Not a statement that you expect when someone is talking about the theatre but it is how I am going to start todays discussion. Whenever you see an improv show, it is usually full of the interesting and great characters that are full of lot of movement, accents and physicality – but what if you spin it on it’s head and went on stage and played the opposite and played dull.
I know this sounds a bit weird to say but sometimes simplicity is the key to creating a fantastic character. If you look at any comedy through time, the ‘dull character’ can create so much laughter as it bounces off the more erratic ones that lead to this very funny outcome.
Playing a very simple character that doesn’t really react has a basic voice and seems ‘dull’ can be so funny and I would urge you to give it a try.
Here are some examples from television shows that you should check out:
Toby, The Office US
Toby, let’s be honest is a very dull character compared to others in the Office US, and when he is on the show he comes across as the one that keeps everything serious making sure HR will approve. However his character works an absolute treat when you put him in a scene with Michael Scott who is the complete opposite to him. Some of their scenes together are very funny.
The Ordinary Guys, The Lonely Island
The Lonely Island created these characters for songs on their albums and they are both very dull characters, however this is what creates the comedy and the humour. You only need to watch the music videos to see how two simple characters can create comedy.
Angus Deayton, Mr Bean
Rowan Atkinsons show and stand up with Angus Deayton you will notice that he tends to plays very boring or dull characters but this is a great way to heighten the comedy of Mr Bean. His very mellow reactions really create huge humour and that is why it works so well.