The Comedy Scene

The Comedy Scene

Int./Advanced - Santa Barbara 

The Comedy Scene
  • 6-Week summer session begins Sunday, June 18th at 6:30 pm PST
  • Limit 12 actors 
  • $330 for the session (or two installments of $165). 10% Early Bird, Multi-class, and Couples Discounts are available.) Early Bird discount for current and former students ends 5/14 at midnight

“In drama, if the toilet doesn’t work, you call a plumber.  In comedy, it’s a matter of life and death.”   -Alan Arkin

  • Explore what is funny and why
  • Investigate physical comedy, situation comedy, and comedy of character
  • Learn to be believable, to tell the truth and still be funny
  • Master the technical elements that make stuff funny

Wanna be funny? Well, comedy is a serious business. As Julianne Moore correctly states, “Comedy’s hard. With drama you have a responsibility to emotional truth, but with comedy you have emotional truth and you have technique on top of it.” 

Comedy emerges when characters find themselves with extreme needs, circumstances and obstacles.  Of course, in response to their plight, comic characters also make extreme choices: strategic choices, impulse choices, behavior choices, physical, vocal and speech choices. In truth, believing in those extreme needs and circumstances, making them real to yourself and committing to them are even more important than in drama.

Your choices must be based in a clear reality—maybe an offbeat, distorted and absurd reality, but a believable one nonetheless. It’s all about high stakes involving desperation and the unpredictable—including complete belief in those stakes. Truthful, fervent commitment to comedic needs and circumstances is funny. 

Yes, you can play comedy and still create strong, organic characterizations. Indulge in and commit to the absurdity of scripted comedic material; make it your own. There must be no worry about humiliation, embarrassment, being judged. Behavior must be motivated when it comes to comedy. And remember, just like any dramatic material, comedy can be Allowed to happen; prepared “bits” should still feel improvised in the moment.

Exercises and scenes from classic and contemporary plays, films, and television are employed.

N.B. All courses progress in a logical and consecutive sequence. Furthermore, students are frequently turned away once the maximum number of participants has been reached. For these reasons, students who begin the session agree to complete the entire session and are, therefore, financially responsible for that session.

                Write to [email protected] or call 805.451.6789 

                    to register, ask any questions or to schedule an interview 


"He taught more than any other teacher I had . . . is responsible for creating the kind of actor I am today. He taught me how to truly take risks in my work, invest authentically in my characters, and expect nothing but professionalism from myself and my colleagues. Peter’s standards were high and exacting, and as a student, I was thrilled to be held to them. It was the first time I had been treated like an actor, not just as a student. The method that Peter taught is still one that I use today – he gave me the tools to access, emotionally and intellectually, very dense material. He allowed me to see that with every character, every piece there is always a way that is deeper and truer than you first imagine.”
Julianne Moore, Actress