LISTEN TO THIS …

I’m not funny, but I do teach comedy and improv. I also happen to perform a lot of comedy on stage and TV. But let’s back-up for a bit.

My acting training came from Atlantic Acting School’s Conservatory program. We studied the usual elements of acting; script analysis, voice, speech, performance technique, Shakespeare, improvisation, and comedy. From what people told me, I was “good”, but I never really knew why. My favorite class in school was Moment Lab, which included a variation of repetition techniques from Sanford Meissner. The focus of this class was putting your attention on your partner; noticing things about them, getting the attention off of yourself, and listening. When I got out of school, I wanted to continue learning about this concept of being in the moment. I went to a seminar that also reiterated that the key is to listen. What? Is it that simple? It couldn’t be. So I kept exploring through a variety of workshops that focused on that very task; listening.

While attending workshops and listening, I was also auditioning. I never auditioned for comedies, but I kept getting callbacks or even booking roles where I was the comic relief. It was eye opening after a while, since it kept happening. How could I explore this idea that I could be funny? Face my fears? There are always improv groups all over the city, so I decided to audition for one. Before I left the audition, I was offered a spot. After mustering up the courage to ask why I got cast, the director said “You’re funny, you’re in the moment, and focused on the other people working with you. It’s almost like your genuinely listening, so it is easy and funny to watch.” Light bulb! That is where my love of performing comedy started, grew, and continues to this day.

It all comes back to listening. The key to comedy – the key to acting is listening. I’m funny, but not because I try to be funny. Because I listen.

 

By Andy Schneeflock
(Actor/Improvisor/Director/Writer/Atlantic Faculty Member/Atlantic Alumnus)