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The Art of Film Acting by Jeremiah Comey

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15

The Comedy Audition

An old actor is lying on his death bed. Another actor says, “I guess it’s hard dying?” The dying actor answers weakly, “Not as hard as comedy.”

Edmund Gwenn

Comedy is like skydiving. You fling yourself out there all alone into free fall, and you hope you said the right thing just before you jumped, because only laughter can open your parachute. Comedy ends in either laughter or death.

In a drama, relating to the other actor creates an unspoken subtext that is what you really feel and mean regardless of what the dialogue says. Subtext rides beneath the dialogue. In contrast, comedy is stated overtly and rides on the surface of the dialogue along with the actions and reactions of the characters. Comedy’s important elements ...

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