Our newest interview is with our newest teacher, Courtney Hopkin, who will be teaching the new Sketch Comedy 101 class at Merlin Works starting Saturday July 23rd. I got to know Courtney years ago when she was a student in my class, looking to study improv to boost her sketch comedy career. But then she got sucked into the improv vortex (mwahaha!) and I’ve gotten to play with her in Dusk: Improvised Tween Erotica and now in Totally Improvised, 90210. Throughout the years I’ve enjoyed Courtney’s scripted performances too, first in The Ratgirls, later in Your Terrific Neighbors and right now onstage in 69 Love Scenes. I’ve also benefitted from many of Courtney’s behind the scenes talents: set painting, graphic design, choreography, video work and costume design. So I was really excited when Courtney approached me with the idea of teaching a sketch comedy class at Merlin Works, one that would help men and women find their comedy voice. I mean, what can’t this woman do?! Read this interview to learn more about Courtney and her sketch comedy background. And register now for Sketch Comedy 101.
When given the option for a project in class in high school, I always picked the video project because I could make little sketches. I’d edit the pieces together using two VCRs since editing software or equipment wasn’t really a feasible thing for a normal person to own at that point. I did this throughout all my school years and then gradually grew into making sketches on my own for no reason at all.
The efficiency of storytelling and the challenges. How can I tell this story in the best and fastest way possible so it will deliver the most punch? How can I get through exposition in a funny and fast way? How can I quickly get to the game of this scene? Solving all these problems is the fun of writing.
Joining Your Terrific Neighbors has been a dream come true. I already admired Joel and Curtis but I never could have dreamed up a better situation. They always have my back. I always have theirs. I’m never onstage worried about what’s going to happen if something goes wrong. We have a relationship of complete trust.
What advice would you give a new comedian?