Once upon a time, when people talked about routine, they were talking about the humdrumness of their lives. But that was before there were more than 300 comedy clubs in the U.S.. That was before housewives and dentists were getting up on stages all across the country, trying out their routine on amateur nights everywhere.

Half of America these days, it seems, is trying to be funny - if not in front of a microphone, at least in front of their friends.But what if you're one of those people who can never really pull off a joke? One of those people who gets to the punch line and can't remember it. Or gets through the punch line and nobody laughs.

If you're among the humor-impaired, or are actually a funny person who would like to be even funnier, the University of Utah's Division of Continuing Education has a class for you.

"Punchline Workshop: Developing Comedy Material" is one of DCE's new short courses, a few hours of learning that busy Salt Lakers can squeeze into a lunch hour or an evening or two.

Punchline, a six-hour class, will be offered Jan. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m., Jan. 21 from 3 to 5 p.m., and Jan. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. The class will be held in room 112, Behavioral Science building, on the U. of U. campus.

"This class is for everyone," explains instructor Robert Antrim - "for people who can already do comedy and people who can't tell a joke."

Antrim, who has a Ph.D. in playwriting from the U., teaches theater for DCE, including a class in comedy scriptwriting.

The Punchline Workshop will offer tips on timing and delivery, help students find the humor in everyday situations, and work on character development.

"There will be no egos on the line here," assures Antrim. "Even if you mess up a joke you can learn to make a joke about that. Like Johnny Carson does."

For more information or to register, contact DCE at 581-6483.