by Jerry Corley – Founder of The Stand Up Comedy Clinic
For all the negatives I see in Charlie Sheen’s current behavior and what sometimes just seems like a drug-induced rant, the important thing to consider is that he’s doing something—anything to keep busy. His television show, ‘Two and a Half Men’ is on hiatus and he, (according to the network’s latest information), is no longer a part of it. That would take most actors and put them into a funk. But Charlie Sheen took the disagreement that got him fired and created a live show (if you want to call it that), and took it on the road for a 20-city tour. That’s a good thing. I could say he should’ve hired some writers to really pump it up and make it funny, but after he dissed all the writers on Two and a Half Men, there’s probably fewer writers who are willing to jump up and write for him. Hell, I’ll do it! I’ll put some words into his mouth and make him funny.
But I digress. My point is that Charlie went out and did something. He stayed creative.
He’s going to learn A LOT from this tour. First, he’ll learn that you can’t just go up there and try to be funny. It doesn’t work. Just ask Jersey Shores’ “Situation.” When he tried to be funny on Donald Trump’s roast, he nearly got booed off. You need structure. You need material. Comedy is only comedy when people laugh and people laugh when there’s irony, incongruity or surprise. It’s a very simple concept.
So my point is—really this time!—that when you are an artist, (a writer, comedian, painter, actor, musician, etc.), and there seems to be nothing going on for you…get out and do something. Figure out a way to write, tell jokes, paint, act or play music! It creates energy around you, it makes you seem busy. It keeps your creativity flowing and you get better at what you do!
A couple of students in my comedy class that I teach in Burbank are screenwriters and directors. They’ve been studying comedy for various reasons. One of them, David Conolly, was in a slow point in his directing career, so his wife got him involved in my class—probably to get him out of the house!
As a result of being in my class, he’s stayed busy. His comedy act is taking off, he’s kept people notified via social networking and literally hundreds of people are aware that he’s doing stand up. As a result, he’s gotten standup comedy gigs and other acting entertainment-related opportunities have also come his way. He’s got a really big project in the works now, but that’s something I’ll only mention when it is signed, sealed and delivered.
Another student, Robert Narholz, is a screenwriter/director. He came to the class to explore comedy structure, (as his next writing project is going to be a romantic comedy.) He’s learned a ton and he’s gone from being one of the most serious people I’ve ever met to a guy with a very interesting and witty personality. He’s still serious, but seriously funny too!
These two ‘comedians’ wanted to continue “doing something, ” so they decided to explore producing online content in the form of a sketch show. They’ve done an amazing job with this project and I’m proud to share it with everyone I know—which is about 6 of you now. (Isn’t it exciting? My fan base has doubled since my last posting!)
Online content is still very popular. Industry is still looking for good ideas and I think these guys have hit that mark with their new sketch show, “Hindsight News!” It comes at you in short, 6-8 minute episodes that resemble “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” It’s quick, it moves and it’s funny.
How might this benefit them professionally? First: they’re putting out content. They are writing. They are acting. They are utilizing their skills to stay busy. They are also using other actors, such as cast members Annie Girard and Brian Zuanich. They have a casting calls for guest actors, thus giving other actors something to do too. As a result they are building more relationships, further developing their network of people and through the internet they are reaching more people than they ever thought possible.
As a result, just like Charlie Sheen, they too, are “Winning.”
You can also check out “Hindsight News!” at http://www.hindsightnews.com.