March 27, 2014
chrisgriswold:

Tom Wilson’s handy postcard for Back to the Future Fans’ Frequently Asked Questions

chrisgriswold:

Tom Wilson’s handy postcard for Back to the Future Fans’ Frequently Asked Questions

March 16, 2014
All set.
Tonite. 6PM.
@magnettheater

All set.
Tonite. 6PM.
@magnettheater

March 7, 2014
This may be m last performance at Magnet Theater for a while. I’d like it if you all attended. Please make your reservations here: http://www.magnettheater.com/shows/42637-SceneSongs-The-St.-Patrick-s-Day-Edition

This may be m last performance at Magnet Theater for a while. I’d like it if you all attended. Please make your reservations here: http://www.magnettheater.com/shows/42637-SceneSongs-The-St.-Patrick-s-Day-Edition

February 13, 2014
It’s a little more than a month away, but mark your calendars!
 (at Magnet Theater)

It’s a little more than a month away, but mark your calendars!
(at Magnet Theater)

January 30, 2014
Come watch @The_Flood at the @NCComedyArts Festival in Carrboro, NC on 2/13

Come watch @The_Flood at the @NCComedyArts Festival in Carrboro, NC on 2/13

January 23, 2014
at Magnet Theater

at Magnet Theater

January 21, 2014
Not a bad place in the snow. (at Times Square)

Not a bad place in the snow. (at Times Square)

December 29, 2013

feitelogram asked: What do you struggle with in comedy? You're a very strong performer but what was something you do or did struggle with maybe back in the day?

bransonreese:

Thanks!

Now to answer your question: A lot, man. I can feel my hands getting tired in preparation to write this. That’s how much. 

When I was a kid I was bad at school and bad at sports, but good at talking to adults. Big hit at holiday parties. When I got to high school I started doing plays and that was the first time that my personality really started to feel like a skill. Things suddenly clicked for the first time for me. That was great. I still keep that feeling in my pocket and dust it off when I’m feeling like shit. 

My problem was that I couldn’t understand that everything wouldn’t automatically be a Mr. Show sketch just because I opened my mouth and started talking. I had seen funny things, and assumed my 14 year old brain was operating on that same level. I was drunk on this new power and I assumed anyone who didn’t think I was hilarious were fools. Fools, I say!

In college I was dealing with a lot and got really argumentative and snarky. So I was that guy. Obviously that’s the worst guy to be but I didn’t get like that in a vacuum. A few weeks after I got my acceptance letter, the head of the acting department called me to tell me that she didn’t see my audition so I still needed to convince her when I got to school. So I came in scared and immediately got a bunch of hostile notes about my body and voice (and soul???) from people I didn’t trust. It was garbage. We did animal projects where we had to act like animals for a semester. An entire semester! What creeps! Money exchanged hands so this could happen! I never use this shit! And the truly surreal kicker was when they told me I couldn’t be a llama for the project because I “already was one.” What is that even? What does that mean? Was that their way of telling me I have a long neck? Hate to break it to you, but I know! I’ve seen that thing! Not really looking for notes on it! But whatever, I wasn’t toiling in a mine or anything. I was just doing a bunch of acting exercises and getting told I was wrong. Look, there’re harder ways to spend being 18, I know. In fact, close your eyes and throw a dart at a board of “ways to spend being 18.” Unless you hit “Pillow Tester” they’re all harder than my experience. It still sucked to have a professor tell me I was painful to watch onstage. That wasn’t his to take from me.

So, fuck that. I dropped out of school in 2008 and moved to NYC right away. On the surface, that seemed like a confident move, but it led to a lot of self doubt. My first year doing improv in New York mostly involved me looking at my feet and getting labeled as deer when I walked into scenes at neutral. It took me a long time to stop telling myself I was wrong and I should go home and I was causing the people around me pain just by being there. That was a huge hurdle for me to clear, that fear. Probably my biggest fear as a performer is fear. I’m like that one Fireside Chat everybody knows. To this day, I don’t let myself sit back on my heels during shows or rehearsals. That’s where my self doubt lives, back there. I don’t even like thinking about it now. My leg is shaking uncontrollably as I type this. I’m like a dog who just figured out we’re going to the vet. “No,” he says in his dog brain, “this must not be.”

