I just wanted to ask your opinion on whether a stand up should take any acting classes. Did you take any when you were starting out? If so, did you take more than just a beginner's course, and what was your takeaway from them?
I never took an acting class (cue the "no duh" responses). Any standup out there who has taken acting classes want to chime in? Leave a comment. I'd be curious to know if a certain type of acting class (stage? film/tv?) or instructor is better than others for comedians.
I have taken a commercial acting class and I haven't consciously applied it to my standup but one interesting tip they gave was to speak to a specific person. Commercial acting is unique in that you're often instructed to look into the camera. Which I think is almost exactly the same as looking at a standup audience. Our instructor told us to read the ad copy as if we were having a conversation with a specific person in our lives. This removed a huge block for me during the class because I stopped "acting" and started "talking" to the camera. I think technique is pretty helpful in comedy too, look at audience, not just a glance, look in someone's eyes, make a connection and talk as you would to a human being.
I went to the Tisch School at NYU for acting. And I will say it has helped tremendously with my stand up. I tend to do a lot of act outs and if you watch some of the greats they commit so hard to some of their act outs that sometimes it feels like it transcends the joke or the punchline. Baron Vaughn is a good example of a contemporary comedian who has some amazing act outs. He is a trained actor btw. But then you have someone like Rory Scovel who had no formal acting training, yet he commits so hard to some of the act outs and improvisations he does.
Also I recently moved to LA and met with a manager out here, and she asked me if I had ever taken any acting classes and i told her i actually when to theatre school, then she said, "well you have half the battle won then." So i think it's a plus for agents or managers out here
I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to this. Acting is not for everyone. I personally felt very lame in school cause i never knew if i was good at it which is why i loved doing stand up so much. The results were immediate.
In any case, acting made my stand up stronger, and stand up made my acting more genuine.
I think if a comedian ever wants to do some acting in the future, it can't hurt.
Does improv count?
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