Thursday, October 16, 2008

ACTING CLASS, Part 2 by Gregg Gethard

Things just seem to happen to Gregg Gethard. After telling a few stories at comedy shows in New York City, he created his own monthly show in Philly, BEDTIME STORIES, to tell a few more. Over the past year and a half the show has grown in audience and features some of the best comics in the city.

Here, Gregg continues his eight-part series on an acting class he took in Montclair, New Jersey. [Read Part 1]


We had some defectors. Up to half the class did not show up, including The Cute Girl. This means I am now easily the best looking person in class.

Voice Box Girl, The Hemaphroditic German, The Overly Competitive Hindu, Class Junkie and at least one Interchangeable Housewife showed up. A new woman -- about 35 with Sagging Boobs and, no doubt, ownership of every Tori Amos album – made her debut. Joining her was a large Mexican guy wearing a shirt with no less than seven buttons left open. He dripped sexual charisma. I immediately dubbed him the Latino Bohunk.

The Overly Competitive Hindu walked into class and tripped over an extension chord and fell on his face. He got up and said “I was working on that all week.” Someone watches Who’s Line Is It Anyway! He also added he was impersonating Buster Keaton or, “Johnny Depp pretending to be Buster Keaton.” No wonder the local Blockbuster didn’t have a copy of Benny and Joon.

We began by doing warm-up routines that I usually associate with pony-tailed white guys in their 50’s. We looked into walls and described what we saw, laying on the ground and “relaxing” in a room with complete strangers.

Bob then told us we had to “envision a glow capturing your body, limb by limb, allowing us to reach a state of ultimate relaxation.” While Bob was busy hypnotizing me, I was thinking about how all of this sounded a little bit like Heaven’s Gate. And then I started thinking about how cool it would be if I really WAS trapped in a glowing cage of some sort, like from something in a bad 70’s sci-fi flick. So then I started giggling again and everyone was staring me down.

Next, we stood in a circle. Bob told us the directions: two of us would stand in the middle of the circle and we would take alternating terms describing each other, slowly expanding the depth and breadth of our commentary. He gave an example, telling Voice Box Girl she was wearing glasses. Voice Box Girl then had to repeat what Bob said and then come up with a retort of her own. She told Bob he was very slender.

I went third, pairing me with The Overly Competitive Hindu. He told me I was wearing black sneakers. I repeated that and responded by telling him he had haunting eyes. He then responded my pants were baggy. I then told him he had wispy chest hair.

After a few minutes, he was replaced with an Interchangeable Housewife, clad in a day-glo fanny pack this week. She sprinted up to the middle of the circle. Immediately, she commented on something she noticed about my appearance.

“You have two verrry cute earlobes.”

I then said something generic about her hair.

“You have very well-proportioned eyes,” she said.

For the following week, I was supposed to think of something I do when alone so the class can start to “block” it for a performance. I’m tempted to show the class what I do when I’m actually alone, which is download graphic Internet porn.

Class ended this week with Bob confiding something. Apparently, he’s the worst actor in the history of ever.

He asked the class if anyone came to the theater on Saturday to see his performance in The Crucible. But no one did. He then explained what happened. When he was on stage, he started to “incoherently babble” his lines and started breathing heavy, like he was having a heart attack. He then went off-stage and fell to the ground. The show was immediately stopped while he was rushed to the hospital.

Someone asked him.

“Oh, it was just a panic attack,” he said. “I get them whenever I perform.”


Next week, Bob reveals the truth about improv comedy while also introducing us into the magical world of miming.


Brendan Kennedy said...

hahaha to “Oh, it was just a panic attack,” he said. “I get them whenever I perform.”

Anonymous said...

This is how the whole Acting Class piece started --

I told my friends Katie and Francie that I was taking this class. Then, after the first one I e-mailed them about it from work. They enjoyed the e-mail.

Then I e-mailed them the second one and the part about the acting teacher actually being physically unable to act and they started passing it around. I started e-mailing them to other people, too.

I ended up having a mailing list of like 50 people or so who I sent these out to every week. They got passed around a decent amount and at one point someone forwarded them to me without knowing I was writing them.

I brought a notebook with me acting like I was taking notes. Instead, I was obviously writing down everything that was said and done.

Just wait for the next bunch of installments. It gets waaaay more insane than Bob's repeated social anxiety panic attacks during his performances. That's just the tip of the iceberg.

I swear, absolutely none of this has been made up or exaggerated. This took me no work except to record everything that was going on at the time.


Pruneface said...

Next time I trip, I will stand up and say "Did that look realistic?"