Confessions of a Comedy-holic

Confessions of a Comedy-holic is a weekly blog series that features performers of the Dallas Comedy House (DCH). What does it take to be funny? What make someone a great comedian? What brought them to DCH, what kept them staying, and how has it changed their own lives. Celebrities of DCH speak about their journeys in comedy. Local comedians share their story.  Yes, And…

Scriven BernardAfter watching yet another hilarious King of The Mountain show with Scriven Bernard, I had the pleasure of having a conversation with him at the DCH bar.

Scriven, I saw you at the Level 1 class today, passing by in the hall of the DCH Training Center.

Yes, I am a teaching assistant, and Ben Pfeiffer is the teacher. This is my first time at teaching improv. We have a lot of fun in class.

I heard the sounds of that, even through two different walls separating our class rooms :). Congratulations! First time I saw you on stage about two months ago, when you played a grandpa in a car…it was a really great performance. Was it someone specific you know in real life that you were copying?

Yes, that was a fun scene. That character is a combination of things. I didn’t really think it through, just kind of felt it, and let it come to life.

I happened to see the link to your TV interview, volunteering for American Cancer Society.

Yes, I was organizing their event, Relay For Life. It was a great way to participate for a great cause. I am now nervous. What else do you know about me?

I saw your video, playing Marilyn Monroe.

Yes, for our CEO’s birthday. My friends at work came up with this idea, and since some of them knew that I performed before, they bought me this dress and a wig, and I sang "Happy Birthday" to him.

So that was at your main job. What do you do for living?

I work at a software company as a project manager. I like it a lot.

Your family was here to see your performance today?

Yes, my mom, and her friend.

Not your girlfriend?

I don’t have one. I have been single for a while now. I don’t feel a need for a relationship. But if the right person comes along, I am open to it.

I have seen you play many different characters in a short period of time. What characters are your favorite? Which characters are more fun to play, male or female?

I like to pick a character that stands out and show it to the audience. I enjoy both male and female characters. I like to play a cheerleader girl or a southern older man. I like those two the most.

If you could play any real person, currently living or not, who would that person be?

Probably Paula Abdul. I don’t know why. I think she has a vibrant personality. I like rich characters.

If improv did not exist, what would you do instead?

Theater. Something that has to do with performing on stage.

That’s what brought you here in the first place, right? Love of the performing arts?

Yes. Improv takes a lot of my time now. But there will still be plenty of time for theater in my future.

What would you say to new people that just came into improv?

I would say to them, get involved. Come to the jam, come to see as many shows as you can, watch a lot of different performers. For some people, improv comes easier than to others. So don’t get discouraged right away. We all have good days and bad days. But this is a fun thing to do. And you need to get comfortable with idea that sometimes you won’t perform so well. You have to love what you do, and once you have fun with it, you will get better as you perform more.

You are great at improv yourself, and you perform a lot. How about life besides it? Everyone is good at something. What are you personally good at that we might not know about?

I feel like I am good at understanding people. I also like to be the life of the party, and I am good at calligraphy. I like rules, and I am good at math. Which might seem like it makes no sense at first if you think of improv as something that has no rules. But actually there are rules to improv, as well as a freedom to do whatever you wish at the same time. It gives you a great feeling, the ability to combine those things together.

I like structure myself. It might just seem like improv has no rules. But not everything is the way it might seem. Speaking of perception, what is your personal quality that you want people to see in you?

Sometimes, people might feel nervous, at work or at some other place. I want them to know that I am a very positive guy, and that I am here to support them.

I feel that about you. And thank you for supporting me in this conversation.

Thank you very much.

Iryna Spitzer is a writer and improviser. She is currently in Level 2 at DCH. Besides comedy, she likes drama (to balance it out), also flowers, children, animals, and world peace!