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The Ruderman Family Foundation intern to the Academy Gold 2019 just won a prize. So why did people laugh?
I’m an Academy Gold 2019 intern!
Working with the Ruderman Foundation for authentic representation in Hollywood, I was overjoyed when I realized the Foundation is taking me all the way to the Oscars.
As part of the fascinating internship at the Academy Gold, we had a chance to win a special prize, just by sharing a story on how comedy has shaped our career path. Guess what? I won. Thank you to The Oakie Foundation and The Academy for selecting me as one of your winners!
This was my (lengthy) reason:
Comedy has not only influenced my career path as an actor, but it has influenced the way that I live my life.
As a person with a disability, who uses a wheelchair, having a sense of humor is absolutely essential to traveling through life.
It’s not lost on me that I once encountered a wheelchair repair shop that didn’t have any wheelchair accessibility to get inside their building. I found that hilarious and had streaming tears of laughter at the irony.
I learned at a very early age that humor was my way in to talk about my disability and “break the ice” to anyone that was meeting me for the first time. I used comedy (impersonations, jokes, etc) as a tool to find a common ground with my peers, classmates, and find beauty and confidence in myself. Comedy is an instant neutralizer. I honestly can’t tell you how I instinctively learned to use humor as a young kid to help make myself and others feel comfortable.
But I can tell you that I grew up watching John Candy, John Belushi, and Lucille Ball on repeat. Additionally, both of my parents are the funniest people I know. I grew up laughing. It felt good.
As an adult, comedy has influenced my career path as an actor because I’ve learned that not only can you use humor as a way to make a tough subject matter more palatable, but you can also use humor as a way to highlight a dramatic performance.
As an actor, this is one of the biggest tools I use in my performance arsenal to create an ironic and dynamic performance.
When working on a dramatic scene, I love to use humor as a way to deflect away from the drama of where the scene will (eventually) lead. I use this as a tactic to throw the performance in a different direction, so when the drama comes it will be more of an ironic and unforeseen surprise for both my experience as an actor and for the viewing audience.
Make ‘em laugh before you make ‘em cry!
Author: Nicole Evans