This weekend, Nick Armstrong visits Blacktop Comedy to teach an exciting sketch comedy writing workshop! I guess it's better called a sketch writing intensive because it's 10am - 4pm Saturday and Sunday. The sketch class culminates in a live Sunday night show. The students will have an opportunity to write and produce their work in 2 days, with the help of Nick. Who is Nick? Who is this genius sketch comedy writer who comes from the South.
If you would like to register for the class, there is still one spot available. You can register here.
I had a chance to interview Nick as he waited at Sacramento International Airport baggage claim. That's where people open up and get real!
What are some of your favorite sketch comedy shows?
Nick: Mr. Show with Bob and David, SNL
[Saturday Night Live], Kids in the Hall and Key and Peele
. I think recently Key and Peele have done such a brilliant job to taking improv and characters and taking sketch to the next level.
You're a great improviser and sketch comedian. Was there a moment you realized, you wanted to be involved in comedy? What was that moment?
I think I've always known. I used to dress up like Superman when I went to kindergarden everyday, none of the other kids were doing that so I knew I was different. :) I used to perform all the time when I was younger to anyone who would watch. I'd throw shows for my parents and when they had people over I'd ask if they'd watch a sketch or show I just wrote. I would get in trouble in school for it, but the teacher would still laugh, but they still had to bust me. I think I was born with the passion to do sketch and improv.
When did you begin sketch comedy?
Really actively pursuing it as a profession was when I joined the Groundlings in 2009. I'd done shows before that, but Groundlings really took me to the next level.
Where have you studied?
That anything is possible and it's the study of human behavior. You're basically a psychiatrist without having to go to school for it and not get paid as much. HA! I love that you can find your comedic voice in it too.
What's your favorite character you've created?
I did a character who was making a dating video. He was a lovable loser, at one moment he would be talking about what he could do with the "ladies" the next minute he was talking to you about his mothers health issues. But he was all over the place physically and was a sweat monster. :) He did not know how to be on camera I'll just say that. He could never find where to look.
What do you hope students learn in your class?
I hope I help guide them into finding their voice and being comfortable writing and know that they can do it. I also hope I give them tools on how to do it on their own and with co-writers. I want them to walk out with the confidence to say "Hey I can do this."
What's the most valuable piece of advice you received from a teacher?
It's not about the story or the premise it's about the behavior of the character. You are studying mankind and making fun of it.
You're not funny! (This was my first day in the Sunday Company
at the Groundlings
.) I thought to myself, "Well, I can only go up from there." ;)