How to Ace a Comedy Acting Audition

by on November 27th, 2010
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Like any other actor, comedic performers are required to audition for roles in stage, film and TV productions. While the set-up of a comedic audition is similar to any other audition, how you deliver your lines and handle yourself is quite different. Throughout my years of working alongside casting directors and attending comedic acting auditions, I have gathered several tips.

Arriving at the Audition/Prep Time:

It is always advised that you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled audition time. There are several reasons for this. The actor scheduled to audition before you could not show up, the auditions are going faster than anticipated and you will want ample time to sign-in, settle-in and calm your nerves. If you’re like me, your nervousness peaks while driving to an audition. I find sitting in the waiting room at an audition to be almost therapeutic. There are you, with your fellow actors, all vying for the same role and all your tensions flowing together like some strange symphony. Use this time to go over your audition materials and settle into your character.

Creating Your Character:

If you were lucky enough to have your audition sides beforehand, you should have them memorized; however, you will more than likely only have a short amount of time to review your sides, and sometimes your sides are given to you as you arrive at the audition (thus arriving early is a must). When going over your lines, you must quickly create your character. More than likely you haven’t had the opportunity to read through the entire script, so a full character breakdown is darn near impossible; however, you can take several cues from the character breakdown and the actual audition sides.

When reading your lines, don’t make the most obvious character choices. Typically, your first response to how you should deliver a line is only surface-level correct, and you won’t be the first actor the casting directors have seen that day to make a similar choice. Take a moment to deeply think about why the character is saying what he is saying. What happened to him earlier that day? What is he going to do after this scene? Even if your character choices aren’t what the actual character will be like, the casting directors will really enjoy your unique and INDIVIDUALIZED approach to this character.

Take chances. Don’t be afraid. Have confidence and above all else, have fun!

Delivering the Lines:

Now comes the fun part of actually performing your audition piece. Since this is a comedy audition, your sides will likely be filled with jokes and unique situations. If you are reading with one of the casting directors, only look at him; however, if you’re reading with a fellow actor, don’t look at the casting directors at all – create the fourth wall. The same is true if you are delivering a monologue. Never look at the casting directors in the eyes unless you are asked to do so or if you are reading with one of them.

When making your comedic choices, understand that whatever choice you make you must be committed. Do not second guess yourself. Comedic actors have a tendency to make a last minute character choice, but only to second guess themselves. This reads to the casting director “I am nervous. I am not sure what I’m doing. Help me, please!”

No matter what, commit to your choices, whether they’re good ones or bad ones. Find your funny, and stick with it! Remember, you’re funny, you just have to show the casting director exactly how funny you really are.

Staying in Control:

I have sat on and been a part of many comedy auditions, and if there is only one tip you get out of this entire article, it is to STAY IN CONTROL. Staying in control refers to keeping your movements, vocal inflections and character choices firmly under your grasp. Do not flail your arms around widely, do not yell for unnecessary reasons and don’t try to compensate by adding lines or movements. You must control the audition. Control the space around you by demanding the casting directors attention and showing him you are a funny, charming and in-control performer.

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