchase.

Is the Steve Martin MasterClass worth it?

Yes, it’s worth it for both aspiring comedians who want to learn more from a true master and those who might be looking for something entertaining and educational to watch to replace their Netflix habit for the evening.

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About Steve Martin

You’ve probably seen Steve Martin on-screen in one of his popular films. He’s been in titles like:

  • The Jerk 
  • The Man with Two Brains 
  • All of Me 
  • Three Amigos! 
  • Roxanne
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles 
  • Father of the Bride
  • Cheaper by the Dozen 
  • The Pink Panther

By trade, Steve Martin is a comedian, writer, and producer who started out as a stand-up comedian before breaking into motion pictures, television, Broadway, and literature.

Over the course of his career, he’s earned five Grammy Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award. He was also awarded an Honorary Academy Award at the Academy’s 5th Annual Governors Awards.

Steve Martin has also received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the Kennedy Center Honors, and an AFI Life Achievement Award. Comedy Central ranked Steve Martin 6 on the list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comics in 2004.

How much does Steve Martin’s MasterClass cost?

You won’t be able to purchase Steve Martin’s MasterClass as a stand-alone purchase. You’ll need to purchase a MasterClass subscription to unlock access to this course and all other quality courses. You can purchase a subscription through three plans: Standard, Plus, and Premium.

steve martin masterclass cost pricing
Steve Martin MasterClass cost

Billed annually at $15 per month, the Standard Plan is the cheapest option. It unlocks all MasterClass courses, which you can watch from a single device. Each class comes with a workbook and members-only community forum.

The Plus Plan is billed annually at $20 per month. It includes access to all courses and increases your device count to two. With this plan, you can also download videos of your classes for offline viewing on iOS devices.

The Premium Plan is billed annually at $23 per month, and it includes access to all courses from six devices, as well as the ability to download videos on iOS devices.

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What is included in the Steve Martin MasterClass?

Runtime: 282 minutes or about 4.5 hours

Course Value: 4.5/5

Lessons: 25 lessons

Supplementary materials: Workbook, two example scripts, and access to the MasterClass community hub

Supplementary workbook

When you subscribe to MasterClass, you get access to a workbook to accompany every course. These typically include lesson summaries, exercises to try on your own time, or visual guides to follow along while you watch.

Steve Martin’s workbook consists of lesson summaries and a place to take notes while you watch his videos.

In order for students to take a deep dive into their studies, Martin also includes the Roxanne script, which is a secure and watermarked document. Here’s a sample of what it looks like:

steve martin masterclass roxanne script
Steve Martin script for Roxanne

Students also get the script for Meteor Shower to study at their own leisure or have at their side during the student-led MasterClass lessons in the course.

steve martin masterclass meteor shower script
Steve Martin script for Meteor Shower

The MasterClass Hub

In addition to the workbook, every course comes with a MasterClass community hub where students can interact with one another in a forum. Here’s what the hub looks like for Steve Martin’s class:

steve martin masterclass community hub
Steve Martin MasterClass Community Hub

People in this forum discuss topics like personas, creating characters, and much more. Here’s an example of a thread for students that are just getting started with the course:

steve martin masterclass community hub sample
Steve Martin MasterClass Community Hub Sample

A complete breakdown of the Steve Martin MasterClass curriculum

Steve Martin’s MasterClass on comedy covers how to get started in the profession, tips for writing jokes and scripts, and insights into how to incorporate the needs of an audience into the mix.

Curriculum:

  1. Introduction
  2. Getting Started in Comedy
  3. Gathering Material
  4. Finding Your Comedic Voice
  5. Developing a Comedic Persona
  6. Jokes and Bits
  7. Delivery
  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
  19. Editing
  20. Editing (cont’d)
  21. Writing Case Study: Meteor Shower
  22. Steve’s Comedic Inspirations
  23. Steve’s Journey
  24. Final Thoughts
  25. Bonus Case Study: Speeches
Steve Martin masterclass curriculum
Steve Martin MasterClass curriculum

Course summary:

Steve Martin’s MasterClass includes many lectures and snippets from stand-up shows throughout his career. There are also in-depth sessions with live students where he critiques their work and provides tips on how to improve.

The course kicks off with an introduction section on Steve as an instructor and an overview of his credentials from his point of view.

