Go CJHunt

A part of CJhuntComedy.com

LE SÉDUCTEUR 
is the character for THE FINAL DAY of #CharacterADay Season 2.  He’s speaking french.  And that’s all that matters.    

REFLECTION
And there it is; the final one.  I felt this pressure to make my last one the best one.  Finally, I had to give in to the idea that the last one will be whatever it is.  

I will miss the excitement and fear I have felt every day of the project - the little nagging voice saying “what are you going to make today? Hurry up, think of something!”  I felt this nagging as I was driving back tonight from a big party we threw for Liz on the river.  I started with the idea of a guy saying dumb things in a sexy french accent.  I tried to find some bit of human truth: for most of us, it’s just the accent, not the content, that turns us on

This is a fitting finish to the project.  It shows where I ended up: more fascinated with the format and filmmaking than the actual creation of audition-ready character bits.  Excited to see where this new fascination with film will go.

This week I’ll post some reflections on the blog about the whole process. But if I don’t catch you this week, thanks for watching and reading. It has been more important to me than you can imagine. 

THE MARRIAGE DEFENDER
is on his soap box for DAY 30 of #CharacterADay. He just wants everyone to play by the rules.

REFLECTION
This character taught me a little about perspective.  I had the germ of an idea about a guy taking the whole “marry two men and what’s next” debate to absurd lengths.  For me, the humor would be in the character getting caught in the intricacies of his absurd analogies.  ”And then what? A mouse marrying a penny? Do you have any idea how heavy that would be for him?”

Liz Beeson once again came in clutch, and rated this initial pitch a 5/10.  ”He turns absurd too quickly,” she said “I don’t really understand his perspective.”  I gave it another round imagining the character as a thanksgiving uncle who wins all political debates by taking them to absurd extremes.  Finally, I landed on this take for the Marriage Defender.  I’ve seen this type portrayed as dumb or bigoted; jealous feels new to me.  Let me know what ya think: cj@cookiepig.com 

THE AUDITIONER 
is up for DAY 29 of #CharacterADay. He is very very prepared.  


REFLECTION
Not sure how funny others will find this, but I love it.  A good friend of mine recently reminded me that the character-a-day videos weren’t capturing one of my performance strengths: physicality.  I’ve had the idea for this bit for a week.  I haven’t filmed it because the idea didn’t feel like a real character.  But I’m on this new kick - just do what is fun to you.  So I filmed it.  I remind myself that performers like Chris Kattan and Cheri Oteri used their bodies as one of their strongest weapons.  So let’s see what comes of this.

What are you doing tomorrow night?  Setting up your action figure in cool fighting poses again? Stop that.  And come out to something worth your time.  
My sketch and improv group, Stupid Time Machine, is doing a show at the Shadowbox Theater to benefit Easter Seals Louisiana.  Easter Seals is a non-profit helping children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities achieve independence.  Their work is great.  The show will be great.  So come, ok? Great.     

What are you doing tomorrow night?  Setting up your action figure in cool fighting poses again? Stop that.  And come out to something worth your time.  

My sketch and improv group, Stupid Time Machine, is doing a show at the Shadowbox Theater to benefit Easter Seals Louisiana.  Easter Seals is a non-profit helping children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities achieve independence.  Their work is great.  The show will be great.  So come, ok? Great.     

COACH DAN
is on the field for DAY 28 of #CharacterADay.  Coach Dan is trying his best. 

REFLECTION
This one came from an NPR story on how children of the 90s grew up in an era full of trophies given out simply for participating.  Only 3 days left in the project, and I’m certainly feeling the fatigue.  The facing on this character is ok.  The whole thing feels heavy with premise.  Furthermore, it feels increasingly less novel to have a character whose only game is “my life is sad.” How many times do we see sketches like that?  A teacher; a coach; a preacher who goes on about the troubles at home.

However, I love sad men so much. I love sad men that are attempting to portray that everything is fine.  One the first characters I ever performed - an audition for my college sketch group - was a math teacher whose wife had just left him.  He was attempting to teach the class as if everything was fine.  Yet his feelings about the divorce kept coming out in the equations he would put on the board.  So I guess that’s the question: how do you make pathetic interesting and surprising?    

Character comedian Andy Daly walks that line so well.  How do you make sure that your sadman character is still doing something - an action that he must attempt to return to? How do you take a common joke, and make it new? 

IT’S LIZ.Thanks to everyone who has been following #CharacterADay.  Wanted to take a moment to introduce you to someone who has been behind the scenes the whole time, Liz Beeson.  Liz is my girlfriend and my greatest creative partner.  It’s Liz who’s running camera on half of these videos. It’s Liz who is the first person I ask “is this funny?” It’s Liz who tolerates me pitching voices and bits and characters in the car at dinner and in the middle of the night.  It’s Liz who pushes me to make more work, focus on less bullshit, and be kinder to myself.  
You should follow her.  She is a tireless maker and creative.  She produced the web series Sunken City, she’s a founder of the graphic design collective Upanotch, and she is launching a new site dedicated to the voices of women (stay tuned).
It’s her birthday today.  I’m reflecting how happy I am to have her in my world.  You should have her in yours too. Or at least, go wish the gal happy birthday!    

