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Top 10 Tips On How To Deliver A Comedy Role
Find your funny.
Being aware of what makes up your personal "funny"—finding the comedy in yourself and your everyday life—is the first step to becoming a successful comedy actor. Your sense of humor is your innate ability to be funny. Also remember that comedy comes from drama, and drama comes from pain. Thus, comedy comes from pain. Are you able to draw humor from your pain? Once you've found your funny, you need to identify where your comedic strengths lie.
Identify your comedy character.
Is your sense of humor dry and sarcastic? Silly and lighthearted? Shameless and quirky? Knowing your comedic qualities will help you identify your comedy character. Each character has its own comedic attributes, and inevitably you'll find one with which you'll experience a natural, organic merge. Focusing on your comedy character will help you find your all-important comedic niche.
Explore your comedy.
To be a successful comedy actor, you have to study the art form, and the best way to do that is in class. In comedy class, not only will you learn how to properly execute comedic technique; you'll also get an opportunity to hone this new, powerful career tool: your comedy character. You'll get to work that character in various scenes, exploring its history, motivations, actions, and comedic strengths. You'll get to interact with other characters and possibly explore new secondary characters for yourself.
Stick to the script.
Comedy is all about rhythm, timing, and pace, and it's your job as a comedic actor to identify those things in each and every piece of scripted comedy you perform. Comedy, when done right, is like a good song. Don't add or drop words or attach handles to the beginnings of sentences. Just simply stick to the script.
Comedy is made up of two things: desperation and the unpredictable. These themes are found in story lines, jokes, and characters. And keep in mind that comedy consists of positive and negative forces that work against each other to create the humor in the script, especially in the dialogue. Breaking down comedy scripts will help you identify classic jokes.
As you develop your character and learn your comedic technique, you'll also start to examine more-subtle but important tools for your comedy, especially in the script itself. You need to identify the operative word, callback jokes,the hard consonants ,used by the writer to maximize the effect of comedic dialogue, and the funny words used to enhance the punch line. Some writers will clue you in to important words by underlining, italicizing, or bolding them, but often that discovery will be up to you.
"Dying is easy; comedy is hard." It's an old adage, but so true. Commitment,as a comedy actor, you need to be 100 percent committed to the dialogue, physical actions, jokes, technique, and especially the characters. It takes just as much commitment to do comedy as it does to do drama, perhaps even more. Think of all the comedy greats and how willing they were to "go there" for their comedy. There is no shame, no embarrassment, and definitely no faking it when it comes to comedy. You and your character need to believe in everything you're doing and commit to it wholeheartedly.
One of the biggest things that can kill a comedic scene is unscripted movement from an actor. That includes adjusting your clothes, scratching your nose, stretching your neck, waving your arms, tapping your thigh, rolling your eyes, and so on. Unless movement is specified in the stage directions, you should stay still, as any extra movement will distract from the comedic rhythm of the piece. As a comedic actor it's your responsibility to be aware of your space and control your actions so you don't pull focus. Along the same lines, you must also learn when to hold for laughs, keeping still and holding your intention while the audience laughs and waiting for the laughter to die down before continuing with your dialogue.
When performing comedy, you have to enjoy what you're doing. You need to do your homework, find your character, perfect your technique, commit to the text, then go into class, an audition, or a job and have fun. Take some risks. Be confident and bring on the funny!