I was asked by a newspaper to write about the Secret of Comedy, summed up on one word, explained in 150. Here is what I came up with. What do you think?
The Secret of Comedy … is Listening
Whatever kind of comedy you are performing – solo or ensemble – you need to listen – to your audience, to your fellow player, to your director, to the writer, and to yourself. Why yourself? Because comedy is about cadence and rhythm. You can’t drift off.
Though when writing you need to listen to your unconscious.
In front of an audience you really need to sense them. I toured with Eric Sykes ten years ago in “Charley’s Aunt”. He is partially deaf (his spectacles contain no lenses, they’re a hearing aid) yet his timing was razor-sharp.
Mostly I do Improv, in which listening is ninety percent of the skill. That surprises many who attend my “Improvyourbiz” workshops. It’s not about generating lots of stuff yourself. It’s about using what is given you by others, whether or not you expect it or “like” it.
So who is the best listener I have ever worked with? Mike Myers.