Friday Exercise: Creating A Comedy Character 5/5

Posted on 06 June 2009

Now that you know something about the inner life and world of your character, it’s time to have some fun. It’s time to play dress-ups!

Before you get started one element of stock-taking needs to be made. Have you created:

  1. A normal character living in a comic world.
  2. A comic character living in a normal world.
  3. A comic character living in a comic world.

Please note, a normal character in a normal world is going to have a hard time being very funny over a period of time.

With all this in mind I want you to go through your closets and raid every op-shop and second-hand store within miles of your home. See what items you can find that just glow with the personality of your character. You may find a complete ensemble developing or a single hat may be sufficient to bring the spirit of your character to fore.

In the next step you will need to set aside some time to have a little chat with your character. Make sure you have a mirror nearby to do this. Put on your character’s clothes. Walk around the room as your character. See if the persona starts exhibiting any expressive quirks. Now go up to the mirror and introduce yourself as the character. Make small talk with your character. Ask the character about the weather. Don’t worry if any of this is going to form a routine straight away, but it will start giving you ideas.

When I began working with my soft toy Mbulu I had to develop not only his character, but my own in response. So, I played dolls in front of the mirror with him for several hours and discovered he was an arrogant soft toy tiki who imagined himself a volcano god. He also had the hots for my pink woolly jumper who he met when they were both being washed. For myself I started exaggerating some of my own qualities such as being a bit earnest and sentimental. This makes me seem humorously psychotic when I then start waving Mbulu around making pompous spicy comments.

Playing “yourself” is probably one of the most difficult characters you can do. Because we are all so many people rolled up into one. It’s a matter of settling on those characteristics that you can most comfortably get the laughs, because you’re going to have to live with the repercussions.  People will form an opinion of you based on you as your character. Does this mean you shouldn’t do it? Not at all, but it will take some bravery and emotional stability. You know who you are. No matter how truthful you are on stage, no one in the audience will ever truly know who you are, they will just think they do. This is the blessing and the curse with which we all live once we are in the public eye.  Make sure you have friends and family who do know who you are.

Kantankerous Kate and Courageous Christian

Kantankerous Kate and Courageous Christian

Peace and kindness,


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