Did you know getting familiar with what it takes to be a stand-up comedian may just be the best thing you do to hone your acting skills? How so? Here’s what Backstage has to say.
First of all, stand-up comedy is dynamic, which is something not easily taught. Comedians have to stand, oftentimes, on a small stage in the middle of a crowded room and, by themselves, command its attention. Not only that, but they have to make a live audience laugh in the process. The ability to do so is, well, dynamic. It takes skill and a certain sense of confidence that is compelling – the kind of confidence casting directors are looking for when they interview actors for gigs.
Commanding the room and making people laugh also means the comedian has to have great timing. The timing of the hook, or punch line, is what will either make an audience chuckle or leave the room eerily silent. Writing and performing jokes with impeccable punch lines is a talent that helps comedians do well during auditions for other acting roles. They can deliver lines with a sort of infectious rhythm many cannot.
Comedians also understand right away when a joke isn’t going over well. Even in the middle of a set, they can gauge whether the audience will “get it” or not. They may prepare a “plan B” or back up set in case one doesn’t go overall, so they can bypass it the next time around. This means, stand-up comedians understand when there is tension in a room, and this is a great asset to have when they are auditioning. It helps them not only to deliver a performance that eases the tension but to have a solid understanding of how the audition went afterward.
Knowing the types of jokes that work with their look and those that don’t, means comedians have a sense of which characters they can pull off and which ones they can’t. This is great for choosing auditions that best align with their skillset and steering clear of those they can admit they’re not the best fit for. Knowing your type as an actor is a piece of information that needs to be referenced throughout your acting career.
If you have stand-up comedy on your resume and can prove you have these invaluable skills at an audition, you may just score the part! Casting directors are looking for actors who “just get it” and stand-up experience comes with a set of skills that give comedians a leg up.