Monthly Archives: November 2007

It’s comedy, seriously. Part 2.

Comedy is truth.

I learned this during an RtI rehearsal as I played a scene with LA.  Marc gave us post-scene notes and said something to the effect of: “One of my teachers told me that one way to make something funny is to take something real, and heighten it.” It’s a simple formula. Simple and genius.

I suppose you can break this theory into two portions: relatability and well… heightening.  Relatability is important because if you don’t relate to your audience, if you don’t strike a chord, if you don’t make something inside them go “Aha!” then your story won’t get through.  No catharsis.  It’s interesting, because despite the fact that Comedic truth can be evoked in one of a million ways, sometimes the mark is missed.

I think, though, that heightening is probably the real tricky part.  Most people know how to be true.  It’s something innate.  The danger, however, lies in attempting to take that truth and make it funny through hyperbole; hyperbole in action, emotion, situation, etc.  But you’ve got to strike a balance. Too much truth, and you’ve shifted into the dramatic.  Too little, and it runs the danger of becoming nonsense.  It becomes unrelatable. I think that the closer you can ride this line between hyperbole and nonsense, the funnier you’ll be.  For most of us ordinary people, though, it’s a sense that must be developed.

Then again, what do I know?  I just typing because I’m scared of thinking right now.

Again, I’ve let my thoughts lead me past the point of “holy fuck it’s late.


Addendum.

Screw you, life.  You’re not gonna make me back down.  Not this year.  I will kick your ass.

Maybe you’ll win a battle here and there.  Maybe you’ll make me lose it for a day.  But when the sun rises, I’ll be on top again.

As long as there is someone up there watching out for me… I will persevere.

It’s comedy, seriously.

So here I sit, languishing in the nascent 27th year of my existence.

On the way home tonight, I could think of only one thing: Comedy.

Ok, I lied.  I was thinking about something else too.  But that’s another story for another time.

Anyway, with the Sketch Comedy show only a week a way, I can’t help but think about the comedy of sketch and the very nature of comedy in general.  Now, I don’t claim to understand why things are funny.  I can’t break it down into juxtaposition vs. conflict vs. color vs. satire vs. slapstick.  I lack the patience and mental capacity to do so.  I believe, though, that I am starting to understand what works.

Prepare thyselves for a music analogy.

I think live sketch is like a symphony orchestra performance. Just like musicians, actors have their “sheet music.” The words of a line are like the notes in a measure or phrase. I suppose the stage directions/actions would equate to expression marks. (whispered)=pianissimo or (as lights go down)=ritardando or whatever.  Just like the musicians in an orchestra, the individual actors play a part of a larger whole. If one small part of that larger whole makes a mistake, it detracts from the whole. Actors, however, have the disadvantage of not having timing/rhythm notated on their scripts. It’s pretty much arbitrary.  Thus, actors have the responsibility of having to feel the cadence/flow of the scene and must adjust their delivery accordingly. Alternatively, they can rely on the director sidecoach.  However, during a performance, said director won’t be there with a baton telling you the scene’s in 4/4, come in on 3. Nevertheless, the actor has to know when to deliver their line with the correct tone and diction to make a scene work.  I want to emphasize that an actor has to know WHEN simply because timing is everything.

Timing is everything.

In comedy, it seems to matter the most.  Moreso than in other areas of theatre.  If you miss a beat in a dramatic piece, it’s still salvageable. Perhaps you could attribute it to moment of pensive thought or play it off as a character’s internal monlogue.  It’ll still come through believable.  However, when you miss the timing on a joke or laugh line.  It’s gone.  Totally.  Inexplicably.  Forever. Now, I don’t know why this is.  Maybe it’s due to the nature of human short term memory.  Who knows?

Going back to the orchestra analogy; timing is important.  Can you imagine if the brass section came in half a beat early during the Imperial March?  Disaster. It’s the same in a comedy piece.  The comedy impact is lost.

Comedy needs polish.

Also, improvisers are special because we can do it on the fly.  Haha.

Ok screw it, I’m going to sleep.  I’ll finish this never.

Projekt NewSpeak presents The Sketch Comedy Show!!

Go damn it.  Don’t make me bite you.

Have at thee, knave…

So, last week, I was rummaging through the garage in an effort to find my black suit, which has been AWOL since I moved out of Newport North 2 years ago.

Unfortunately, after a couple hours of searching, the black suit remained lost.  I did, however stumble upon a consolation prize of epic proportions. Feast thine eyes, 80s nerds:

I should turn this into one of those games where you indentify what series each toy is from.


Also, in the same box, the reading materials of my childhood.


In other news, I’m part of Projekt NewSpeak’s Sketch Comedy cast and we’re having a sketch comedy show on December 1st, 2007, 6pm at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood!

Please, please come watch.  It’ll be a hoot, I swear it. You can buy tix online at ProjektNewSpeak.com or through me directly.

And there’s an afterparty!!!