Eventually I had a breakdown where I couldn’t manage to ring the buzzer to go a Christmas party(!) so I figured I’d take a little bit of time off of improv. That’s when I - and by the way I realize I’m only tangentially answering your question. So you can’t get upset. Because I realize it. I’m absolved - that’s when I auditioned for Story Pirates. That changed everything. Here was this thing I respected and loved and suddenly I was good enough for it. It was the first vote of confidence as a performer I’d gotten in a long time and I thought I’d chase that feeling for a while. Their performance style was MY performance style. Suddenly I wasn’t being told not to be myself, I was being told to be way more myself. That was huge. It’s like when you read any book by any musician and they hear Elvis or The Ramones or whoever for the first time. It was like a light went on in my brain, or some other unimaginative simile. All of my bad habits were suddenly all of my strengths. My weaknesses, my assets. My vices? Well my friend, those were now my virtues. I can’t say enough hyperbolic nice things about Pirates. It saved me. Not from dying or anything, just from mediocrity. But that’s not nothing!

Once Peter McNerney dragged me kicking and screaming over to The Magnet I was a different person. Or, from another perspective, I was no longer a different person. But, I mean, more grown up. It’s complicated. I’m not even especially complex as far as people go and I’m at least ten layers deep. Can you imagine somebody like David Foster Wallace!? The mind boggles! BOGGLES! BO-O-O-O-

Whew! I had to sort of just eject out of that last paragraph. Anyway, when I started at The Magnet the two notes I would always get were “You play a lot of high status and then lose status” and “No living person would ever say that.” The first one was a note Peter gave me that I just decided I’d never get again. It was pretty simple. And by the way, his story about only ever giving me one note is totally fake. He gave me, like, four or five. I just only ever took to that one.

The second note was a little trickier. It’s true I do play a lot of characters who say things like, “Did somebody say The Mayor? I happen to be him. The Mayor.” But that’s not the worst thing in the world. I made myself laugh typing that, so that’s worth something. Rick Andrews even had a rule when he was coaching Bloomer that if he ever made a buzzer sound during one of my scenes, I had to go back and say what I just said like a human being would. It was a great exercise! I still struggle a little bit with that. I can feel myself walking into scenes because I’ve got an idea, and the character I’m playing is in distant second to my idea. It’s usually fine, but sometimes we get stuck with that character. Usually that’s not even a huge problem, but man. I have been in some shows where nobody was editing and suddenly this character I didn’t give a fuck about is stuck onstage. And you can bet the audience doesn’t care about him either. Total garbage.

Lately I’ve been struggling with rhythm and pace. Struggling is totally the wrong word for that, but for some reason I’m just plowing ahead with this paragraph instead of backing up and finding a better word. In level 6 Teddy Shivers mentioned he didn’t know what to do in scenes with me because I talk like a revved engine. And he’s right! I do just go and go sometimes! My brain isn’t especially deep or powerful, but it’s fast. So I struggle onstage with getting ahead of myself and the show. I’ve definitely been in 2nd beats and been all like “didn’t we cover this shit already when I was thinking about this during the 1st beat?” Does that sound conceited? Probably a little. Fuck it, slowpokes! I’m fast!

But, I listened to the last episode of Best Show on WFMU last week and something hit me about pace: fast and slow are irrelevant. It’s rhythm that matters. Listen to that show sometime and it’s apparent. The archives are all up. Tom’s in no rush. He’s got three hours to fill. And Jon Wurster, that guy’s a drummer! One of my favorites! He gets rhythm, for sure. So I guess that’s what I’m working on now. I like the speed I move at, and I don’t intend to change it. But I do intend to become really conscious of my rhythms onstage and how to play with them.

So that’s a lot of what I’ve struggled with. Also, a bunch of unnecessary backstory. I hope you liked reading this. But if you didn’t, that’s your fault. Nobody made you read this.

If somebody made you read this, please reply with “I AM SAFE.” That’ll be our little code for “I AM NOT SAFE.” From there I don’t know what we’ll do. Play it by ear, I guess.

I AM SAFE.

December 18, 2013
TONITE @ 7PM: The Flood kicks-off the LAST MEGAWATT of 2013!
@magnettheater  (at Magnet Theater)

TONITE @ 7PM: The Flood kicks-off the LAST MEGAWATT of 2013!
@magnettheater (at Magnet Theater)

October 24, 2013
Back when I was under contract at Paramount, churning out Road Movies with Hope & Crosby. #tbt #recolorized

Back when I was under contract at Paramount, churning out Road Movies with Hope & Crosby. #tbt #recolorized

7:08pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZUvQCyyXyioV
Filed under: recolorized tbt 
Liked posts on Tumblr: More liked posts »