One of the most powerful and true statements I've read about comedy is this:
"If there is one thing I've learned, it's that you can get a lot for free from an audience if you make them laugh. The power of comedy is astonishing to me-- how it can disarm an audience and leave them wide open and vulnerable."
- Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Introduction to the First Edition)
I could go on and on about Phoebe Waller-Bridge--her work on Fleabag and Crashing has informed not only my writing style, but my career goals as an artist.
I've performed comedy since I could speak, and perhaps even before then when I discovered I could make people laugh just with a funny face. I've trusted my comedic abilities through the years to make connections, strengthen my relationships with others, comfort people in times of need, and sometimes to get me out of trouble (or into trouble, once in a while). As an actor, I've always preferred comedy to drama, though I find value in performing all genres of theatre. I have worked with different kinds of comedy, including Shakespeare, commedia dell'arte, contemporary comedy, masking/clowning, puppetry, improv, sketch comedy, etc.
In March 2020, during the first weeks of the pandemic, my friend Jacob Cherry and I were on FaceTime and joked about performing an entire musical on Zoom while in quarantine. We brought on a few other friends, Rachel Stubington and Jake Goldfarb, and decided we would perform the entirety of the Sound of Music on Zoom. Between the four of us, we'd play all of the roles. I played Maria, Liesl, and Sister Margaretta, and Jacob played Captain Von Trapp, Rolf (which made for an exciting one-man fight in the convent), and Mother Abbess. Jake played Max and the Goatherd, and Rachel took on the daunting task of playing all of the children, and all of the Nazis. We rehearsed for a week, coordinating our sound cues, Zoom backgrounds, and costumes, while also re-writing some of the dialogue. We added jokes and modern self-aware humor to the libretto, and a few days before we performed, Jacob added a parody song that he had written-- a musical number during which Maria reveals her feelings for Captain Von Trapp to Mother Abbess, sung to the tune of "Summer Nights" from Grease. What we didn't realize at the time was that this formula for Zoom theatre would bring immense joy to audiences. Additionally, it brought hope in a time of complete darkness for the live theatre world.
Jacob, Rachel, Jake, and I continued to put on Zoom parody musicals, which led to us founding DotCom Theatre Company, a comedy-focused group that spearheaded virtual performance. We were one of the first (if not, the very first) live virtual musicals across the globe. Though the sound delay made singing in unison practically impossible, among other technical difficulties, we put on a whole season of shows, including High School Musical on Zoom (featuring Jack Morris and Carly Wood), Mary Poppins on Zoom, and our holiday show, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
DotCom Theatre Company gave me experience in production, navigating technology, directing, acting, and writing. Though the pandemic was an extremely limiting time, I was fortunate to be surrounded by friends and artists who also had the drive to continue creating content. Our shows set a precedent for virtual performance, which became prominent in 2020. Because of my work with DotCom, I was selected for a technical assistant internship with Center Theatre Group Affiliates, and hired to teach kids musical theatre classes over Zoom through Mr. D's Music School.
I was selected for the writing team of an original interactive virtual murder mystery play. The show was an ensemble comedy that was produced by Out of the Blue Theatre Company at UCLA. I continued writing comedy and focused more on sketches and stand-up once in-person performances resurfaced. Jacob and I continue to collaborate and are hosting a variety show, "BruinsCare," which will be produced by Act iii Theatre Company. Additionally, I wrote an eight episode comedy series called "Aspiring" which you can read more about in my Writer Portfolio.
Current projects: Untitled TV Series Project (with Jacob Cherry, Nick Delzompo, and Pablo Martinez), June (2023)
Scene: Drug City, City of Drugs
A D&D-inspired sketch for a Hollywood-themed campaign.
Sketch: "Clown Shoes"
Written for Intro to Sketch Writing at Groundlings. Joe struggles to choose a major at Clown University.
Sketch: "Middle School Drama & Trauma"
The two leads of the middle school play navigate an awkward stage kiss and their ever-present religious guilt.