Erica Dupuy, our lovely stand up comedian, told us of how she came to be where she is now and how she got into stand up (which she didn’t even want to do, because she thought she wasn’t funny). Afterwards she explained what stand up really is and what it consists of. As you might expect, stand up comedy is not improvised that much, it’s actually very much scripted and made to look like you’re telling it for the first time. We spoke about the 3 legged stool of stand up comedy again: material, persona and status. Material can be very simple to find, just something that has the consent of majority, but you have to choose your audience correctly. Persona is what defines the style of your comedy. If you’re shy and nervous maybe your comedy is mostly joking about yourself. If you’re good looking you will joke about how all the ladies come to you, etc. While status defines the relationship you have with the audience. If you’re high status you will treat your audience as inferiors and generally just mock them; If you’re medium status you will be the kind of person everyone relates to, and someone that they just want to be friends with; If you’re low status you will be sorry to be there on stage and not someone of a high status, that’s the kind of attitude.
We discussed why is it that there are less women in stand up comedy than men. Out of the top 20 best earning stand up comedians in UK only one (number 9) is a woman. Why is that? There were many reasons that were put out, some of them said it was because: women had a softer approach to humour, women are preconceived to be less funnier than men, there is (or used to be, supposedly it is now split in half) more men in the audience than women, and more. But all of this also comes with a positive women have a bigger chance of a job, because they are women and some places now require there to be at least one woman in the midst of all comedian men.
In the end you need to ask yourself “what do they do that i like?” or “why is it that this is funny?”. If you can answer these questions you will improve your chances of being a good stand up comedian because you will know what is funny. And you must remember that, just like Erica, you might want to be doing theatre now but in a few years when you are actually acting in it, that can still lead to stand up comedy!
After this session of learning about stand up comedy we had a few minutes to research and maybe polish up our presentation because we must present it on Friday and being prepared is a must. I think our group is ahead, we’ve already done the powerpoint, all we had to do was decide who was going to present which parts, when and how.
At the end of the day Hannah showed us a few ways that you can make someone look like they are weightless. First you must start with trust exercises like the push hands, lifting exercise, jet pack lifting or walking on the wall. After you have their trust, you just need to direct them on what you want to do when you are flying or whatever it is you’re doing. As you feel safe and free the other actors who are holding you up disappear through the smooth motions and with a light cast only on the person flying while everyone else wears black. I’ve learned how to do those, but I would need a lot of practise to be able to pull something like that off.
We then saw some videos on some specific jobs in the acting industry. The first one about this director, Rufus Dorris. He knew he wanted directing after he was forced to do it. In other words you might end up liking or even loving something you thought you’d never do. Charlotte Bevon, a casting director, says that she’s wanted to be in the industry since she was little and what she did was watch every play possible. Now, her job is to cast people into shows and what she does to get knowledge of the people is watch as many plays as possible (just like she did as a child), observe the actors, not just the main ones but also the background characters, because they might fit in just the way you want them to in your play. And obviously you must be quite sensitive in this job. A scenic artist who started as a painter! A costume designer who must always be prepared for the unforeseen. So many job positions! I think I could go for a stand up comedian, actor or voice actor. Not much variation for me for now, and I don’t really think it will change much.