Image of Steve Martin talking in his MasterClass
Steve Martin MasterClass Instructor

Then, Martin covers how to start a career when you have absolutely no experience or talent (yet), where to find inspiration, and how to define topics that will sit well with an audience on stage.

The following lessons cover delivery — meaning not what you say but rather how you say it. This includes how to incorporate physical comedy in your delivery, how to emphasize your tone of voice, and ultimately how to make an act stageworthy.

 Image of Steve Martin working with young comedians
Steve Martin teaching

Then, Martin sits down with a group of young, aspiring comedians to work with them on their own scripts or jokes. He provides tips on how to heighten comedy and revises one comedian’s first-ever stand-up bit.

The lessons that follow cover opening and closing acts, how far to take vulgar jokes or those that aren’t politically correct, and how to find opportunities to practice, which is critical to developing your skills.

He also discusses how to recover from a bad show or how to handle failures, which are inevitable, rivalries, and networking with other comedians.

Then, he talks about writing comedy for movie scripts or other types of production beyond stand-up by sharing his own journey. This includes how he created some of his most memorable characters as an actor, topics on writer’s block, and case studies that dive into particular movies.

 Image of Steve Martin acting
Steve Martin acting

Throughout Martin’s lessons on writing for movies and television shows, he talks about where he found inspiration for some of his funniest scenes, how he edited his own writing throughout the process, and why writers should always focus on real life for inspiration as opposed to imagination.

He also uses his play Meteor Shower as a teaching tool in workshops to explain efficient writing for the screen. When analyzing his own script, students learn about how to observe the work of other comedians for their own success.

Finally, Martin concludes his course by offering tips on writing and delivering speeches, and he gives some parting words of advice and inspiration for students. His MasterClass also features exclusive footage of a tribute to Tom Hanks at the Museum of Modern Art for students to dissect in their own studies.

What I learned

Martin’s course is valuable for both students of comedy and those who are just interested in being a little more fun at their next dinner party.

Steve Martin taught me lessons in how to interact with an audience, use my body to deliver comedy, and much more.

4 takeaways from this MasterClass

1. You need an endless supply of content

In Martin’s own words, “things have changed since ‘the vaudeville days.’” Nowadays, you need an endless supply of content to keep audiences engaged.

2. Use body and speech to hold an audience’s attention

The best way to surprise an audience is to use your body and words together to deliver a joke — make faces, be expressive, and use your entire person to make an audience laugh.

3. Deliver jokes with good timing and tempo

When you’re on stage, wait until the audience stops laughing before making your next joke. Audiences need a deep laugh — and then they need to recover, kind of like a workout where you need to rest in between sets.

4. Use physical comedy in your delivery

This is a bit different from the takeaway on using your body to deliver a joke. Think of someone slipping on a banana peel — you don’t even need words to make that joke funny.

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Memorable quotes from this MasterClass

“The difference between a good joke and a great joke is really nothing. It varies from night to night.”

Lesson 7, Delivery

“By the time 1950 came around, I was 5, and in the early 50s, we got a television. Television changed everything because, as a kid, there was no access to media at all. When the television came in, they showed “The Little Rascals,” which I thought were hilarious, but more importantly, Laurel and Hardy. They were comedy geniuses.”

Lesson 22, Steve’s Comedic Inspirations

“Nothing in my house as a child contributed to my comedy. My house was not an artistic household at all. I got lucky.”

Lesson 23, Steve’s Journey

“I always picture someone in a club at the lowest ebb of their career kind of fighting against depression and the response that isn’t there, and the people talking, and the crashing glasses. I have such a deep respect for comedians. I empathize with them.”

 Lesson 24, Final Thoughts

Steve Martin MasterClass pros and cons

If you’re still on the fence as to whether or not to take this course, here are the pros and cons you should consider.

steve martin masterclass pros and cons
Steven Martin MasterClass pros and cons

Pros

  • You get to learn from a real master of comedy
  • Martin’s course is actionable and informative, with many resources
  • You get to hear his feedback to live students

Cons

  • Martin definitely has a particular style of comedy, and his insights are focused on his style
  • His insights into a comedian’s early career are from the 60s and 70s and may be a bit outdated
  • Sometimes his tips are contradictory

Do I recommend this MasterClass?

Yes, I think this class is worth it for entertainment value, even if you don’t want to learn more about how to become a comedian. If you do want to become a comedian, it’s a great primer to gain confidence and get started.

Get Steve Martin’s MasterClass