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  • Why the Actor’s Process Kills Comedy (and What to Do About It)

    I open my speaking engagements with a knock-knock joke I’ve written for actors. “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Method actor.” “Method actor who?” And then I pause as long as it takes for the actors in the audience to get the joke.
    In other words, as wonderful as it is, “the actor’s process” wasn’t designed for comedy. Not only wasn’t it designed for comedy, it’s a pretty safe bet “the actor’s process” will kill any chance the audience will laugh even once during a scene. Why? Because “the actor’s process” is designed to make the audience think that something real is happening and to care about it and feel for it, and so they won’t laugh. Why would they? They’re not monsters.
    What does make an audience laugh? “Comic context,” the most important aspect to creating comedy. Comic context is what makes an audience want to laugh all through the scene, even if they only end up laughing once. The actor’s process, on the other hand, creates “dramatic context,” which communicates to an audience that its watching a drama, which makes the audience want to feel.

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