Why study comedy if I’m a dramatic actor?

If you are a dramatic actor I can tell you without a doubt, taking an acting class that works on comedy will help you for many reasons – I know, because I started out as a dramatic actor. I had no intention of focusing on comedy until I realized that one:  I loved it.  And two: It helped enormously when it came to booking jobs.  That’s why all of my Portland acting classes include not only drama, but comedy training as well.

Many actors overlook comedy training – they stick to scene study and Meisner technique and plays by Sam Shepard. Those of us who branch out into the realm of funny, narrow the playing field – especially if we do it well. I’m not saying you should abandon your dramatic focus, especially if that’s what you enjoy and seem to excel at. I’m saying that adding comedy training to your actor toolkit is one more layer you can bring to your work. It will open you up, diversify your casting options and give you the confidence to take unexpected risks.

Comedy training involves letting go and allowing yourself to look ridiculous without self-judgment. It involves quick thinking and commitment. There’s no faking in comedy and because of that, a wonderful sense of freedom.

The actor who studies comedy can find moments of lightness even in the most serious of scripts, devoid of comedic dialogue and/or situations. Think about it; how many dark moments have we witnessed or experienced where there were surprising moments of humor?  Humor is a coping mechanism. Humor is a break from the weight of a situation seemingly impossible to digest. Humor is part of the human condition and as actors, studying the human condition is our job. The actor who has participated in comedy acting classes will be able to recognize these moments and deliver them truthfully, often times, creating something rich and unexpected.

My work, whether comedic or dramatic, has been greatly improved because of my time spent in acting classes that work on comedy. I’m more flexible and less predictable in front of the camera. I also have confidence in my ability to adapt and change and am not intimidated to be in front of countless people, and feel completely uninhibited to say or do anything that may help develop my character.

So why study comedy?  Why not?  Comedy is everywhere. It’s part of what makes life livable. Studying comedy should not be something to be afraid of, it should be something that’s embraced and enjoyed. And hey, acting classes that include comedy are fun! And last time I checked, that was the reason I got into this acting thing in the first place.

For more information about Brooke’s Portland Acting Classes, go to:


About The Author

After receiving a degree in Theater Performance from the University of Oregon, Brooke moved to Los Angeles where she was accepted into the training program of acclaimed sketch and improv company, the Groundlings. Eventually, Totman became a member of the Groundlings Sunday Company – writing and performing sketch comedy for a live audience on a weekly basis. During it’s 5th season, Brooke joined the television show MadTV, as a featured cast member.

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One Response

  1. Thomas Jameson

    It’s good to know that actors who study comedy can find lightness even in the most serious of scripts. My daughter wants to be an actress, and I want to make sure that she stands the highest chance that she can for success. I’ll be sure to look further into her options for acting classes to help her in the future.


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