Why Not Use Words?

There is something really odd about a character that doesn’t talk. Silence holds a unique tension. Stillness is the same. They create a wonderful expectancy. Think of being in any situation with a group of people, one of whom never speaks. What would you think of that person? I not against talking. I’m definitely not against […]

Great News – Things Aren’t Perfect!

Nowadays lots of things work properly. They are reliable, last a long time and you can always get an identical replacement. It’s becoming a real problem. For comedy, I like props that are quirky, unbalanced, mis-shapen – stuff that doesn’t work properly! I used to get quite stressed out about it. That is until a few […]

How to be Wild

Having read Stefan Kanfer’s biography of Groucho Marx, it is clear that the Marx Brother’s greatness comes from performing thousands of shows, day after day, week after week. This is the case for most vaudeville performers – but I think repetition provides something unique for clowns  – something different to the obvious benefits of practice needed by skills-based […]

A Bit of Animal Magnetism

One of the stranger aspects of visual performance, clowning and animation is that the characters often have an “animal-like” or “non-human” quality. This wonderful clip of the Godfrey Daniels character sums it up perfectly. The character is roughly human, but we certainly don’t react to him as we would a “person”. He doesn’t speak and […]

Slapstick & Street Dance – Not So Distant Cousins

I’ve got an idea… it could be huge, so keep it secret… Let’s combine street dance and slapstick in a new artform called slapdancing. Maybe? Anyway… here are 3 areas where slapstick and street dance professionals can learn a lot from each other. NUMBER ONE: The Extremities Big shoes, wigs and white gloves? As Gok […]

Why Do Visual Comics Use Weird Voices?!

Shut up. Shut UP. SHADDUP SHADDUP. SHUUUUUT UUUUUUUP! That’s the standard reaction I get when I do my (terrible) Jerry Lewis impression. It’s not just my Jerry Lewis. It’s my Norman Wisdom, my Peewee Herman and my Jo Pasquale. I have always wondered why  so many comics use these high pitched (some might say annoying) voices […]

How to Be Good at Something

People often think that slapstick is a lazy form of comedy. The best reply to this accusation is to show them some Chaplin. Have a look at this rip-snorting bit of schtick from the master (at 3 minutes 08 secs): This wonderful routine is something that Chaplin had performed live for years. The result is […]