IT’S LIZ.

Thanks to everyone who has been following #CharacterADay.  Wanted to take a moment to introduce you to someone who has been behind the scenes the whole time, Liz Beeson.  Liz is my girlfriend and my greatest creative partner.  It’s Liz who’s running camera on half of these videos. It’s Liz who is the first person I ask “is this funny?” It’s Liz who tolerates me pitching voices and bits and characters in the car at dinner and in the middle of the night.  It’s Liz who pushes me to make more work, focus on less bullshit, and be kinder to myself.  

You should follow her.  She is a tireless maker and creative.  She produced the web series Sunken City, she’s a founder of the graphic design collective Upanotch, and she is launching a new site dedicated to the voices of women (stay tuned).

It’s her birthday today.  I’m reflecting how happy I am to have her in my world.  You should have her in yours too. Or at least, go wish the gal happy birthday!    

STRAY CAT 
is on the porch for DAY 27 of #CharacterADay.  He smells something up in your house and would like some.  

REFLECTION
I like the facing on this character.  100 points to anyone who can tell me which character from Season 1 of #CharacterADay uses the same exact voice as this cat.  

What’s the joke here? This one felt a little tricky because I wanted to avoid homeless people being the joke.  So I peppered in a bunch of cat stuff. But this happens with every character; you sit there asking “what am I trying to play with here?”  For me, the joke is simply this: stray cats are persistent and bold  Interested to see reactions on whether that comes across.  

Also: my neighbors think I’m crazy.  

OUT OF THIS WORLD KATE
is the character for DAY 26 of #CharacterADay.  She wants to get to know you.  Though she shouldn’t. 

REFLECTION
I like the voice here.  The whole thing is long, but I’m finding myself drawn to the fun aspects of filmmaking.  The bit has a resemblance to a Key and Peele sketch, so I’m attempting to push it more towards the human truth about how we act in hook up situations.  Interested to see how folks react. 

My Type of Character: Will Ferrell

INFLUENCE: Will Ferrell

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I’m interested in characters.  The characters and performances that made people like you and me get into comedy.  The ones that, even now, leave their mark on the things we find funny and the things we make.  

For me, it’s all about Will Ferrell.  I can still remember being a high school senior, and stumbling across his audition tape in the bonus features of the Best Of Will Ferrell DVD. Thanks to the dude who filmed his TV, we can now enjoy a portion of that tape on YouTube.

There is something just so captivating about his manic - almost sociopathic - emotional swings in the “Get Off the Shed” bit.  It is at once so surprising and so familiar; this image of a normal guy who is just one step away from a mental breakdown.  I watched it unfold in his sketches, and fell in love with portraying lame repressed men on the brink.           

Similarly, I find myself often playing businessmen or men of authority who delve into something strange once behind closed doors.  I am sure this traces back to Ferrell’s cat bit. 

TAKE-AWAYS
I think there are two things to learn here: 

1.) Great characters DO things.  They don’t sit and explain their premise and backstory. They act; and in so doing, they show you everything you need to know.  

2.) Voice is everything. Fans of Ferrell know that confident idiots and unstable “regular guys” are his bag.  But I wonder how it must have felt to see Ferrell for the first time - to be on that SNL casting committee and see such raw power and such a specific voice from this unknown applicant.  I wonder how long it took Ferrell working away in obscurity to find his “thing.”  I wonder how much observing he did to realize his fascination with pathetic repressed men.  How long did it take for him to feel confident enough to roll around on the floor like a cat in front of Lorne Michaels?

Yes, comedy is partly about talent. Balls too.  But the rest is work work work. Be fearless and dogged about finding what you think is funny. That’s your voice.  That’s your thing. 

FRANK THE FLY
is the character for DAY 25 of #CharacterADay. He is in a very low place. So just be cool. 

REFLECTION
My favorite part of this is the human truth behind it: when we binge, we feel terrible about ourselves, yet cannot stop.  I am guilty of this when it comes to Oreos or anything that even resembles a cookie.  I remember have a late night Game of Thrones cookie binge one night, and seeing a fly in my bathroom. I thought to myself, “hey fly, do you feel the same amount of shame when you are eating shit?”  I’ve played with this as a tweet and will probably turn it into a stand-up joke.  Had to test it here. I really wish I had thought to use chocolate.

Voice: I’m realizing that I love pathetic characters.  Especially when they are pumping themselves up or having to talk themselves out of a decision.